Student & parent-friendly Counseling Center expands services

BKW has a great team of student support professionals – staff who assist with college and post-graduation planning; personal, interpersonal and social issues; behavioral and mental health concerns; wellness and overall health promotion; and special education services and programs.

Thanks to this year’s capital construction project, these professionals and their support staff have a space where they now meet and work together as a team with students and their families. The Counseling Center is located across from the high school main office in renovated space that is light, bright and welcoming.

“We have a true team approach to supporting the needs of our students, and the new Counseling Center provides a great place to meet together,” said Susan Sloma, director of pupil personnel services. “Our Center is student-friendly, parent-friendly and conveniently located.”

The center includes a large conference room, small meeting room, reception area and offices for several members of the BKW counseling team. That team includes Sloma, school counselors Alicia Caldara and Karen Corso (secondary school) and Lauren Larkin (elementary); psychologists Emily Wylong (secondary school) and Katrina Emmerich (elementary); social worker Erin O’Connor-Slater; and therapy dog Maggie, who lives with Dr. Emmerich.

The counseling team works proactively with BKW’s faculty, staff and administration to promote growth, achievement and a positive environment; teach life skills; help students and their families with various challenges; address issues and trauma that impact students and their families; and help prevent stressful situations.

“We have a very dedicated, 100 percent student-focused team who focus on our students’ social-emotional, behavioral and academic development, as well as helping them explore opportunities for their future after high school,” Sloma said.

The district also partners with Albany County Youth and Family Services, and a clinician from that agency now provides mental health services at BKW two days per week, on Mondays and Tuesdays, by appointment.

“Having a mental health clinic here on campus has allowed our families to gain access to many services such as therapy and psychiatric referrals,” Sloma said. “We have had an ongoing waiting list for the past few years since we added the clinic right here in district. Our recent expansion to two days will allow us to reach a greater number of families in need.”

Clinic appointments and referrals may be made by contacting the Counseling Center.