Saturday, 15 June 2024

Putting Students First: Supporting Kelseyville students through counseling

Kelseyville Unified School District Superintendent Dave McQueen. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – At Kelseyville Unified School District, we focus on more than just academics to help our students grow and develop.

The fact is, students often need social and emotional support to reach their potential. Our experts in this area are our school counselors and school psychologists who use Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, to create a culture where students learn from mistakes rather than simply being punished for them.

As of this school year, we now offer counseling services for students of all ages, and it’s making a difference.

At the elementary school level, Casey Carlson has been teaching our youngest students the social skills they need to get along with their peers.

She supervises children on the playground and intervenes to help them learn how to stop disagreements from escalating.

She also works with small groups of students who are facing similar challenges, for example, to help them overcome grief or process strong emotions in a constructive way.

Teaching students how to cope with social and emotional challenges at such a young age allows them to use these skills for a whole lifetime.

At the middle school, Ellen Boettcher uses her considerable experience to help students through the awkward and sometimes difficult transition into adolescence.

Ms. Boettcher has been working with students for close to 30 years and she understands how to support them when their behavior makes others want to run out of the room.

“I love watching kids grow, watching them blossom,” she said. Ms. Boettcher not only works with students, she also works with parents and teachers, so everyone is aligned and attuned to a student’s needs.

She asks that parents who want to meet with her schedule appointments so she can be sure to give them the time they deserve. Recently, before the first bell rang, she had comforted a crying child, completed the check-in process with students who need a little extra attention each day, and been approached by a parent who wanted to discuss independent study for their child. That’s busy!

At the high school level, we have two new counselors: Elizabeth Pearce and Tammi Van Housen. They provide more academic counseling than social-emotional counseling. With a caseload of more than 250 students each, they are available to help students in crisis, but they refer long-term individual counseling to community providers.

Ms. Pearce said, “If a student is in crisis, we drop everything and attend to them to help them find their center.” She noted that students in crisis are often dealing with interpersonal relationship problems, either at home or at school.

Ms. Pearce and Ms. Van Housen often spend time monitoring student progress to keep kids on track for graduation, and they work with students to pursue various paths after high school (either college- or career-related).

They work on everything from helping families understand financial aid options for college to supporting students who are dual-enrolled at Mendocino College. Just like their counterparts at the elementary and middle school levels, our high school counselors are super busy.

In addition to counselors, Kelseyville Unified has two school psychologists who help support students of all ages: Julia Leonard and Michelle Sumares.

The psychologists focus primarily on our students in Special Education by completing assessments and helping students manage the complex social and emotional challenges of school while working through their classes.

Our Special Education Director John Leonard said, “Our psychologists help students with conflict resolution, crisis response, and behavior plans. We offer independent counseling as well as group work focused on problem-solving and social skills. We also have a licensed therapist through the county’s special education program, SELPA, to support students with ongoing unresolved needs – for example, issues related to being in foster care.”

Mr. Leonard is not only our Special Education director, he is also a credentialed school psychologist, so he really understands the challenges our students face.

It’s hard for students to learn if they’re on an emotional roller coaster. I’m really grateful to our counselors and psychologists for teaching students how to deal with some of life’s challenges in a more productive way.

Dave McQueen is superintendent of Kelseyville Unified School District.

Upcoming Calendar

Father's Day
06.16.2024 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Middletown Days
06.16.2024 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Moose Lodge Father’s Day breakfast
06.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.