departmentPaterson Public Schools

Department of Student Assistance

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  • Our
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  • Staff Forms

  • SAC Policy
    and Procedures
  • Contact Us

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


Policy and Protocols

Student may be referred for SAC intervention services both in person and while remote learning. 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.

Additionally, all SAC Department referrals should be submitted electronically, whether the district is operating in person or virtual.

1) Refer a student for substance use and/or possession

• In-person substance referrals require school nurses to fill out vital signs. If you are a PPS nurse, please fill out the Vital Sign Records form.

• If we are remote, this step cannot be completed and should be skipped.


2) Refer a student for counseling services OR vaping intervention (students not currently under the influence)


Crisis Links

1. Suicide Questionnaire Google Form

2. Crisis Packet Google Form

3. Crisis Resources


Additional Resources

pdfVaping Reference Sheet

pdfImmedicenter Flyer and Directions

pdfEscort Procedures

pdfSAC Procedure Flowchart

pdfP5530 - Substance Abuse Policy

pdfR5530 Substance Abuse Regulations

pdfP5533 Student Smoking



SAC Policy & Procedures


Below is access to the 2021-2022 SAC Policy and Procedures training. The training explains in detail how and when to make referrals, both in-person and remotely.

The training is 28 minutes long. Once completed, do not forget to sign-in as your attendance for this mandated training is sent to the NJDOE. It will also be required to gain a PD certificate.


1) Watch the training video:


2) Sign the Sign-In sheet for NJDOE and PD Certification


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# 7, 10, 12, MLK

Leonard Miller

PS# 13, 16, 26, Don Bosco

Bridget Smith

PS# 6, 8, 24, DHA

Kelly Anderson

PS# 18, 20, 21, 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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