departmentPaterson Public Schools

Department of Student Assistance

  • Welcome
  • Core Beliefs
  • Our Responsibilities
  • Student Referrals
  • Staff Forms
  • 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.

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# 9, 10, 12, 13, 18, 20, MLK, Dr. Hani

Leonard Miller

PS# 7, 8, 15, 16, 24, 25, 26, NRC, Don Bosco

Harold Persaud

HARP, PANTHER, Rosa Parks HS, GFA, International HS, Garrett Morgan

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 contact the SAC Department Supervisor, Ms. Laurel Olson, at 973-321-0694

PS# 1

PS# 21

Norman S. Weir

PS# 2

PS# 27

Roberto Clemente

PS# 3

PS# 28

STARS Academy

PS# 4 (Dr. Frank Napier)

PS# 29

Urban Leadership Academy

PS# 5

Alexander Hamilton Academy

Young Men’s Leadership Acad.

PS# 6

Dale Ave

G&T Program @ PS# 28

PS# 14

Early Learning Center


PS# 19




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