Counseling Services

The goal of our counseling program is to facilitate each student’s development and growth throughout their Prep career.
Cura Personalis “care for the whole person” an Ignatian Jesuit characteristic that the counselors use as an instrument to assist and guide the students at St. Joseph's Prep. Counselors at the Prep are a resource for all students and have accessible offices in Connelly Counseling and Resource Center.
If your son is struggling, academically, emotionally or socially, please contact his counselor. Here are some services provided by St. Joseph's Prep Counselors: 

  • Advises and counsels students regarding their academic progress, short-term social, and emotional problems.
  • Remains universally accessible and makes an effort to know every student for whom they are responsible.
  • Provides individual student planning and responsive services to support students and their families regarding academic matters.
  • Teaches guidance or related classes and provides guidance counseling to students through planned activities in small groups or classroom settings to convey educational, social, and important school information and offers workshops/seminars for parents.
  • Consults, facilitates, and maintains communication with parents, teachers, administrators, and pertinent agents on specific student and parent academic and educational matters including academic modifications and/or accommodations.
  • Recommends appropriate action and solutions to individual students academic needs and abilities.
  • Coordinates with behavioral health specialists.
  • Participates in the Student Services Team by identifying students who may need targeted or intensive services.
  • Assist students/parents/guardians in understanding school policies and procedures.
  • Support and attend appropriate student activities and events.
  • Consistent communication with faculty, staff, parents/guardians when individual students need additional support in area of academic, social and assistance for their general welling being.
  • Individual meeting with faculty, staff and parents when the student is in danger of academic or mental health issues.
  • Coordinates Catapult Learning Services for executive functioning (study skills, time management, etc.) and ongoing meetings that will support students with social and mental health issues.
  • Coordinates with Prep Advantage and College Counseling (senior year) for academic support and peer tutoring for students that need support in their academic endeavors.
  • Coordinates assemblies (Advisoree Period) with outside health organizations to address the cultural challenges facing students as well as Zoom meetings with parents and coaches as needed. 

List of 6 items.

  • Counselor Assignments

    Students are assigned to counselors alphabetically by last name per counselor:
  • Individual Meetings

    Counselors are available to meet with students on an individual basis. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information about a student’s academic progress, extracurricular activities, social interests and family life, and to provide support to that student. Individual appointments can be scheduled by the student or counselor. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their counselor to discuss any concerns or questions they may have and they are welcome to drop by just to talk. Parents are also invited to contact their son’s counselor with any questions or concerns they may have.
  • Programming

    The Prep makes great efforts to have qualified educational and mental health professionals on staff. Prep Counselors are experienced practitioners who work with our students individually, prioritize their emotional well-being, and make referrals for additional support services when appropriate.

    Dr. John Berna, Ph.D. 

    Dr. Stewart Barbera, Psy D., MSW 

    Dr. William Gillsepie, Psy D., MS 

    Bro. Robert Carson, SJ, 
    Certified Counselor

    While the Prep Counselors focus on academic performance, they also address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students. It is essential that counselors regularly examine their practices and stay actively engaged in professional development, training, and certification in order to better serve the needs of our students.

    In addition to individual counseling, counselors also work with students in groups. The Prep uses outside professional speakers to help students examine topics such as: depression, anxiety, suicide, sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse.

    Generally, presentations are followed up with a reflection shared between our students and counselors. These meetings occur in the classroom or other venues and provide the freedom for Prep students to express their concerns, opinions and thoughts.
  • Guidance Presentation

    Periodically the counselors will meet with students during their advisory or community periods. Within the context of the principles of Jesuit education, these meetings will provide an opportunity for students to learn about a variety of topics such as: making a successful transition to the Prep; organizational and study skills; making healthy choices, dealing with pressure, getting involved in extracurricular activities; making new friends; an introduction to the ACT, PSAT, and SAT tests; and College Admissions Counseling. 

    Students may also meet with their counselor in a small group setting. These meetings will provide students with the opportunity to become more familiar with the counseling program at the Prep and to discuss about a variety of topics such as adjusting to the Prep, getting involved, common concerns, study strategies, etc.
  • Substance Abuse Awareness and Prevention Program

    The Prep's Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention Program is a joint effort between the Counseling Department and the Dean's Office. The goal is to properly educate students so that they are aware of the realities behind substance use and abuse. A testing component is involved as well. This policy exists to detract students from using, identify those in need and provide a valid excuse to those students who don't wish to use but are susceptible to peer pressure.

    The counseling department is available to discuss issues surrounding drugs and alcohol. They are aware of the pressures present in the lives of adolescents. They are personally trained to help and have resources at our disposal to help our students regardless of their level of concern. With the assistance of Catapult Learning Services, St. Joseph's Prep is committed to mind, body and spirit wellness for our community. Programs are created to assist students in their journey toward mental health in the areas of anxiety, depression as well as socialization and executive functioning. 

    Our dedication to education is fulfilled through individual conversation, classroom guidance, small group work and yearly speakers devoted to help arm our students with information vital to proper decision making.
  • Additional Services

    Additional support is offered by two full-time Catapult Learning Services professionals. These services are accessed via referral by the Prep Counselors and require parental consent. Students will be referred by their Counselor on a case by case basis. 

    Services include:
    • Learning Assessments
    • Psychoeducational Evaluations
    • Speech and Language Assessments and Therapy
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