New NJUHSD student assistance program coordinator to get community involved
Nevada Joint Union High School District recently hired Placer County native Julianne Henry as coordinator of Student Assistance Resource and Services, also known as STARS.
The program provides a myriad of services for at-risk and troubled students who need extra support and assistance to succeed academically.
Henry began working for the district on Aug. 1, and is the program’s liaison for community groups and services to come into high schools in the district and provide the services that students need.
“My goal is to bring in more agencies and more people who can see students one-on-one,” Henry said. “And a priority for me is to outreach and get the program more publicly known to families, to students, teachers, counselors and administrators, so that everyone knows this program is here for any student who could be struggling with personal issues, that are getting in the way of them being successful in school.”
Receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State University, Sacramento, Henry’s first job out of college was at an emergency shelter in Placer County.
Henry said it was her first experience working in social services with at-risk youth.
“But just kind of helping the kids through their day-to-day routine wasn’t enough for me,” Henry said. “I wanted to do more, so I went back to school.”
Henry got a master’s degree in social work, and became a licensed clinical social worker, also receiving a credential as a school social worker.
Henry got a job as a school social worker at the Placer County Office of Education, working there for 10 years before getting experience in therapy as a child and adolescent therapist for the Nevada County Children’s Behavioral Health department.
“So I’ve been working with schools, working with families and students for a long time,” Henry said. “But as a therapist I would rarely get to go to the schools. So this job is school-based, and that’s what I was really striving for, being embedded in a school and spending time with the students every day.”
As the STARS program director, Henry will often do one-on-one screenings and assessments with students, and provide crisis support for students going through issues that need immediate attention.
According to district assistant superintendent Trisha Dellis, the district will look to Henry to collaborate with outside agencies more than the program has in the past. Dellis says Henry’s organizational skills will help her run the program successfully.
“In the past, I think people get so engulfed with actually meeting with the students and servicing directly with the students,” Dellis said.
“But I think now what we’re trying to do with her position is we’re bringing in a triage of groups and services so she’s kind of the point person between the district and these outside agencies, and to the students and parents to these outside agencies.”
As the only paid staff member in the program, Henry will be delegating service to a clinical intern, as well as organizing counsel sessions and groups for nonprofit and community organizations to run. Groups Henry will be using include the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Boy’s Council, Hospice, Anew Day Counseling, and a drug diversion group that goes by the name CoRR, which holds an eight-week substance abuse course for all students in the district who have issues with drugs.
“It’s a really unique program to give student support if they’re having issues in that area,” Dellis said. “We’re trying not to make it just punitive, but to have that education of what students are doing to their bodies and their minds when they use drugs. Especially during that really crucial time when their brains are just kind of coming together.”
Henry’s program will also be using the services of county-funded programs such as the Columbia Teen Screen program, which will screen freshmen students to check for any signs of suicidal tendencies.
The STARS program will also collaborate with county-funded Reconnecting Youth Inc., an award-winning program recognized for their evidence-based prevention model.
“High school is a hard time,” Henry said. “It’s hard for typical kids who have relatively minor barriers and so many of these kids out here we just don’t know what they went through before they get here to school, and what it’s going to be like when they get home.”
Henry says she is excited about working with students in the district, and says she has already serviced 40 kids in the first eight days of the program.
She encourages teachers, parents, and community members who observe a student that needs help, to refer them to STARS to give them the assistance that they need.
“Children can do well if they can,” Henry said. “If they’re not, then adults around them have to find out why not, and step in and find out how to help them … I want youth to succeed, and I want them to get the support they need to be successful.”
For more information, go to http://www.njuhsd.com/Our-District/Student-Assistance-Program.
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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