|As the Director of Student Services, I am pleased to lead a team of knowledgeable, experienced, and well-trained professionals who truly support all students in becoming self-aware, self-regulated, strategic learners equipped to cope with challenges in all areas of life at MICDS and beyond. Each MICDS division is served by a counselor, a learning specialist, and a nurse who support the MICDS mission to prepare students to think critically, act responsibly, and live virtuously and compassionately. They recognize the academic lives, socio-emotional lives, and wellness of students are inextricably linked and work to create a culture recognizing the importance of both an appreciation for learning and the continued development of strong moral character and personal responsibility. The learning specialists, counselors, and nurses work in close consultation with each other as well as with other faculty members, administration, and parents to help all students reach their true potential in intellectual character and responsibility. |
Director of Student Services
Meet the Learning Specialist Team:
Ashley O’Toole - Lower School
Mead Ploszay – Middle School
Kathy DePung – Upper School
Meet the Counseling Team:
Ashley O’Toole - Lower School
Kara Friedman – Middle School
David Hotaling – Upper School
Meet the Health Services Team:
Kelly Hogan, RN, BSN – Lower School/Middle School
Michelle Fox, RN, BSN – Upper School
Director of Student Services
Vicki Thurman, MS, SSP
Current MICDS parents can refer to the Student Services Community Group on the portal for further information and resources available from all student services areas.
Support Services at MICDS
|How does the Counselor provide support within the school? |
By forming a team with parents, MICDS faculty and administration, the Counselor provides a support system for dealing with issues that affect the emotional well-being and academic success of the students in our community. The Counselor is committed to the promotion of positive personal growth in all students, and will remain devoted to serving as an effective catalyst for the realization of each student’s potential and for the consequent positive development of the MICDS educational community.
|What is the role of the Counselor? |
The Counselor is committed to the promotion of positive personal growth, emotional wellness and healthy development among students, families, and faculty in the MICDS community. Each division has a School Counselor . At the Upper School, this person is in addition to the College Counselor. If you have any concerns about your child’s social, emotional, or psychological development, your divisional Counselor is an appropriate person to contact.
The School Counselors:
- implement developmentally appropriate counseling programs to educate all students about emotional health and wellness;
- meet individually with students to address concerns or challenges in their personal, social, or academic lives;
- respond to school concerns or crises affecting the psychological well- being of students;
- refer to resources on campus and in the community for specialized support of students’ developmental or mental health needs;
- consult with teachers, parents, and school staff on topics related to the emotional development and mental health of youth;
- develop nurturing, trusting relationships with students which provide a basis for support, advocacy and guidance.
|What is the role of the Learning Specialist? |
The Learning Specialists use their specialized training in psychology, assessment, and education to support a student’s entire learning process, which includes collaboration with faculty, academic leadership teams, parents, students, and outside service providers.
Our Learning Specialists:
- Support and train our faculty as they strive to differentiate their curricula in order to meet the needs of all students
- Are part of the academic leadership teams – providing consultation, updated research, and understanding of best practices for student support/intervention
- Help students better understand themselves as learners by identifying and addressing their areas of cognitive and academic strength and weakness
- Provide feedback on learning strategies, developing strong organizational habits and effective ways in which to seek teacher support
- Serve as resources for parents as they explore how to better support their child at home
If, as a parent, you have a concern about your child’s academic progress, the Learning Specialist is an appropriate person to contact. If your child needs specialized support, the learning specialist may provide an appropriate referral to an outside professional, service provider, or evaluator. Often, support can be arranged to be provided at school in the Wetterau Learning Center or other areas in each division.
|What other resources are available through the Learning Specialist? |
The Learning Specialist can serve as a resource for parents to answer questions about supporting learning at home and recommend books/articles that can help support all levels of learners. As a resource to faculty, the Learning Specialist keeps teachers aware of the most up-to-date research based information to address their students’ needs and learning, consults concerning learning concerns, and develops support strategies when needed. In addition, the Learning Specialist also provides referral information for support so that students can receive one-on-one help from a professional who specializes in a specific area of concern, including tutoring, enrichment activities, or other outside specialists. Often, support can be arranged to be provided at school in the Wetterau Learning Center or other areas in each division.