Posted Date: 02/02/2021
What is the Student Support Team?
The Student Support Team is a collaborative group dedicated to identifying and supporting students who exhibit academic or behavioral problems. The team provides preventative assistance to students and connects them with appropriate interventions and supports. The Student Support Team advocates and protects the rights of the individual student in a variety of ways, including consulting with teachers, connecting with parents, intervention plans and providing short term counseling services. When a student is in need for long term therapeutic intervention, the Student Support team works with the parents to refer their child to the proper outside agency.
OSD Superintendent Chris Dvorak states, “In almost every public school, school counselors are used to manage the state tests. It dominates their time, and it's so sad. Here at OSD, we've allowed Tina and Lena to focus primarily on our kids' social-emotional development like counselors should! We have a counseling program here at OSD that other schools should find a way to emulate. I'm extremely proud of these ladies and the Student Support Team that works alongside them.”
Who makes up the Student Support Team and what are their roles on campus?
Tina Vercelli: School Counselor
Tina was first inspired by her own high school counselor to go into the profession. Her school counselor worked closely with her, guiding her and advocating for her during those difficult teenage years. After a 20 year detour as a visual arts teacher in public schools, Tina returned to what first motivated her to work with students: a desire to help them succeed by providing lessons for navigating life. Working at OSD has given her the opportunity to inspire her students to reach their full potential.
Lena Mosely: School Counselor
Lena has been at OSD since January 2020. She has always had a passion to work with children. She was a victim/child advocate for many years. She has the desire to help children see their potential and remind them to never give up. She is excited to be a part of the OSD family.
Anna McEndree: School Psychologist
This is Anna’s third year at OSD. Previously, she worked for Tulsa Public Schools in School Psychology. In addition to providing educational testing for the school, Anna is a Licensed Professional Counselor and provides short term counseling on campus for students with emotional needs. Partnering with both School Counselors, Anna also works with connecting agencies for counseling services to aid families off campus as well. Being at OSD has given Anna many opportunities and adventures and she looks forward to many more years!
James Higgins: Student Support
James graduated from OSD and worked as a houseparent a few years later. He was then promoted to supervisor in the dorms. He has also worked as an In School Suspension Supervisor as well as an assistant coach for basketball and track. James has been around the kids half of his life as he has worked for OSD almost 25 years. “The kids and I have a bond, mutual understanding, and open communication. The kids feel comfortable expressing their feelings and their emotions with me. OSD is like home to them where they can be themselves in general, socially, in sports, and school. I am a former OSD student and I totally understand how students feel and now I am an employee of OSD. OSD is my second home.”.
Va’Lecia Penney: Student Life Educator
Va’Lecia graduated from OSD in 2016 then attended ECU to earn her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She worked at OSD as a Student Life Staff member in the dorms and was later promoted to Student Life Educator. “I have experienced the dorm life from attending OSD and as a result, I am able to connect with the students and build stronger relationships with them.” She enjoys working with the students and being a part of their everyday lives.
Caitlin Potter: School Social Worker
Cait has been serving students at OSD through social work services for over 5 years. She strives to be a “safe haven” for all students, providing minor counseling when needed, and a place where students can cry, vent, share their physical and emotional needs, or even just a safe place to sit in silence to gather themselves while dealing with the many emotions of adolescence. To Cait, being a part of the Student Support Team means being proactive rather than reactive in her support of students, which is the historical core idea behind the social work profession.
We are so thankful to have our Student Support Team here at OSD.
They do great things for our students and staff!