Welcome to the Safe and Drug Free School Program website! Below, you will learn about the program, services provided, and resources available. We encourage you to explore our program handbook for more details on how to participate and get involved in these programs!
What is social-emotional learning?
Social-emotional learning is the process of gaining knowledge and skills to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Research demonstrates that students who receive support for social and emotional learning in schools reach higher academic, social, and behavioral achievements. Social-emotional learning has also been shown to positively impact economic and mental health outcomes. Developing these skills is an important part of meeting the needs of the whole child.
The Safe and Drug Free School Program was created to provide comprehensive mental health services and social-emotional learning throughout the New Richmond Exempted Village School District. The program is funded by the Student Wellness and Success funds provided by the state to reduce stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders and to provide crisis support for families. A portion of the program is also funded by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men (CYEM) Program and other funds through United Way and the Coalition for a Drug Free Clermont County. The Student Wellness and Success Staff have been selected by The Counseling Source, a Cincinnati based and therapist owned mental health agency, and the YWCA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism and social injustice, empowering women, helping families, and strengthening communities. Program efforts began in January of 2020 in response to the Ohio State Board of Education social-emotional learning K-12 standards which were adopted in June of 2019.
Research demonstrates that when children and families are in crisis or using substances, students can experience negative impacts at home and at school which can reduce outcomes later in life. Children and families in crisis are served at each building level with a crisis counselor or mental health therapist who can provide acute counseling support or long-term therapeutic counseling. In addition, substance abuse counseling and support is available throughout the district with prevention education and intervention opportunities. The Safe and Drug Free School Program includes district wide committees and programs, mental health and behavioral health services, social-emotional learning curriculums, peer counseling programs, punitive and caring interventions, parent education, support groups, and prevention education for students and school staff regarding bullying, child abuse, dating violence, and suicide. Due to COVID-19, services are available in-person and virtually with remote learning platforms to serve and protect all staff, students, and families.
For more information please contact the Safe and Drug Free School Coordinator, a member of the Student Wellness and Success Staff, or your building’s principal or counselor.
Your district's Student Wellness and Success Staff:
Jessica M. McDermott, MA, LPC, LCDC III
Jessica graduated from Lebanon High School, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University, and earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Xavier University. She is a licensed professional counselor working towards independent licensure with a chemical dependency license. She has experience working with adults and adolescents who suffer from substance use disorders, severe and persistent mental health illnesses, eating disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders. As a typical pisces, love and hope inspire her. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, chasing her puppies around, watching Netflix, reading, exercising, painting, and creating or learning something new.
Devynne Eldridge, BA
Devynne graduated from Jackson High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Ohio University in May 2019. Devynne focused on violence against women, reproductive health, and LGBTQIA+ issues. Devynne was the Vice President of Ambassadors to the Survivor Advocacy Program, where she spread sexual assault awareness and trained student groups on empathic response, and helped to design and open the Start by Believing Campaign, where she worked for justice for sexual assault survivors. Devynne taught sexual assault, teen dating violence prevention, media literacy, healthy relationships, and sexual education to middle and high school students. In her free time, Devynne studies astrology, planetary trends, and feminist theory. She loves to write, exercise, spend time with her friends and family, listen to music, and bake cookies.
Susan Gurski, MSW, LISW-S
Susan graduated from Anna High School, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Wright State University, and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work at Ohio State University. She is a licensed independent social worker with a supervision designation. She is married and has two daughters and two cats. Susan has been a social worker for over 30 years. She loves to read and listen to music. Her favorite article is “Cipher in the Snow” by Jean Mitzer and her favorite author is Lisa Wingate. Her favorite a cappella group is Pentatonix, whose singer is a relative of her brother-in-law.
Kathy Jakucki, MA, LPCC
Kathy is originally from New Jersey and has lived in Ohio since 2010. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Cedarville University and obtained a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. She is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in crisis and trauma. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults. Kathy has worked in community mental health, psychiatric hospital, and federal and state court settings. She is also on the Community Advisory Board for the counseling program at the University of Cincinnati. Kathy enjoys spending time outdoors doing various activities such as paddle boarding, hiking, cycling, and playing sports. She also has a floppy-eared bunny named Charlie who she loves to spend time with!
Bethany Puliafico, MS, LPC
Bethany graduated from Batavia High School in 2010 and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a certification in Drug Counseling and a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati in 2014. Bethany earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2019 from Northern Kentucky University. Bethany has a background working with children who have experienced trauma and witnessed drug abuse. Bethany has worked for the district since 2014 and enjoys working closely with the students and families of the New Richmond community.