Dear Northwood Families,
Once again, we find ourselves entering a school year that will be different from those of “normal,” pre-COVID-19 times. While some things have returned to the way they were before the pandemic, such as the resumption of in-person learning and full-day schedules, some things have not, such as heightened health and safety requirements, and the need for increased flexibility. At the same time, during a child’s elementary school years, important intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development is taking place. To help navigate these issues, a school-based mental health counselor, Laura Falsgraf, MA, LMHC, from Mercer Island Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) is available to provide support to the students and families of Northwood Elementary.
The MIYFS school counseling program is largely preventative; we try to identify challenges early and provide appropriate services that may involve both parents and teachers to set children up for success while minimizing the likelihood of future disruptions to a successful school experience.
Your school counselor works with students individually and in groups at the request of parents, teachers, or the students themselves to provide support in navigating and resolving issues related to mental health and social/emotional functioning and development. Parent permission is required for ongoing work with individual students. Services are confidential and information will not be shared without a signed release of information unless there is a safety issue that warrants disclosure.
In addition to ongoing work with individual students, the counselor is available to all students providing “as needed” support at students’ or teachers’ request and may have incidental or transient contact with your child through activities such as classroom presentations/lessons, informal lunch groups to which students may be invited guests, or to follow up on a classroom issue. Such contacts are not considered individual counseling services and may not require parent permission.
Finally, the school counselor works to support the entire student body by developing and delivering age-appropriate classroom lessons, activities and facilitated discussions about relationships, decision-making, emotion regulation, problem-solving, coping strategies and other issues related to students’ social and emotional health.
Feel free to contact your MIYFS school counselor, Laura Falsgraf (phone: 206-275-5841; email: Laura.Falsgraf@
mercerislandschools.org), to discuss concerns regarding your child’s development and/or social/emotional functioning, refer your child for services, or to seek a referral. If you notice a change in your child, find them struggling emotionally or behaviorally, are experiencing family difficulties, or wish some assistance or support in helping your child, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together we can help your child adjust to the many demands of elementary school life while we work together to navigate the realities of the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
Laura Falsgraf, MA, LMHC
MIYFS School-Based Mental Health Counselor