Student Support Team

Student Support Matters underneath an image of a tree

 

Meet the Team

Tina Spagnoletti, Guidance Counselor

Mrs. Spagnoletti started at BCS in 1999. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in School Counseling from Central Connecticut
State College. She has three children. She can be reached at tspagnoletti@bethany-ed.org or (203) 393-3350 x120.

Marjorie Nusom, School Psychologist

Mrs. Nusom started at BCS in 2014. She graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor's Degree in
Psychology and from Fairfield University with a Master's Degree and Certificate of Advanced Study
in School Psychology. She is married and has three children and is delighted to be a part of the BCS
community on a full-time basis. She can be reached at mnusom@bethany-ed.org or (203) 393-3350 x147.
 

Cara Bordonaro, School Psychologist

Mrs. Bordonaro started at BCS in 2016. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor's
Degree in Psychology and from Southern Connecticut State University with a Master's Degree and Sixth Year
professional diploma in School Psychology. She is married and has two young children and we are lucky
to have her at BCS on a part-time basis. She can be reached at cbordonaro@bethany-ed.org or (203) 393-3350 x148.

Jennifer Bobok, School Nurse

Mrs. Bobok started at BCS in the 2018-2019 school year. She is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Paramedic.  She can be reached at jbobok@bethany-ed.org or (203) 393-3350 x615.

Services

Small Group

Small group counseling allows children with similar needs to meet and interact.
Through group counseling, children develop positive coping skills which help
foster school adjustment. Group topics include:

  • New Kids
  • Friendship/Social Skills
  • Divorce/Restructured Families
  • Self-esteem
  • Stress Management
  • Organization Skills

Individual

The counselor and/or school psychologist meets with individual students as needed,
either on a short or long-term basis. Teachers, parents, or students may initiate referrals.
Topics include:

  • Grief and Loss
  • Friendship issues
  • Anger/Stress Management
  • Family changes

Parent Concerns

The counselor and/or school psychologist is available to ALL parents as an
ongoing support. Services include:

  • Informal conferences
  • Parent/teacher/counselor/school psychologist conferences
  • Parenting strategies

Classroom

The school counselor and/or school psychologist support developmentally appropriate
classroom lessons in all grades, including the Second Step Program. Topics include:

  • Skills for Learning
  • Empathy
  • Emotional Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Bullying Prevention
  • Student Success Plans via Naviance

Helpful Links & Resources

Helpful Links

Kids Health has a wealth of information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years for parents, kids, teens and educators.

The Committee for Children website has information regarding Bethany Community School's social-emotional curriculum (i.e., Second Step, Bullying prevention).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Positive Parenting Parenting Tips

Kids Mental Health Informational Portal provides general information on children's mental health and social/cognitive development.

Stress in Children and Adolescents: Tips for Parents

What is Stress? Everyone is affected by stress and reacts to it in different ways. Stress is a way our body responds to the demands made upon us by the environment, our relationships and our perceptions and interpretations of those demands. We all experience both “good stress” and “bad stress”. Good stress is the optimal amount of stress that results in us feeling energized and motivated to do our best work. Good stress encourages us to develop effective coping strategies to deal with our challenges, which ultimately contributes to our resilience. Bad stress occurs when our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the stress and we do not function at our best. The same event can affect children and adults in very individual ways – one person may see a carnival ride as thrilling and another may see it as a major stressor. Stress can become distress when we are unable to cope or when we believe that we do not have the ability to meet the challenge. The solution is to adapt, change, and find methods to turn that bad stress into good stress.

Causes of Stress

  • At School. Stress can come from an unstructured classroom, unclear or unreasonable expectations, or fear of failure.
  • At Home. Stress can occur through a lack of family routines, over-scheduling, prolonged or serious illness, poor nutrition, change in the family situation, financial problems, family strife or abuse, or unclear or unreasonable expectations.
  • Peer-related. Stress can be a result of changing school buildings, having to deal with a bully, fitting in with the crowd, or moving to a new community.

Stress tend to be additive in nature and with children can easily result in inappropriate behaviors, academic difficulties, or health problems. Parents can usually look back over recent events and see the causes of the behavior through the building of stressful situations.

Symptoms of Stress in Children

  • Irritability or unusual emotionality or volatility.
  • Sleep difficulty or nightmares.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Drop in grades or other functioning.
  • Toileting or eating concerns.
  • Headaches or stomachaches.
  • Unexplained fears or increase anxiety.
  • Regression to earlier developmental levels.
  • Isolation from family activities or peer relationships.
  • Drug or alcohol experimentation.

Factors that prevent stress

  • Positive problem solving and coping skills.
  • Close, supportive relationships at home and school, with peers and adults.
  • Clear expectations.
  • Permission and ability to learn from mistakes.
  • Developing competencies (academic, social, extracurricular, and life-skills)
  • Consistent, positive discipline.
  • Ability to express feelings appropriately.
  • Feeling physically and emotionally safe.
  • Good nutrition and exercise.
  • Time to relax or do recreational activities.

How Parents Can Help

  • Be aware of your child’s behavior and emotions.
  • Build trust with your child.
  • Be available to talk with your child when they are ready.
  • Encourage the expression of feelings.
  • Teach and model good emotional responses.
  • Encourage them to tell you if they feel overwhelmed.
  • Encourage healthy and diverse friendships.
  • Encourage physical activity, good nutrition, and rest.
  • Teach your child to problem solve.
  • Remind your child of his or her ability to get through tough times, particularly with the love and support of family and friends.
  • Keep your child aware of anticipated family changes.
  • Monitor television programs that would worry your child and pay attention to the use of the computer games, movies, and internet.
  • Use encouragement and natural consequences when poor decisions are made.
  • Help your child select appropriate extracurricular activities and limit over-scheduling.
  • Make your child aware of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol before experimentation begins.
  • Monitor your own stress level. Take care of yourself.
  • Contact your child’s teacher with any concerns and make them part of the team available to assist your child.
  • Seek the assistance of a physician, school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker if stress continues to be a concern.

Adapted from: “Stress in Children and Adolescents,” Ellis P. Copeland, Helping Children at home and School III: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP 2010.