mental health services
What are mental health services?
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Office of Student Services offers multiple programs designed to meet the mental health needs of Montgomery County School Districts. Services include but are not limited to:
- Psychological, Social Work and Counseling Services
- School Attendance Improvement Program
- OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program
- Crisis Response Team
- Digital Assessment Library
- Mental Health Professional Development
- ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program)
Social Work Services
MCIU social workers are clinically licensed and certified as home and school visitors. Social workers are contracted to work with building or district administrators to provide support and help school stakeholders access community resources. MCIU social workers can assist schools with truancy elimination plans (TEP) and help secondary special education teachers regarding transition plans to effectively transfer from child services to adult systems and/or case management services I.e., mental health services, health benefits, etc.).
MCIU social workers are also available to run counseling groups, including social skills groups or other specialized groups, and MCIU social workers are certified OLWEUS trainers who can consult with schools to implement bullying prevention programs.
Counseling & Therapeutic Support Services
MCIU Mental Health Staff are available to provide therapeutic support virtually and/or on site. MCIU school counselors, school psychologists and social workers are available to assist Montgomery County Schools with suicide assessment, threat assessment, counseling services and/or crisis intervention.
Bi-Lingual Psychological Evaluation
At the school’s request, a bilingual evaluation will be conducted in Spanish and a report will be provided to the school.
MCIU interagency coordinators facilitate collaboration between schools, parents, students and agencies to coordinate the case for students who have complex needs. MCIU coordinates the interagency meeting that include families, schools, Office of Children and Youth, Mental Health service providers, medical professionals, etc. All individuals, services, and systems involved with a family are brought together for the interagency meeting to develop a plan with coordination of care.
School Attendance Improvement Program (SAIP) – Evaluation
The Student Attendance Improvement Program (SAIP) is a comprehensive school and home-based assessment and treatment plan for students who present with school refusal behavior and related mental health challenges. This program will provide a comprehensive evaluation by a team of evaluators including a licensed psychologist, behavior specialist (BCBA), and social worker. A treatment plan based on evidence-based, best practices and evaluation results will be developed.
School Attendance Improvement Program (SAIP) – Mental Health Services
Ongoing support from a mental health clinician is provided to the student, their families, and their school team for contingency management and progress monitoring with the ultimate goal of improving school attendance. Mental health clinician and/or social worker support is also offered to help the parents access community-based resources and implement supports for school refusal.
OLEWUS Bully Prevention Program
MCIU Mental Health Staff are certified OLWEUS Trainers-Consultants who are able to provide schools with training and consultation in implementing the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) in their schools.
BrainSTEPS is a child and adolescent brain injury school re-entry program. Trained BrainSTEPS team members work with schools to make sure that those who provide educational support to children with brain injury have a good understanding that will help these students achieve optimal educational success.
Upon request/need, MCIU will send out teams of mental health specialists to support at times of crisis. Members of the MCIU mental health crisis response team work in partnership with school personnel to provide counseling/emotional support. Intervention services include on scene crisis support, individual/small group counseling, referral to community mental health providers, grief counseling, and assistance with identifying /helping students in crisis. MCIU mental health staff are also available to conduct threat assessments and/or risk assessments/suicide screening.
Montgomery County Digital Assessment Library (DAL) Consortium
School districts that participate in the Montgomery County DAL Consortium receive unlimited use of the digital assessment library and resources on both Pearson Q-Global and Pearson Q-Interactive platforms for unlimited users.
A list of assessments currently available can be found HERE.
Mental Health Professional Development
The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit offers a variety of workshops to support professional development for those who work with students that have mental health needs. All trainings may be provided virtually.
ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program)
ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) is a sub-acute program for children and adolescents with chronic or acute mental disorders who require active treatment. The community-based program operates with a maximum of 30 students for a 10 to 20 week anticipated length of stay. The program focuses on stabilizing the student’s emotions and teaching the students acceptable behavior in order to transition back to the least restrictive environment with appropriate services in place.
Dr. Brittany Lourea-Waddell
Director of the Office of Student Services
Program Administrator of Partial Hospitalizations Programs
Dr. Aviele Koffler
Program Administrator of Mental Health Services
Dr. Aviele Koffler is a licensed psychologist, a certified school psychologist, and a supervisor of pupil personnel who has extensive experience working in mental health and educational settings. Dr. Koffler earned her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from the George Washington University and received a Ph.D. in Clinical and School psychology from Hofstra University. Prior to joining the MCIU, Dr. Koffler served as a psychologist for Rose Tree Media School District providing therapeutic services and developing programs to address emotional and behavioral needs of students. Dr. Koffler also served as a school psychologist for Colonial School District and for Upper Darby School District and is well-versed in writing comprehensive evaluation reports.
Dr. Koffler is passionate about supporting the mental health needs of students and schools. She supervises MCIU school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers who provide services for districts and non-public schools. She also oversees MCIU mental health programs including the School Attendance Improvement Program (SAIP), crisis intervention/response efforts, bullying prevention, BrainSTEPS, and mental health trainings and professional development.