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Sycamore Schools Adds to School-Based Therapy Team

Our partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to provide mental health services to our students is well underway.  We are pleased to announce that as of February, each of our four elementary buildings is being served by a licensed therapist on campus:

  • Jamie Wiener at Symmes Elementary
  • Lauren Greene at Blue Ash Elementary
  • Karen Celesti at Montgomery Elementary and Maple Dale Elementary

We are also pleased to welcome Nicole Snyder who will begin serving students at E.H. Greene Intermediate beginning in March. The district and CCHMC continue to interview potential candidates to fulfill our promise to have licensed therapists in each of our seven schools. In the meantime, if there is an immediate need for care in one of our two remaining buildings, our school-based therapy team will work to support that student.

Last year, the district worked with MindPeace, a local organization that serves to align mental health partners, as well as establish the infrastructure and processes for children's mental health solutions between schools and local agencies. Through an extensive evaluation process, Sycamore Community Schools chose Cincinnati Children's Hospital as their partner. CCHMC provides independently licensed therapists in addition to a clinical psychologist to serve students with significant mental health challenges.

Licensed professional clinical therapists will be on campus five days a week to meet with students, as needed. Flexible hours before and after school are available as needed. This optional and confidential service is in addition to the services provided by our dedicated school counseling staff. The school counseling program is an integral component of all aspects of our schools, as it helps students be emotionally healthy and ready to learn, and as mental health needs increase, so does the need for more acute care.

Parents, teachers, and school counselors can make student referrals for service but ultimately the decision to engage in services is at the discretion of the family. Families can cover the cost of therapist visits through insurance, Medicaid or private pay options.  The partnership is self-sustaining and does not require any financial investment by the school district. Concerns about your financial responsibility should not be a barrier to care. The billing department at CCHMC and Mindpeace have committed to supporting families in finding access to care.

Appointments typically last between 30 and 60 minutes, preferably once per week. The sessions are skills-based, meaning that students will learn new skills to better adapt to their challenges. “Homework” assignments are given between sessions so that the student can practice newly learned skills. This therapy is designed to be short-term (typically 8-12 weeks)

Mental illness affects approximately one in five children and access to services can be difficult.  It is our hope that by having licensed therapists in our Sycamore buildings, scheduling appointments and facilitating the services will come with greater ease to our students and their families. For more information about our new services, you can reach out to Lisa Zelvy, Pupil Services Supervisor, at 686-1700 or zelvyl@sycamoreschools.org.  If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with one of our therapists, please contact your child’s school counselor to begin the process.