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Counseling & Student Development

The department of Counseling and Student Development at HBHA was developed to address the social, emotional and developmental needs of our students and is directed by Sara Whelan. Mrs. Whelan anticipates and responds to academic, social or emotional needs of teachers, parents and students and participates as part of the Student Services team to assist teachers to best support all students. Mrs. Whelan works individually with students and families, as well as in small groups or whole-class groupings. She provides staff training and support to assist with behavior management, implementation of Social and Emotional Learning strategies, emotional regulation, and general well-being. For more information, please click the links below.

The School Psychologist provides brief, solution-focused, and confidential individual and group counseling services and support for any students struggling with academic, developmental, emotional or behavioral issues. Students may work individually or in small groups with the psychologist on a short-term basis. The School Psychologist is also available to consult with parents about parenting, behavior and mental health issues concerning their children.

The School Psychologist works in classrooms, small groups or with individual students in the areas of friendship and social skills, conflict resolution, self-control, impulse control, anger management, communication, personal safety, coping skills, and grief and loss support. The School Psychologist is responsible for supporting staff and students in the use of techniques from programs including but not limited to BIST, Conscious Discipline, Social Thinking and The Zones of Regulation.

The School Psychologist assists with standardized student testing for giftedness and inventories, as needed, conducts classroom observations and rating scales when appropriate, and consults with teachers, parents, the Blue Valley private school team and private clinicians when further diagnostic information is warranted. When necessary, the School Psychologist refers students for additional professional services, and consults with the appropriate professional to support students and families.

The School Psychologist is involved in planning and facilitating social-emotional and mental health programming schoolwide. She is involved in training and supporting staff in their use of best practice strategies for student needs, she trains staff in awareness and intervention for mental health issues, conducts presentations about personal safety and social-emotional well being with all grade levels, communicates with families about initiatives and pertinent issues affecting the community, and plans and delivers crisis intervention when needed. The School Psychologist serves as the Adult Leader for the Sources of Strength initiative in the Upper School. Sources of Strength is a research-based, strengths-focused, upstream suicide prevention program. The School Psychologist supervises a group of student Peer Advisors who use campaigns and programming to spread help, hope and strength to fellow peers to build positive coping tools. The School Psychologist also meets weekly with Lower School teachers in grade-level meetings to provide support on a range of behavioral issues, including strategies and techniques to support positive behavior in the classroom. She participates in student progress meetings about meeting students' needs in the Middle and Upper Schools.