A Student Assistance Program (SAP), is a school based program to assist students with personal, emotional and or drug related problems that are affecting school performance.
As we all know, in order for our youngsters to achieve academic excellence, they must be provided with a safe and supportive environment. Difficulties in dealing with bio-psycho-social stressors often lead to individual and family discord, academic failure, as well as a host of many other ailments. When the school system works closely with the family unit as well as with the community, many of these consequences can be minimized. In an attempt to minimize these consequences, a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) provides direct supportive services to staff members, students and parents.
The issues that are addressed include the following:
- Substance abuse
- Mental health
- Crisis intervention
- Gang violence
- Student advocacy
- Health issues (diabetes, asthma, etc)
- Family and group counseling
- Individual counseling
- Conflict resolution
- Family intervention
After referrals are made to the SAC, appropriate in-district and community resources are utlized to ensure comprehensive delivery of services. Some of the services that are available are: short- term counseling, prevention services, referral services, intervention services, treatment support and aftercare support. In addition, the program also provides students with workshops and assembly programs.
Who can approach the SAC for help?
- Troubled students
- Peers of troubled students
- Parents or other caregivers
- School personnel
- Concerned community members
How do I access the program?
Students, parents and staff members can access the program in a variety of ways:
- Staff members that have concerns about specific behaviors can make a referral to the SAC's directly by either contacting: Mr . Chirichiello at 973-669-5301 x 31552 or via e-mail at email@example.com or Mrs. Helb at 973-669-5301 x 31557 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Students can come on their own to the Student Assistance Suite located in Room 1164
- Parents or community members can contact the SAC's directly at the above stated phone numbers or e-mail addresses
Student Assistance Services are free and confidential. The goal of the program is to promote a general development of students' self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, problem solving and coping skills as well as helping students to make positive life style choices that can assist them in avoiding substance abuse problems.
Although confidentiality is paramount in this process, there are situations that preclude confidentiality as in cases of injurious behaviors to self or others and cases of child abuse/neglect or criminal actions which warrant further action.
About the Student Assistance Counselors:
Mr. Amedeo Chirichiello
Mr. Chirichiello is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. Mr. Chirichiello has been employed as a Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Counselor in a hospital setting as well as in private practice. Currently Mr. Chirichiello functions as a Student Assistance Counselor at West Orange High School and maintains a private practice which specializes in adolescent mental health and substance abuse counseling. Mr. Chirichiello is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a certified Student Assistance Counselor, a Nationally Certified Addictions Prevention Specialist as well as a Certified Forensic Addiction Specialist. He has over 20 years experience working with adolescents as well as adults that have various emotional and substance abuse problems. Mr. Chirichiello has worked closely and has been involved with the Montclair as well as the Orange Municipal Alliances on services that promote education and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.
Mrs. Carla Helb
Mrs. Helb is a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor and has an MA from Montclair State University. In addition, Mrs. Helb is certified as a Social Worker and as a Student Assistance Counselor. She has been working as a counselor for over 20 years and in the school system for over 12 years. In addition to her duties at the High school, Mrs. Helb is an active member of the West Orange Municipal Alliance, Secretary of the Essex County LACADA Board, the New Jersey Association of Student Assistance Professionals, past President of the Essex County Association of Student Assistance Professionals and a member of the Essex County Juvenile Conference Committee.