Huntington –Julia Goncalves and Franny Huberman have joined the staff of the Gateway School-Based Health Center, following the departure of Suzanne Kresiak—a long-time counselor at the site.
Goncalves spends most of her workweek at the Gateway office, where she can see students from Littleville Elementary School, the middle school or the high school. Counseling hours at the School-Based Health Center are generally 8 – 3:30, Monday through Friday. Goncalves also holds clinic hours for children at the Huntington Health Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 – 5 p.m.
Huberman works two half-days each week at Gateway, with the rest of her time at the Huntington Health Center.
Both clinicians will continue to be available at the Huntington Health Center in the summer, so that students seen at school can switch over for continued visits in July and August.
Counseling referrals may be made from parents, teachers, schools staff, medical providers, and the children themselves. They work with students on any behavioral health issue, from managing anxiety to a diagnosed mental illness. Students are typically seen once a week. Students also drop in as needed for an urgent, but sometimes short-term problem.
“Students may come to reach out for a little extra help,” said Goncalves. “They may be worried about an upcoming test, a dental appointment, or might be new to school—all of these are appropriate for counseling.”
Even though they are new to Gateway, the counselors are already working with school counselors and serve on the Student Assistance Team—a bi-weekly meeting to review student needs and develop collaborative approaches to addressing trends in the schools.
Goncalves believes that having Hilltown Community Health Centers have a site in the school—to provide medical, dental, behavioral and nutrition services—it a great model for rural schools. “I think it just helps kids get through whatever they’re going through,” she said. “Parents divorcing, pressures of school, peer conflicts—all of these are amplified in a school setting.”
The counselors reported that they reach out to parents when kids come in and try to include the family as much as possible. Students may be seen regardless of insurance status, and parents also have the opportunity to meet with Julia or Franny to talk about their children.
Counseling staff also keep families informed about resources available to them at HCHC’c Community Services Program at 9 Russell Road in Huntington, where area residents can get help with a range of things including fuel assistance or health insurance.
The Gateway School-Based Health Center offers a full range of health care to students and staff at school. It is available to be your child’s primary care provider; to give immunizations and physicals; treat earaches, sore throats, asthma, and playground mishaps; and to address most of your child’s health care needs and a Nutritionist is available on Wednesdays.
Gator Grins, the school-based dental program, provides comprehensive dental exams, x-rays, dental cleanings, fluoride varnishes, dental sealants, amalgam fillings, (silver fillings) composite fillings, (white fillings) and emergency dental care. Enrollment forms are sent home at the beginning of the school year, but parents/guardians can also get them by calling (413) 667-0142, or 667-3009 Ext: 239, you may stop by the Gateway School Based Health Center (located across from the security booth at the main complex); or access them online at www.hchcweb.org/sbhc. They are also available at both Hilltown Community Health center sites in Huntington and Worthington, and located on the Gateway Regional School District website under “quick links”.
Photo (left to right): Franny Huberman and Julia Goncalves, new Counselors at the Gateway School-Based Health Center who are available to work with students and families on a range of issues.