Five Things We Learned with Lower School Learning Specialist and Psychologist, Dr. Ashleighann Young

1. How long have you been at PDS? What is the "PDS Difference" in your opinion?
This is my second year at PDS. I think that one of the biggest PDS differences is the sense of community here. It is a person-centered organization. I feel seen and known both professionally and personally. Coming to PDS during the pandemic, I found that although there were times when morale was low, thought was given and action taken to support staff and students. Another thing that stands out to me are the opportunities to explore my identity as a Black professional. I came from a setting where much of the staff and students were people of color and we did not have the opportunities that I have had here to discuss and explore my identity as a Black woman, but also larger issues of diversity, equity, inclusion and the impact on educational practice. I love that while there is clear recognition that there is work to be done, steps are being taken, conversations are happening and slowly but surely we are getting there.

2. Can you talk about your role as the Lower School Psychologist?
In my role as Lower School Psychologist, I have enjoyed most providing Social Emotional Learning (SEL)-themed lessons in the classrooms. This has allowed me to get to know the students, develop relationships with teachers and staff and collaborate and partner with grade level teams. These whole-group lessons also give us all a common language to understand and use when discussing SEL. I value being proactive and I think by creating a tiered system of support around SEL we can be proactive in addressing student mental health. I appreciate the opportunity here to be deliberate when identifying how to best support our students' mental health and emotional needs. The whole-group lessons also give us all a common language to understand and use when discussing SEL. 

3. What motivates you in your teaching profession? 
I believe that we are all called to leave this world better than we found it. I believe in empowering students to make a difference and that all actions, no matter how big or small, have an impact. It is up to the individual to determine what type of impact they want to make. I am motivated by helping students figure out what their contribution is by asking, “in what way can they make their classrooms, school, communities, sports teams, state, country, etc. a better place?”

Ashleighann photographed with her friends after running a race 

4. What are some of your hobbies? 
I seem to have less time for hobbies with a 4 and a 2 year old at home! Some of the things I enjoy doing when I have time are traveling, reading, going to the beach, and snowboarding (although it has been years), running and working out.

5. What is one thing you cannot live without?
Can I name two? God and my family.

Ashleighann's family 

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