Boulder Valley School District

Our People are Our Strength Staff Profile: La’Velle Hamilton

La’Velle Hamilton
Maria Silva

In the Boulder Valley School District, School Safety Advocates (SSA’s) like La’Velle Hamilton are instrumental in providing student support, advocating for student needs, and prioritizing school safety. Hamilton brings a unique perspective to his advocacy work, marked by empathy, understanding and an unwavering commitment to ensuring every student feels secure and valued.

Meet La’Velle
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton relocated to Colorado during his teenage years and attended Manual High School in the Denver Public School District where he excelled in various sports, including baseball, track, basketball and football. He is actively pursuing a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership with a specialized focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the American College of Education. 

Hamilton’s upbringing was deeply influenced by his mother's dedication to education. As a mentor at an alternative school, she instilled in him a strong sense of community service and inspired his commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of young people. Motivated by his mother's example, Hamilton embarked on a career in education with the goal of creating a safe and nurturing environment for students to thrive.

In 2003, Hamilton began his journey in school safety at Aurora Public Schools, starting as a part-time sub para before transitioning to a full-time role as a Campus Safety Monitor at Mrachek Middle School in 2005. He brought experience to BVSD in 2019, serving as a Campus Safety Monitor at Monarch High School.

More than drills and protocols
Hamilton was drawn to the role of School Safety Advocate by his passion for creating safe spaces and fostering relationships with students. His position as an SSA includes overseeing the security operations across five BVSD elementary and middle schools. 

Along with assisting schools with their safety drills and security protocols, he also serves in an on-call capacity responding to security concerns, safety incidents, disagreements and conflicts at schools, building operation impacts, Safe to Tell reports and more.

BVSD’s restorative discipline and restorative justice practices are a big part of his job as an SSA. Hamilton notes, “when a student makes a mistake, I approach with empathy and compassion, with open dialogue rather than instilling fear. I engage in conversation with them, not lectures directed at them.”

His role transcends mere enforcement of safety measures; he aims to provide care and support, striving to become another trusted adult in student's lives. Recognizing the importance of trust and rapport, Hamilton believes students need someone they can confide in and relate to easily.

“Safety is more than drills and protocols,” he emphasized. “As a safety advocate, my focus is intentional, “Hamilton explained. “I prioritize advocating for students' well-being and equitable treatment.”

Personal Connection and Engagement
Hamilton’s approach centers on personal connection. He not only seeks to understand each student by exploring their interests, backgrounds, and friendships but also actively engages with them on a daily basis. Walking with students to class, he creates opportunities for casual conversation. Additionally, in his office, Hamilton keeps candy and snacks readily available, serving as conversation starters that foster a sense of comfort and openness among students. 

Brendan Sullivan, Security Director, notes, “La’Velle creates a positive and welcoming environment where students feel valued and inspired. He does this by offering support to his students, taking the time to get to know each one individually, understanding their interest, strengths and challenges” 

Beyond the school day, Hamilton takes the time to support students during their extracurricular activities, attending their plays, games and concerts. He's known to offer encouragement and praise, often commenting on their performances and highlighting their achievements, fostering a sense of pride and camaraderie within the school community. 

“I love to see students in spaces where they are comfortable, whether it’s during a play, a concert, or when they play sports, seeing them with their families,” shared Hamilton about his commitment to supporting students beyond the classroom. “To me, it’s a form of self-care.”

An ally and advocate
Hamilton emphasizes the importance of understanding the unique culture within each school he serves as he oversees.

Hamilton is actively involved in equity groups such as the BVSD Equity Council and strongly supports the BVSD Youth Equity Council, often encouraging students to join. At Fairview High School, he participates in Black Student Support sessions, highlighting the importance of equity and fostering inclusive environments. 

Lidya Rodda, a member of the Youth Equity Council, expressed, "Being a student of color in a mostly white school is tough. Having someone like La’Vell who gets what I’m going through and knows what’s on my mind before I even say it was like a breath of fresh air. Having people like La’Vell around is super important."

Dr. Nichole Villa, Coordinator of Equity and Community Engagement, notes, "La’Velle has a huge heart and wears it on his sleeve. His authenticity, uniqueness, and great sense of humor have made a significant impact on our students."

Hamilton epitomizes the unwavering dedication and compassionate spirit of an SSA. He serves as an outstanding example of the impact one individual can have within a school community.


 

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