Pathway’s Minerva School-Based Team
The beginning of school is a hectic time, filled with anticipation, excitement, fear and anxiety as well as sadness at the ending of lazy summer days. For many of our clients, it is a time of greater hardship with worries of having supplies, school and lunch fees being paid, clothes to wear and all the tasks that accompany growing up…“Will anyone even like me”. While we as school based therapists and case managers bridge the academic and mental health worlds we remain focused on providing support, encouragement and sometimes basic needs to our clients.
Through attendance at IEP meetings, planning for behavioral success with Principals, Guidance Counselors and Teachers, mediating disagreements between teachers, clients and parents and attending to crisis situations we build our relationships with the schools and communities that we serve. In working with our clients we offer safe environments to de-stress, process and plan, build social and organizational skills and self-manage the life burdens they carry with them into the schools on a daily basis. Reducing depression, anxiety, anger, PTSD symptoms and behavioral obstacles are primary areas of attention in our daily lives. Through goal-setting, celebrating successes, addressing challenges, creating, and sometimes destroying, we work to motivate, inspire, challenge and embrace the uniqueness of all our clients.
The Minerva School Based Team is led by Traci Tsai, LPCC-s. Samantha Skelley, LPC and Sarah Boron, LSW, QMHS provide mental health counseling and case management services at Minerva Elementary School. For both, this is their first year navigating the beginning of a school year at Minerva. Samantha returns to Pathway having provided school-based services in Carrollton previously. Sarah gained experience while working with clients at the end of 2015–2016 with former Pathway therapist, Lisa Hammond, and forged strong relationships with clients that she was able to build on during the summer break through groups and individual services. Currently, both have worked diligently in preparing their rooms, welcoming clients and meeting school staff and parents.
The Minerva Middle & High School team consists of Taylor Lykins, QMHS, and Susan M. Brown, LPCC. This is Taylor’s first year in a case management position. Taylor worked throughout the summer learning the culture of Minerva, introducing herself to clients and preparing for school. She brings a knowledge of working with adolescents and their families impacted by trauma from her internship at the Ronald McDonald Foundation Family Room in MetroHealth Hospital. For Susan, this is her fourth year working within the Minerva school system. While currently awaiting verification of her Supervisory credential, Susan has continued in strengthening her trauma based knowledge as well as best practices in School Based mental health services. Together, Susan and Taylor facilitated summer groups that provided clients the opportunity to participate in new experiences, form new friendships, build support systems and develop stronger self-management skills to cope with their individual stressors.
Taylor and Sarah are in the process of forming a mentoring group which will combine our Middle School and Elementary aged clients. Building leadership and appropriate decision making skills will be a focus for the Middle School clients with the Elementary clients gaining additional supports and positive role-models. Additional groups are in the process of being formed as we evaluate the needs of our clients.
We are all looking forward to a great school year!
-Susan M. Brown, LPCC, Pathway School-Based Counselor