Mental Health Newsletter

Collaboration of MSAD 52 School Counselors & Social Workers


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How heavy is your load?

In every school year, there is stress that comes with teaching and learning, for everyone involved - educators, students, parents/family. Add in a pandemic, and you can imagine that stress takes on a whole new level.

Almost every aspect of how we educate has had to be adjusted this year. Change has been the name of the game. And with another change unfolding before us, it's important that we manage our stress in healthy ways.

Our loads may feel heavy, but they don't have to bury us.

Try these tips to deal with stress,

compiled by the American Heart Association's Healthy for Good movement.

1. Count to 10 before you speak or react to something.

2. Take time for a few deep breaths until you feel your body relax.

3. Walk away from the situation for a while, even if it's just to refill your water bottle or go to the bathroom.

4. Try a quick meditation or prayer to gain perspective.

5. Not every email or social media comment needs a response right away. If it's not urgent, sleep on it and respond tomorrow.

6. Break down big problems into smaller parts, then handle it one part at a time.

7. Find music or a podcast that helps you chill out. Have it on in the background.

8. Take a break to do something that makes you smile - hug someone, pet a dog, look outside your window.

9. Do something active. Get your body moving in ways that feel good to you.

Find more wellness tips at

Other things to try...

Ever heard of Havening? This new therapy technique incorporates distraction, touch, and eye movements to reduce anxiety and stress. Give this simple mindful moment a try the next time you are feeling stressed out. It's simple enough for young children and can be helpful for all ages! Find out which of the 3 moves feels best for you.
Happiness Challenge: Reduce Stress in Kids with Havening
For kids and teens, there's a new podcast by GoZen! Stories featuring Kid Confident, which tells the story of high schooler Kacey as she deals with everyday pressures from home and school. This podcast is free and incorporates stories of resilience for kids and teens in relatable ways.

Check out episodes of the current season here: GoZen! Stories Kid Confident.


Feeling a little broken?

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We have all felt broken here and there throughout life; some more often than others. Remember that no matter if your crayon is shiny sharp and brand new, broken in two with the paper falling off, or worn down flat with nothing left to give, the one thing that these crayons have in common is that they needed support and someone to hold them in their hand to help them create a beautiful picture. There is no shame in asking for help!
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Please know that you are not alone. There are supports within each of our schools as well as the community to be that helping hand. Our school counselors and social workers are trained to help in these situations, including supporting you through the referral process to resources within our community that can and want to help.

Whether you are feeling a little blue, anxious, or very depressed and having suicidal thoughts, there is somebody who is willing to help and support you. You are not alone!!

Find the right resource for you.

If you're worried about your child's mental health, read this article about how to help:

A parent's guide to helping a child in distress

To learn more about the warning signs of suicide in teens, please click here:

Teen Warning Signs

To learn more about the warning signs of suicide in children, please click here:

Children Warning Signs


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Choose kindness

A new year is an opportunity for a new perspective. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the media, frustrated with the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, or simply miss what used to be, the MSAD 52 counseling staff is right there with you. We are feeling it too.

Collectively, we have found that coming together to help our students, their families, and our staff is what gets us through. It feels good to lend a helping hand or listening ear. Doing something nice for someone else feels productive and gives us purpose.

Kindness can be equally rewarding for those who give it. It’s also shown to reduce stress, improve our immune system, and help us feel healthier overall!

Let’s face it, our schedules are looking real different these days. Instead of focusing on the practice you used to have or the family get togethers you used to attend, shift your perspective! The MSAD 52 counseling staff challenges you to use that time to generate kindness in our community! You could help out a neighbor or make a card for a grandparent you haven’t seen in a while. Doing something for someone else helps us feel connected and fulfilled - two emotions we could all use a little more of in 2021!

For more information about how kindness can improve our health, please read this article:

Kindness makes you healthier and happier

For ideas on kind acts you can do with your family, please check out this article:

Acts of Kindness for Kids

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How will you choose kindness today?



Which child might be feeling anxious?

Answer: All of them. Anxiety can look quite different in each child.

Ever wonder what it might mean when your child says, “I don’t want to” or there is a sudden explosion of anger coming from seemingly nowhere? As a parent, you might feel frustrated because you are not sure how to react or “fix” the problem.

Here are seven statements a child might make that could mean they are anxious about something currently happening. These statements do not mean the child has long-term anxiety, but looking deeper at what is occurring in the moment can help you and your child solve the problem more quickly and teach your child the skills to overcome it the next time it happens.

1. “My stomach hurts.”

Is there a pattern to the stomach aches? When are they happening? Talk with your child about what leads up to the stomach ache and then teach them coping skills to manage the anxious moment. Slow deep breathing and positive self-talk can help.

2. “I don’t want to _____.”

What’s behind the avoidance? Has something changed about the activity? Talk with your child about it. Allowing them to avoid the activity will actually increase their anxiety.

3. “Roar” - anger quickly boiling over.

Stop what you are doing if you can and sit with your child. Help them calm down and then explore what happened and how they could react differently. Don’t shame them or match their anger with your anger.

4. Tears, tears, tears.

Crying can actually be a good reaction to release anxiety and energy. Sit with your child and let them know it’s okay to cry for a bit to let it out. When the tears slow down or stop, gently try to process what was happening beforehand.

5. “What if…?”

This statement is your child trying to work out their worries by thinking of every scenario that could happen. GoZen suggests switching “What if...?” to “So what if...?” This subtle shift changes the problem to thinking of solutions.

6. “I can’t sleep.”

The connection between sleep and anxiety is very clear. Set consistent routines around bedtime, shut off screen time an hour before bedtime, and tuck your child in with a hug and rub of the back.

7. “I can’t.”

Anxiety can creep into a new situation when the child feels challenged or unsure about how to do something. Encourage them to try the task, break the task down into smaller parts, or take a break and go back to it. As easy as it is for parents to just do the task for the child, it doesn’t teach the child that they can master it; in fact, it teaches them that they cannot do it. Support your child as they try it over and over and encourage them along the way.

For more information, please read the article from GoZen:

7 Surprising Things Kids Say that Can Mean "I'm Anxious."


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Holidays are quickly approaching. The season always comes upon us before we know it. For your family, this year could be quite different than any other year. It might be worth a pause to think about how it will be different and what you can do to make it as special as years past .

What will the challenges be? Which traditions can we continue? Are there new traditions we can create? How can we connect with family we cannot visit? How can I provide a special meal for my family? Is there something we can do to help others in our community? Are family members experiencing disappointment, sadness, or anxiety because of the changes to holiday plans?

Many of these questions and more may be swirling around in your mind. Take some time to talk with your family about the concerns, validate feelings, and provide understanding. Together come up with suggestions on how to make this year a memorable one. When we encourage children to think about solutions, we help build resiliency, which is the ability to manage and overcome challenges.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Choose a new side dish to prepare - something you have never cooked before
  • Gather some turkey jokes and riddles to share
  • Make Thanksgiving place mats for each guest
  • Create a thankful card for each guest
  • Create an outside Thanksgiving scavenger hunt
  • Send cards and photos to relatives who cannot visit
  • Give to the local food pantry
For everything from crafts to games to scavenger hunt ideas, check out this slideshow to add some fun to your family's holiday.

7 Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

Is your family going completely virtual this year? Check out these ideas about how to make a virtual Thanksgiving meaningful before, during, and after the actual holiday.

8 Ways to Celebrate a Virtual Thanksgiving

Each family will decide how best to celebrate together or apart, and which new rules or traditions may need to enter the picture this year. This article encourages us to plan ahead, communicate, and listen to each other.

Tips for Reducing Stress and Helping Kids Cope


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On behalf of all school counselors and social workers in MSAD 52, I would like to welcome you back to the 2020-21 school year. It certainly is a different kind of year as we settle into the routine of school during a pandemic Our wish is that all students are back in the buildings together, as one complete school community, but unfortunately, that is just not possible yet. However, we intend to do the best we can under the circumstances and hope to help you navigate through the changes in routine as best we can.

This newsletter will be published monthly throughout the school year and will hopefully contain items that you find useful, entertaining, and timely. Please understand that we are here to help and we encourage you to reach out when you have questions. This particular newsletter will ideally supply you with the names/numbers/emails of the various people from whom you may need assistance at any given time. If you are uncertain about who can assist you, simply reach out to your school counselor and she can certainly direct you to the right place.

I encourage you to take care of yourselves and each other as we work through this school year together. My best advice: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can" (Arthur Ashe). No one is expecting perfection.

~Heidi Poulin, Director of Guidance

Our contact info

Leavitt Area High School

Heidi Poulin, School Counselor at LAHS

Nicole Drew, School Counselor at LAHS

Sarah Frank, School Counselor at LAHS

Amy McNamara, Substance Abuse Counselor at LAHS

Erika Ouellette, Social Worker at LAHS

Tripp Middle School

Brooke Newton, School Counselor at TMS

Papawadee Yooman (Pook), Social Worker at TMS

Turner Elementary School

Carlene Treadwell, School Counselor at TES

Kara Bryant, Social Worker at TPS, TES, LCS

Turner Primary School

Kayla Marston, School Counselor at TPS

Greene Central School

Jennifer Simmons, School Counselor at GCS

Melissa Tremblay, Social Worker at GCS

Leeds Central School

Liz Cook, School Counselor at LCS

Food Pantry Locations in our Community

Tech Support for Seesaw & Google Classroom

How to Seesaw at Home with Your Child(ren)
How to Classroom with Your Children at Home

Check out Geoff Cyr's Technology Page with lots of helpful hints for using any device or virtual app with your child:

Mr. Cyr's Technology Page


As summer comes, we're here

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Let the sun shine on your soul

As our virtual school experience comes to a close, and we all carry a sense of unease about what the upcoming school year will be like, remember to enjoy your summer. Even if how you do summer looks different this time around, find things to enjoy, people to laugh with, paths to walk, water to dip your toes in, and sunshine to warm your skin.

Soak it up.

We will all be here through out summer and when we return in the fall. You can reach out to us whenever you need us. Our contact information is below, as well as community mental health and crisis supports.

School Counselors & Social Workers Contact Info

Leavitt Area High School

Heidi Poulin, School Counselor at LAHS

Nicole Drew, School Counselor at LAHS

Sarah Frank, School Counselor at LAHS

Amy McNamara, Substance Abuse Counselor at LAHS

Erika Ouellette, Social Worker at LAHS

Tripp Middle School

Brooke Newton, School Counselor at TMS

Papawadee Yooman (Pook), Social Worker at TMS

Turner Elementary School

Carlene Treadwell, School Counselor at TES

Kara Bryant, Social Worker at TPS, TES, LCS

Turner Primary School

Kayla Marston, School Counselor at TPS

Greene Central School

Jennifer Simmons, School Counselor at GCS

Melissa Tremblay, Social Worker at GCS

Leeds Central School

Liz Cook, School Counselor at LCS


Running on tired legs

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How full is your cup?

You may have heard the phrase "you can't pour from an empty cup" in relation to self-care. You also can't run on tired legs for too long. Eventually, you will have to stop and rest. This distance learning marathon has been exhausting, and you deserve respite. Some of us struggle to take time for ourselves; we might feel selfish, silly, or like we're wasting precious time.

The truth is, when we spend time doing something that makes us feel good, we are doing wonders for the people around us too. Our brains and our bodies are more calm and able to handle stress when we have taken care of our own needs. Basically, when you feel good, you can do good!

Now more than ever, it's important to know what our stress triggers are (the things that deplete our energy) and what rejuvenates us (the things that restore our energy). Modeling self-care for our students/children is paramount in helping them develop this skill for themselves.

Check out a couple of resources to try below - find what works for you!

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2 min Breathe Bubble | Breathe Exercises - Sea - Think Nothing Exercise I Breathe In Calm App

What does our staff do for self-care activities?


Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

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Really, thank you doesn't seem like enough...

Especially during these challenging times, you deserve a medal, a trophy, and all the chocolate. Through school abruptly closing, figuring out distance learning on the fly, and still coming through for your students and families - YOU DID IT AND YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

We couldn't do what we do without your support and collaboration. Thank you for all of your compassion, patience, and willingness to try new things (even when it's hard).

We appreciate you!

-Much love from your school counselors and social workers

Activities for family fun at home!

SEL challenge and scavenger hunt

Filled with simple and fun challenges, this scavenger hunt encourages you to focus on the GOOD! You can do these inside and outside, alone or with family members. Try to do all 15 and document your progress if you wish!

Click on this link to see the list larger: SEL Challenge and Scavenger Hunt

Quarantine time capsule

We are living through a very unique time in history. Imagine how interesting it would be to remember in the future all the things you did during this time. All you need is a jar or an empty shoebox to fill with memories!

Click on this link to download directions and materials to help you create your own capsule: Big Life Journal Time Capsule

Fun activities for bored teens (and their families!)

From learning how to cook a new recipe, to hiking, to rearranging and redecorating your room, this list boasts 100 activities for teens and their families to do! Now that warm weather has arrived, there's lots to do outside while maintaining a safe distance. Skip stones across some water, look for shapes among the clouds, or become a grill master - the possibilities are endless!

Click this link for the full list: 100 Fun Activities

Rock painting

While the canvas might seem a bizarre choice, painting rocks can invite lots of creativity. Each rock has its own shape, size, color, texture, and imperfections that can help guide your artistic expression. You can choose simple color, or extensive detail. You can add words with paint or permanent marker. Rock painting can entertain artists of all ages and abilities!

Check out this link for easy rock painting ideas: Rock Painting 101

What is our MSAD 52 staff up to?


Guidance for high school students and their parents

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Encouraging social teens to stay distant

We all watched as the beaches in Florida filled up with spring breakers, defying the advice of national, state, and local governments to remain at home and avoid crowds. Locally, many parents are struggling to convince their teenagers why they need to remain at home and why social gatherings are not going to be allowed. At the same time, some parents are allowing their teens to gather in groups. The real challenge is being the parent who says NO.

There are many lessons to be learned beyond the classroom during this time. The value of a shared community/state/national goal is difficult to teach, and yet, we are immersed in that very circumstance right now. This article may provide you with something you can use when speaking with your teenager about the importance of social distancing:

How to pick a college during Coronavirus

There are many things running interference into your decision process, especially now when perhaps finances aren’t as predictable as they might have been even a month ago. Some of the financial aid offers may seem confusing and different from each other. Perhaps you wanted to do a visit before you decided. There are ways to get clarification on some of these things, virtually or otherwise. Emphasis on the final paragraph: contact your counselor with questions, contact admissions and financial aid offices directly - we are all here and ready to help.

The following article discusses the different things to consider when making a decision on which college to attend:

Calculating the cost of college

This quick article explains the terms used in the financial aid world, which may be useful and timely for many of our seniors and their parents:

Finance Authority of Maine

FAME (Finance Authority of Maine) is the go-to place to contact with questions about how to pay for college. They can advise you on how to fill any gaps that may exist after receiving your financial aid offers from colleges. Check out the financial aid webinars coming up on April 30th, May 14th, and May 21st:

NAMI Maine offering new Teen Text Line

Lots of things are different right now for teens in Maine due to COVID-19, and that can feel overwhelming. Often, teens prefer to talk about their feelings and get support from another young person. Here for you every day from 12pm - 10pm, this peer support text line is for youth 14-20 years old and staffed by individuals between 19-23 years of age.

You are not alone! Send the Teen Text Support Line a text at (207) 515-8398.

Visit for more information.

Please note: This is not a crisis line. If you believe that you or someone you know is in crisis, please call Maine's Statewide Crisis Line at (888) 568-1112.

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!


In Search Of: Grace, Patience, & Love

Take a moment to look at these two images. Does any of this look or sound familiar to you?

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Whether you are a parent of a young child or a teenager (or both), you have likely seen some out-of-the-norm behavior from them lately. And we’re here to say, it’s okay.

It’s okay if your child/teen doesn’t complete all of their assigned work, read all the pages they’re supposed to today, or feels so yucky that they’re spreading bad vibes to everyone else in the house. Kids and teens are humans too and will have off days, negative attitudes, and really hard feelings - just like grown-ups do.

It’s okay if your child/teen doesn’t want to participate in every Zoom call or Google Meet set up with their teacher(s) or family members. Sometimes connecting through video chats can leave us with a seriously heavy dose of sadness. Let them choose.

And for you, parents, it’s okay if you’re struggling to manage working from home (or working in the community still) while also being your child’s/teen’s teacher and parent. Trying to do two or three full-time jobs will leave you depleted, and probably extra cranky too. Find what works for your family, and let go of the rest.

Now is the time for GRACE, PATIENCE, and LOVE. Find a balance of encouraging a little academic work, learning through exploration (go outside!), playing or cooking together as a family, and letting go of the guilt about too much screen time. The kids will be alright.

Check out a few good tips below to help you through. This too shall pass.

Name it to tame it

When we find a label for what we’re feeling, it can help us feel in control of it, instead of the other way around. A lot of us are feeling grief - over what we’ve lost and what we anticipate losing. It’s okay to grieve right now. Talk about your feelings together.

Focus on what you can control

Accept what we can do to be in control during this time. We can wash our hands, we can keep a safe distance, and we can learn how to work virtually. Perhaps we’ll discover a slower pace in life with more time for family connection and fun.

Flip your thinking

Practice positive self-talk. Instead of thinking in either/or such as, “This situation is not ideal; my child won’t learn anything from home,” try thinking in both/and such as, “This situation is not ideal AND I’m going to keep trying to help my child learn in different ways.” This helps grow your brain!

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!


Finding your new normal

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A heartfelt message of gratitude from one of us

I am a school social worker, a mom, a wife, a friend, a community member...

Four weeks ago I had a set routine and a fairly predictable life (some might even say boring). I went to school everyday and supported students, and came home to a busy life with my middle school daughter. Homework and after school activities. We were on the treadmill of life and juggling but we managed - it was our normal.

And then COVID-19 happened.

Distance learning began. We can handle that. We rearranged our home space to accommodate working from home and helping my daughter with her school work. It was only for two weeks afterall.

Enter week three. What was supposed to be two weeks has turned into a mandatory “stay-at-home” order until at least May 1st. Conversations have changed. The novelty of distance learning is wearing off. Students are struggling to do their work. Parents are frustrated. Everyone is stressed.

What started as a temporary plan has all of a sudden turned into our new normal. Except, none of us know what that new “normal” is supposed to look like. Not only were the students and families I work with struggling, but I noticed that I was feeling frustrated, lost, and overwhelmed too. My daughter was tearful, expressing stress and anxiety over the amount of work she had to complete and was spinning. I found myself getting very frustrated with my daughter and myself for not managing things better. Why couldn’t I get it together?

I had lost sight of the bigger picture. We are in the midst of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC! An event of this kind is LIFE CHANGING. Our stress levels, anxieties, and frustrations are completely normal and understandable. How should we know how to manage a situation we have never encountered before? We are learning as we go. Mistakes will happen. I had to take a step back and remember this. We need to be gentle with ourselves and gentle with each other. Self-care and care of one another is a priority and everything else will fall into place.

So here is where my gratitude comes into play. Recently, Superintendent Kim Brandt sent us all a message. It was a message of compassion and understanding that I needed to hear. I believe we all need to hear it. Please take a moment to listen to Kim Brandt’s message below.

Kim Brandt Community Address

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!


What is mindfulness?

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The buzz word is mindfulness. “Be mindful.” “Take a mindful moment.” What is it really? How does it work? What’s the point of teaching children? Why is it all the rage?

In simple terms, MINDFULNESS is being aware of the present moment and having an awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body, sensations, and surrounding environment. Taking a moment to just be still and aware of what is happening. This small shift in our attention can make a world of a difference. It allows us to create a space. In that space is the power to replace impulsive reactions or words with thoughtful responses and actions.

For parents, it allows us to take a moment and choose a thoughtful healthy response versus a knee jerk reaction which might escalate a situation. For children, it helps them improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset, and to make better decisions. In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus.

The information above was borrowed from these resources. Check them out for more:

Mindful Schools

Huff Post

Check out this video of Ms. Marston and her daughter modeling

3 quick mindful moments you can try at home!

Mindful Moments - Video 1

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!


How to take care of YOU!

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The Mental Health First Aid curriculum by the National Council of Behavioral Health suggests the following recommendations to maintain wellness while practicing physical distancing.(Updated 3/23/20)

  1. Eat healthfully to keep your body in top working order.
  2. Exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, whether we’re working out at home or taking a solo jog around the neighborhood.
  3. Practice relaxation therapy. Focusing on tensing and relaxing muscle groups can help you relax voluntarily when feeling overwhelmed, stressed or anxious.
  4. Let light in. For some people, increased exposure to light can improve symptoms of depression. If you can, open the shades and let more sunlight in.
  5. Be kind to yourself! Treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend.
  6. Stay connected. Even if you can’t get together face-to-face, you can stay connected to friends, family and neighbors with phone calls, text messages, video chats and social media. If you’re feeling lonely, sad or anxious, reach out to your social support networks. Share what you are feeling and offer to listen to friends or family members about their feelings. We are all experiencing this scary and uncertain time together.
  7. Monitor media consumption. While you might want to stay up-to the minute with COVID-19 news, too much exposure can be overwhelming. Balance media consumption with other activities you enjoy, such as reading, cooking or listening to music. (Kapil, 2020).
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211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local resources. 211 Maine is based in Maine and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their Specialists are trained and friendly; they know we all need help sometimes. Please visit their website at

Messages from your school counselors & social workers!


Welcome to our first newsletter!

In an effort to stay balanced and connected during these uncertain times, the School Counselors and Social Workers in MSAD 52 would like to offer a regular newsletter for students, parents, staff, and the community.

Each newsletter will feature resources and ideas around mental health and wellness.

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Crisis Support Services

Even among the recommendations of social distancing, we can use our devices to access the help and support we need when we need it. Please check out these websites with more information about the crisis support services available in our community.

Hotline and Crisis Numbers:

Crisis Services through Sweetser:

Crisis Text Line:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine:

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, please talk with a trusted adult. You are not in this alone! Parents, teachers, counselors, and social workers are here to help. :)

Food Pantry Locations in our Community

School Counselors and Social Workers Contact Information

Leavitt Area High School

Heidi Poulin, School Counselor at LAHS

Nicole Drew, School Counselor at LAHS

Sarah Frank, School Counselor at LAHS

Amy McNamara, Substance Abuse Counselor at LAHS

Erika Ouellette, Social Worker at LAHS

Tripp Middle School

Brooke Newton, School Counselor at TMS

Papawadee Yooman (Pook), Social Worker at TMS

Turner Elementary School

Carlene Treadwell, School Counselor at TES

Kara Bryant, Social Worker at TPS, TES, LCS

Turner Primary School

Kayla Marston, School Counselor at TPS

Greene Central School

Jennifer Simmons, School Counselor at GCS

Melissa Tremblay, Social Worker at GCS

Leeds Central School

Liz Cook, School Counselor at LCS