Nancy Rappaport calls herself one of the luckiest psychiatrists around. In 19 years working with youths at the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, where she is the director of school-based mental health programs, Rappaport is as upbeat as ever — always seconds away from breaking into a Cheshire-cat grin — though she has certainly tackled many complex issues. At a pit stop at Darwin’s Ltd., a food shop with a location across from Rappaport’s home base of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, parents recognize her, thank her, and offer her updates on their children’s progress. “They keep me honest,” said Rappaport of the students she works with, who are mostly at-risk, sometimes volatile young people struggling to find their footing in the classroom and dealing with mental illness. One such student was the impetus for Rappaport’s latest book, “The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students,” co-written...
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