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Are you a Princeton High School student or parent looking for help? What counseling resources are available to students? Here is an updated guide that explains what school counselors, the Student Assistance Counselor, the Child Study Team, the Dean of Students, the Coordinator of Student and Family Services, Effective School Solutions (ESS), and the Princeton Family Institute (PFI) can do to help.

School Counselors

The school counseling department is developmental in nature and is an integral part of the total educational program within the Princeton Public Schools.  The program is designed to assist students in acquiring and using life-long skills.  The programs and services provide opportunities for students to foster interpersonal communications, enhance and improve academics, encourage self-awareness, and provide career awareness opportunities.

Services include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Emotional, social, developmental, and behavioral services to students and families.
  • Academic guidance and support services, including the monitoring of academic performance, coordinating home instruction services, and facilitating communication between school and home.
  • Career awareness, exploration and planning services, including goal setting and decision-making assistance for students.
  • School crisis and intervention referral services.
  • Coordination of state testing programs.
  • Development and maintenance of Section 504 Plans.
  • Collaboration and coordination of services with community agencies. 

School Counselors

Student Assistance Counselor

The Student Assistance Counselor, known as the SAC, attends to the non-academic needs of students.  This includes, but is not limited to:

  • substance abuse
  • mental health
  • social and family issues
  • anxiety
  • stress management
  • grief
  • decision making 
  • disordered eating
  • sexual orientation and gender identity exploration

The SAC:

  • provides prevention and intervention resources and programs
  • identifies those in need of early intervention
  • makes appropriate referrals
  • supports students, parents, and faculty

Prevention and intervention platforms include individual counseling, group counseling, classroom lessons, and school-wide initiatives, often in collaboration with other helping professionals in the school (i.e., school counselors, CST).

A Student Assistance Counselor is a confidential counselor for students and families to help in guiding students towards a healthy and happy lifestyle.  The goal is to ensure that all students are equipped with the skills and resources in order to grow socially and emotionally into adulthood.

Michelle Simborski, Substance Assistance Counselor
Michellesimborski@princetonk12.org
609.806.4280 x 3279

 

Child Study Team

​The Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary educational team that is responsible to locate, identify, evaluate, determine eligibility, and develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students suspected of having educational disabilities. This group of specialists is employed by the PPS district to provide consultative, evaluative, and prescriptive services to teachers and parents. The team provides diagnostic services to children from age 3 to 21 that have been identified as having a potential disabling condition.

As determined by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), the members of the CST include a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher-consultant, a school social worker, and in some cases, a speech-language specialist.

Child Study Team

 

Dean of Students

The Dean of Student’s office enhances our students’ experience, development, and achievement through direct support, creating connections, and fostering an inclusive and engaging campus climate.  The Dean of Students is responsible for 9th grade orientation and transition programs, our robust club program, and several campus activities.  In addition, the Dean of Students can counsel students and groups and serves as the PHS Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Specialist. The Dean of Students chairs the PHS School Safety team related to HIB and serves on the PHS Stakeholder committees for school safety, traumatic loss, I&RS, Teen PEP and Peer Group. 

Diana Lygas, Dean of Students
Dianalygas@princetonk12.org
609.806.4280 x 3538

Coordinator of Student and Family Services

The Coordinator of Student and Family Services promotes equity and inclusion to support all students and their families in accessing opportunities and to advocate for the needs of the students in the district through community-based programming, academic support, and socio-emotional services.

The Coordinator of Student and Family Services is a licensed social worker with duties that include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Serve as an advocate and resource for students and families needing help with academic, financial, emotional and other identified needs.
  • Provide information, emotional support and resources to students.
  • Work closely with school counselors, CST, SAC and School Admin. to identify students who could benefit from participation in groups related to student social behaviors and student self-advocacy.
  • Develop and support advocacy groups that work towards projects that promote equity and diversity within the school and community 
    • Advisor of Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN)
    • Advisor of PULSE (Pride, Unity, Leadership, Sisterhood, Esteem)
    • Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) network district advisor
    • Food Insecurity/ Clothing Needs Liaison
    • Facilitate the Resource Office for Access, Renewal and Equity 

Bethany Siddiqu
Coordinator of Student and Family Services
bethanysiddiqu@princetonk12.org

Effective School Solutions (ESS)

ESS partners with school districts to help them implement culturally inclusive mental health and behavioral support programs that improve care, strengthen outcomes, address trauma, and maintain students in their home district. 

Through Tier 2 Moderate intensity Clinical Programming, ESS provides PHS with a clinical program designed to augment the efforts of existing school staff in supporting the needs of students with mild to moderate mental health challenges. Through this program, ESS clinicians deliver a combination of individual therapy and family therapy, while also being able to incorporate group therapy as needed.

If a PHS staff member is concerned about a student, a referral may be made through the school counseling department.

Princeton Family Institute (PFI)

 Founded in 1982, Princeton Family Institute consists of a group of experienced clinicians who are devoted to psychotherapy with couples, families, and individuals. The approach is collaborative, culturally sensitive, and humble, and justice oriented. People experiencing themselves to be at the margins of society because of their racial, gender related, religious, or sexual identities are welcome at Princeton Family Institute.

Princeton Family Institute developed the Immigrant Student [counseling] Project in 2016 with support and collaboration with PHS and district leadership.  Over time, the project has expanded to incorporate the needs and concerns of instructional and other relevant staff.  PFI is an intentionally culturally and racially diverse practice. A number of clinicians and supervisors are bilingual, and some have twenty years’ experience creating and clinically supervising counseling programs in up to twenty schools in New Jersey. 

 

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