Meet Jamie Lukas and Passageways

"Without rain, rainbows cannot be seen."
Posted on 09/17/2018
Rainbow cranes line a windowsill at the Passageways main office.“You never know what adventure a new school year will bring. This year not only brought me to a new district, new placement in a non-traditional classroom, and a new age group, but new peers in two professional environments as well.

I’ve asked myself more than once “Who came up with this grand plan?” Within this Grand Plan has come new hats; hats that, had you asked, I would have told you they didn’t fit me! Along with being a teacher, I am now IT personnel, intake coordinator, behavior specialist, therapist, curriculum creator, and mediator.

The first week was one of exhaustion, anxiety, and even frustration at times. Why have I survived? Because this is my dream. Being a teacher is what I love – setting up a classroom, getting new supplies, and anticipating the fresh minds that will challenge mine and push me to be the best educator I can be.

The difficult situations make me think of a storm. Without rain, a rainbow cannot be seen. I give credit for my survival to a great team that loves what they are doing, just like me. They are the ones creating the rainbow for our students.

Each day I ask the students to reflect on what they have learned and what the best part of their day was. I have learned that being a part of something is more important than the something itself. No matter the age, kids want to be heard and respected.

The best part of this week is that I survived, there has been more rainbows than rain, and the Vikings’ season has begun.”

Jamie teaches at Passageways Shelter and Housing Program, hosted by the Link. Here, she works with students to help them realize and achieve their academic and interpersonal goals, like earning credits towards high school completion or practicing self-advocacy.

The Emergency Shelter has a maximum capacity of 6 individuals in their gender-inclusive emergency housing for ages 13 to 17. Many of these individuals stay for approximately 30 to 90 days, depending on need. The space is always staffed, with visits from therapists, health resources, and other community partners.

Jamie has found that her students work best with a flexible schedule, individualized learning, and activities throughout the day to keep their minds and bodies busy. By having a more flexible nature and a strong element of understanding, Jamie’s leadership gives the students an opportunity to achieve their goals at their own pace and comfort with personalized guidance as they require it. She wants to empower students of all backgrounds to self-advocate and know the resources available to them, while emphasizing the idea that success is measured in many different ways.

“I’m growing and learning in this process, too,” Jamie says, as she learns to fly solo at SouthWest Metro’s maiden voyage with Passageways.