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Pupil Services

School Counseling Services

Mission Statement

The mission of the Downingtown Area School District School Counseling Department is to provide a comprehensive program addressing the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students. In partnership with the school community, counselors provide opportunities to develop a foundation that allows students to identify and explore individual abilities and interests. School counselors facilitate a support system that promotes academic and personal achievement and fosters the skills necessary for students to grow and contribute as productive members of a global society.


Academic Support

School Counselors work to help students understand themselves as learners and encourage them to develop skills  that will enable them to reach their academic potential. Counselors utilize a variety of measures to assess student academic performance and work to identify factors that impact learning and determine a course of action to provide appropriate support.

Counselors will:

  • Members of the building MTSS Team
  • Provide academic strategies to students and parents
  • Teach study skills and executive functioning skills
    • Create academic plans
    • Manage course selection (Middle & High)
    • Connect students with academic support systems


Social & Emotional Support

School Counselors assist students to develop positive interpersonal relationship skills involving respect for diversity and cultural competence. Counselors assist students to be aware of one’s beliefs and interests and to develop a positive self-image and identity. Through individual, small group and classroom instruction, counselors work to help students develop resiliency and effective coping skills. Additionally, counselors teach students to develop appropriate problem-solving and decision making skills to resolve conflicts and to accept responsibility for their choices.

Counselors will:

  • Provide individual and group counseling using solution-focused methods
  • Support peer conflict resolution
  • Act as a member of the building Crisis Response Team
  • Collaborate with the building Prevention Specialist to find community based supports for families
  • Teach Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum


Career Readiness & Post Secondary Planning

Counselors advise students to choose and advance in a program that will enable them to reach their future academic and career goals. Counselors provide students with the opportunity to assess personal interests and aptitudes in relation to career interest and help students discover the world of work through various career resources and exposure to a broad spectrum of careers.

Counselors will:

  • Deliver Career Readiness Lessons (K-8)
  • Utilize career readiness software inventories to determine students’ interests and strengths
  • At the high school level, counselors support the post-secondary planning process by holding individual and grade level meetings to prepare students for college, military, or workforce.
24-Hour Crisis Support

24-Hour Crisis Support

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-TALK (8255)

Valley Creek Crisis Intervention
24-Hour Hotline 
610-280-3270

Safe to Say Something
24-Hour Tip Line 
1-844-SAF2SAY
www.safe2saypa.org/tip

Are you afraid someone you know may hurt themselves? Submit an anonymous tip and school officials and law enforcement (as necessary) will immediately respond.

CHESTER COUNTY CHILD & ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

In School Support

While we continue to encourage students to tell a trusted adult about any concerns, the new and existing anonymous tip lines provide additional options for reporting concerns.  

Prevention SpecialistsMental Health ServicesSchool Counselors

Resources & Parent Trainings

Please visit our YouTube channel for past parent trainings and speaker series.

Pupil Services YouTube Channel

Home & School Visitor & Social Work Services

Attendance & Truancy

School attendance is primary predictor of success and achievement. If your student is struggling with school attendance, please let us know. There are supports and services available for you and your child.

Homeless Student Liaison

If your family has been temporarily displaced, please contact your Home & School Visitor. There are supports and services available.

If you have questions regarding a student in grades K-6, please contact Ms. Cierra Martinez, LSW.

If you have questions regarding a student in grades 7-12, please contact Dr. Jamie Nunery, LSW.

Foster Care Point of Contact

If you’re interested in registering a student placed in foster care, please let us know so we can begin with the first step of holding a Best Interest Determination Meeting.

Foreign Exchange Student Coordinator

If you’re interested in studying at DASD as a J1 or F1 visa student, please begin with the first step of submitting an application by July 1 of the proceeding year.

Student Assistance Program

The Downingtown Area School District has a Student Assistance Program, SAP, which is available to all students. The SAP team is composed of faculty members who have received training and who have expressed an interest in helping students deal with personal problems. SAP is designed to assist in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco other drugs, and mental health which may pose a barrier to a student's success.

The team is available to all students grades 6-12 for assistance with problems of an non-academic nature. Students, parents, teachers and staff may refer anyone to the team. Each referred student periodically meets with a team member. While these meetings remain confidential, parental involvement is encouraged whenever possible. Please note a SAP referral is not appropriate for a student experiencing a mental health crisis.  The 24-Hr Crisis referral resources provided in the right-hand margin should be utilized for immediate concerns during non school hours. If you would like to make a SAP referral please speak with an Administrator, School Counselor or Prevention Specialist at the school where your child attends.

For additional information regarding your child’s school- based team, you may reach out to the Prevention Specialist for your building.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services 
PA Department of Education SAP
PA Student Assistance Program FAQ and Best Practice Responses
Chester County Maternal and Child Health Consortium

Prevention Specialists

The Prevention Specialists serve as an integral part of working with students who are struggling with significant mental health or substance abuse issues.  They work collaboratively with teaching staff, School Counselors, School Psychologists and Administration.  They provide individual support to students as well as running groups and helping families to connect to community resources.  They also facilitate or sit on their building’s SAP Teams. 

To locate your school’s Prevention Specialist, please use the link below:

Prevention Specialists

  • Individual Counseling Sessions with students
  • Psycho-educational support groups
  • Transitional Support for students returning after mental health treatment including collaboration and transitional meetings with mental health providers and families.
  • Attend IEP meetings
  • Attend SAIP Meetings
  • Conduct Suicide Screening & Assessments
  • Crisis Support and follow up.
  • Conduct Threat Assessments
  • Respond to certain Safe2Say communications
  • Securely communication follow ups
  • Home Visits
  • Help families connect with and access community based mental health and substance abuse support. 
  • Support for families experiencing homelessness or low income in coordination with the Home & School Visitor.

Medical Assistance

What Is Medical Assistance (Medical Access) and Why Should I Apply For It?

In Pennsylvania, Medical Assistance (MA) provides free medical and mental/behavioral health coverage to people with low incomes or with disabilities . Medical Assistance has the broadest coverage of medical and mental health services of any insurance plan for persons under the age of 18. It covers services rarely covered by employer provided insurance. Medical Assistance can be a child’s only insurance or it can be a secondary to primary insurance covering those services or equipment not covered by the child’s primary insurance.

Apply for Income-Based Health Care

I think I make too much money to qualify for this.

Medical Access, Medical Assistance, or Medicaid (MA) is most commonly known as a low-income program, however almost ALL children in PA with identified disabilities (ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome, and other mental health/behavioral health diagnoses, etc.) qualify for Medical Access. If you are applying for a child with a disability then.

  • Parental income and/or child support DOES NOT COUNT
  • Income in the child’s name (trust fund) DOES NOT COUNT
  • SSDI benefits DO NOT COUNT
  • Private insurance WILL NOT make the child ineligible, but the private insurance must be used first when accepted by providers.
What is covered?
  • Care by the following practitioners: physician, podiatrist, optometrist, dentist, or home-care nurse.
  • Lab work and X-rays
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care, including care in the patient's home if medically needed.
  • Mental health/behavioral health care
  • Wrap around services, including behavioral specialists and TSS workers
  • Prescription medication and nutritional supplements
  • Vision care and glasses
  • Dental care
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Augmentative communication devices and FM listening systems
  • Wheelchairs
  • Personal care/home health services/skilled nursing
  • Prostheses
  • Case management
  • Psychiatric care in clinic and hospital