departmentPaterson Public Schools

Department of Student Assistance

  • Welcome

  • Core Beliefs

  • Our
  • Student
  • Staff Forms

  • SAC Policy
    and Procedures
  • Contact Us


Paterson Public School Counselors and Student Assistance Coordinators (SAC Counselors) are available to connect with students via Google Classroom, Google Hangouts & Google Meet. School counselors will be checking their emails periodically from home, please email your counselor to schedule an appointment. Students and parents may email the school counselor directly to find a mutually agreed upon date and time.
Students can also complete the following link Talk To My Counselor to request a meeting with their counselor.
Requests will be monitored daily, emails and inquiries received after school hours will be answered during the next business day.

Complete listing of School Counselors

Complete list of SAC Counselors


Children’s Mobile Response Unit, through PerformCare (877-652-7624) remains available 24/7 to assist any family/legal guardian having concerns (behavioral/mental health) with youth (ages 3-21). To visit their website, click here:


If you or someone you know is in crisis and require immediate assistance, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Limitations & Benefits of Virtual Counseling


Core Beliefs

The Paterson Public Schools’ Student Assistance Department believes in helping our students maximize potential by providing crisis and drug prevention, intervention, education, counseling, staff training, mental health and other treatment referrals. Through the provision of these services, we believe we can improve student wellness and academic achievement, thereby preparing all children for college and careers.


The philosophy of the Student Assistance Department is to educate the whole student emotionally, socially and academically.  We aim to customize our approach by valuing students as individuals and using proven research-based programs.


  • Alcohol Awareness Month
  • Children of Alcoholics Week
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Great American Smoke-Out
  • Kick Butts Day
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • National Inhalant and Poisons Prevention Week
  • National Suicide Awareness Week
  • No-Name Calling Week
  • Red Ribbon Week
  • School Violence Awareness Week (NJSA 18A: 36 – 51)
  • World AIDS Day


Paterson Public School District employs 13 Student Assistance Coordinators who provide expertise in the following areas regarding substance abuse and related issues:

  • Aftercare
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
  • Anger Management
  • Bias and Cultural Awareness
  • Bullying/Cyber Bullying
  • Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Community Resources
  • Dating Violence/Relationship Issues
  • Depression/Mental Health Awareness
  • Divorce in the Family
  • Domestic Violence
  • Eating Disorders
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Gang & Violence Prevention
  • Gambling
  • Gender/Sexuality
  • Grief and Loss
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Inhalants and Poisons
  • Internet Safety
  • Juvenile Fire-Setting
  • Legal Implications of Substance Use and Abuse
  • Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse 
  • Runaway
  • Science and Treatment of Addictions
  • Self-Esteem
  • Self-Injury
  • Suicide

Student Referrals/Student Drug Testing

A student may request services on his/her own or be referred by a teacher, any other staff member or by his/her parent. There is a referral form that can be obtained from the building Student Assistance Coordinator. Once a student is referred, a careful assessment of his/her needs is performed and recommendations made to the student and parent.

If a student is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol/drugs or is in possession of a substance believed to be a controlled dangerous substance, the student must have a medical examination/drug screening and breathalyzer test. Failure to comply with the policy, receiving a positive diagnosis, being in possession of a controlled dangerous substance/alcohol/paraphernalia/counterfeit controlled substance, failing to comply with the testing procedures or tampering with the specimen will be considered an automatic positive offense and require an immediate assessment/evaluation by a licensed clinician before the student returns to school N.J.S.A. 18A: 40A-12; N.J.A.C. 6A: 16-4.1(c)2. The licensed clinician will recommend a treatment plan for the student to follow and the parent to approve if required.

The referral process is not a disciplinary one but rather a means to identify at-risk students in order to provide them with the appropriate services.


All Paterson Public School Student Assistance Coordinators are well versed in federal confidentiality law (42 CFR-Part 2) and both they and the school respect a student’s and their families’ right to privacy at all times.

Staff Forms


Virtual Protocols

Student may still be referred for SAC intervention services while remote. Please choose one of the forms below and fill out the required sections. Once submitted, a district SAC will reach out to the student and family regarding the referral.

NOTE: There is no reason for a PPS staff member to reach out to the student/family to advise of their referral. This will be handled by the SAC Department. The only item required is the submission of the chosen referral form below.

1) Refer for substance abuse suspicion/possession

2) Refer for counseling services (students not currently under the influence)


Virtual Crisis

1. Suicide Questionnaire Google Form

2. Crisis Packet Google Form

3. Crisis Resources


Additional Resources

pdfVaping Identification and Procedures

pdfGeographic Location Immedicenter Chart

pdfDirections to Immedicenter

pdfEscort Procedures

pdfSAC Procedure Flowchart

pdfP5530 - Substance Abuse Policy

pdfR5530 Substance Abuse Regulations

pdfP5533 Student Smoking



SAC Policy & Procedures


Below is access to the 2020-2021 SAC Policy and Procedures training. The training explains in detail how and when to make referrals, both in-person and virtually.

The training is 25 minutes long. Once completed, do not forget to sign-in as your attendance for this mandated training is sent to the NJDOE.


1) Watch the training


2) Read the training document

3) Sign-in sheet for training

Contact Us


Laurel Olson

90 Delaware Ave.
Paterson, NJ 07503
(973) 321-0694
FAX (973) 321-0394

The Student Assistance Department is a student support service offered by the Paterson Public Schools. The Substance Awareness Department is comprised of five certified Student Assistance Coordinators who provide drug and alcohol education, as well as prevention and intervention strategies. The department believes in helping our students maximize potential by providing crisis and drug prevention, intervention education, counseling, staff training, mental health and treatment referrals. Through the provision of these services, we believe we can improve student wellness and academic achievement, thereby preparing all children for college and careers

Contact Student Assistance Coordinators




Gina Johnson

PS# 10, 12, 18, 20, MLK

Leonard Miller

PS# 6, 8, 24, 26, DBTA, NRC

Deborah Pohl

HARP, PANTHER, Rosa Parks HS, Al Moody Academy, International HS, Garrett Morgan Academy

Stephanie Roberts

Eastside Campus

Ani Silvani

John F Kennedy Campus

Should you be located in a school needing SAC intervention which is not listed as being covered by the staff above, please email


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