Counseling & Student Support

School counselors support the educational, social-emotional and personal growth of all students through individual conferences, small-group sessions and classroom instruction. They are an integral part of the staff at all schools, where they monitor and promote student potential from the time students enroll through graduation. School counselors:

  • Help with new-student orientation
  • Conduct classroom sessions in educational and career decision-making, interpersonal skills, and personal and academic growth
  • Assist students and their families with a broad range of needs related to education
    • emotional, developmental and interpersonal needs
    • social and learning skills
    • post-secondary education planning and scholarships
    • class schedule planning
    • graduation and testing information
  • Provide support with crises and problem situations
  • Coordinate with community services agencies

Student Support Programs

All students benefit from having a positive, trusting relationship with at least one adult in the school. Some may experience personal, social, emotional and/or behavioral issues that impede educational success. Student Support Teachers work with students to improve academic work habits and make positive choices. Parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, the student and Student Support Teacher work together to determine academic and behavioral goals and create a clear, consistent plan for achieving them. For more information, contact the Student Services Office of Counseling and Student Support.

School Therapists

School therapists are located at Heather Ridge School and the Pyramid program. Their primary responsibility is to provide group, individual and family counseling and intervention services for students with emotional disabilities or conduct disorders. School therapists also coordinate services provided by the school system and community agencies.


Janet Shipman
Supervisor of Behavioral Health and Student Services
(301) 644-5220

Ryan Defibaugh
Coordinator of School Counseling

(301) 644-5301

Debbie Foreman
Student Services Associate

(301) 644-5239

Contact your school counselor through the main office at your child's school.


Sexual Assault and Harassment brochure

Suicide Prevention: Helping Those Who Hurt brochure