Student Assistance Counselor Program
Student assistance programs are designed to help students and their families with problems affecting their personal lives and academic performance. The Student Assistance Counselor’s (SAC) role is to enhance and support students’ success in the school environment. There are a range of school-based prevention and intervention services offered to assist students with personal problems and encourage them to build upon their strengths.
At the middle school level, the SAC assist students in navigating the social and academic stress they encounter in their teenage years. As they grow up, students begin to tackle issues such as peer pressure to engage in high risk behaviors and relationship challenges. Much of student stress is rooted in the normal response to peer, family and school tensions. Occasionally, students act out in a way that can be defiant and even self-destructive due to their impaired ability to cope. Addressing these issues early can enable students to thrive.
At the high school level, the SACs work closely with school counselors and deans to get to know each child and to help them make informed decisions.
The role of the high school SACs can be separated into four parts:
- Assisting families and students with alcohol and drug issues by connecting students and families to community resources;
- Providing support for families, staff and administration for students who may have academic issues relating to social-emotional/mental health issues such as peer pressure, relationship difficulties, family problems, self-esteem and depression, among others;
- Assisting students with the adjustment to high school and getting to the next step of college or career;
- Serving as members of the high school student support teams (such as crisis, 504, I&RS, and emergency management teams) and assisting with staff development.
In short, Student Assistance Counselors provide a support system for students and families to use when circumstances threaten school performance. Students may see the SAC for assistance with any personal issue. Many parents contact the SAC to discuss a potential problem or ask for help connecting to community resources.
Get to know the Student Assistant Counselor at your child’s school. Develop a working relationship with him or her that will strengthen the “safety net” that supports your child. Working together with SACs, nurses and teachers can make a difference.
At the high school we have two SACs. They are assigned a caseload of students by last name.
Last names A – K - Amedeo Chirichello (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ext. 31552
Last names L – Z - Jaclyn Headlam (email@example.com) and ext.31557
There office space is located in Room 1164.
How to Make a Referral
- Students may self-refer and come in to see the counselor at any time during the school day.
- Students can confidentially refer other students who may be in need of support.
- Students may be referred by school administration, school counselor, nurse, or any other school staff member that has identified an area of concern.
- Parents who have concerns about any non-academic issues may contact the Student Assistance Counselor. Please feel free to call or email with any questions or concerns.
- Teachers and other school staff have been alerted to signs and symptoms of possible indications of crisis and they are encouraged to seek assistance through this program.
Amedeo Chirichiello, MA, LPC, SAC, NCAPSiii
Anti-Bullying SpecialistPhone: 973-669-5301 x. 31552AChirichiello@westorangeschools.org
Jaclyn Headlam, MA, LAC, NCC, SACAnti-Bullying SpecialistPhone: 973-669-5301 x. 31557JHeadlam@westorangeschools.org