Montclair High offers a shoulder to lean on

Lila Kokalas, Staff Writer

We all know and love our guidance counselors, however there are more social and emotional support staff at Montclair High School that many students do not know about. For example, Student Assistance Counselors, or SAC.“Student Assistance Counselors are here for any social or emotional need or want a student may have,” said Arthur Settembrino, Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) for Seniors at Montclair High School. 

The difference between a guidance counselor and SAC is that guidance counselors have to generate schedules and deal with academic needs of students, whereas the latter are for anything that could get in the way of your academic success. “SAC counselors have a luxury that guidance counselors don’t have, we don’t have to do the scheduling and can wholly support a student’s well being” said Mr. Settembrino, SAC at MHS. 

“We made a referral form and sent it to all staff,” Mr. Settembrino said, “We included reasons why someone would be referred, and behaviors to look out for.” This is a resource to help teachers look out for their students. 

There is an assigned Student Assistance Counselor to each grade level. Ms. Doshi is assigned to freshmen, and  she is located in the annex (Room 616). Ms. Gibbs, located in the Team 3 office, is the Sophomore SAC. The junior counselor, Ms. Hassan, is located in the Team 1 office. Lastly, Mr. Settembrino, the senior Student Assistance Counselor, is located in the Team 3 office. 

The SAC’s are here to help students. “If you come see a Students Assistance Counselor, there is nothing wrong with you … being a student is hard, and sometimes you need that extra support.” Mr. Settembrino. 

The serenity room, located in the Team 3 office, is a room where students can go to take a load off. There is comfortable seating, activity books with calming exercises, and Students Assistance Counselors ready to help you with whatever is on your mind. The serenity room is a resource for students that is always available, and was funded by Restorative Justice. If you have a free period, or during lunch, you can go without a pass, but if you have a class you must have a pass from your teacher. The Restorative Justice Foundation believes in collaborating with the Board of Education to “foster social and emotional well-being, acceptance, empowerment and mutual respect for those who are impacted by and involved in conflict.” (Montclair Public School District). 

Montclair High School has many unadvertised mental health resources, but there are people here for you.