California Educator

November 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 63

Perspectives Profile By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin CELIA LAMANTIA HELPS YOUNG OFFENDERS SUCCEED IN SCHOOL AND LIFE There are two school sessions with 10 or 12 boys ages 15-18 in Lamantia's classroom at Deforest Hamilton High School, located in the Sonoma County Probation Camp. Most have been at the school awhile and wear jeans, unlike the newcomer in red. The high school is in the building next to the dorm where they eat and sleep. Their stays range from six to 16 months for offenses including burglary, assault, drugs and weapons. Rival gang mem- bers live and study side by side. The facility is unlocked, and they can walk out anytime, but they'll be rearrested and sent to juvenile hall or jail. Lamantia teaches language arts, math, social studies and science to h e l p s t u d e n t s e a r n a h i g h s c h o o l diploma or GED or go to community college. She also helps them develop social skills and coping mechanisms so they can be successfully reinte- grated into society when they leave. She has long worked in alternative education; she decided to teach at " Th e s e a r e n o t t h r o w a w a y k i d s , " s a y s Celia Lamantia. " Th e y ' r e p e o p l e w h o c o m e f r o m d i f f i c u l t s i t u a t i o n s , a n d I d o w h a t e v e r I c a n t o h e l p t h e m m o v e f o r w a r d i n t h e i r l i v e s . " S T U D E N T I N A R E D J U M P S U I T strug- gles with a vocabulary word on the board, which is "contrite." His teacher, Celia Lamantia, asks him to use it in a sentence. "After the crime I was contrite," he says. "After I committed the crime I was feeling contrite," suggests Lamantia. The student agrees it sounds much better and repeats the sentence. They move on to a new word. A 22

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of California Educator - November 2014