School Counseling

Meet our school counselors, school psychologist, and social worker and learn about our school counseling program

Oak Hill School Counselors

a photo of school counselors
Mrs. Christy Ryder (left) will be working with students in Kindergarten, 2nd, 5th, and 6th grade. Mrs. Kimberly Gallagher will be working with students in 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th-grade advanced academics.

For the 2016-2017 year, school counselor Kimberly Gallagher will be working with kindergarten, second, fifth, and sixth-grade general education. Christy Ryder will be working with first, third, fourth, and sixth-grade advanced academics. 

What are school counselors?

School counselors are helpers in the school who work with students, parents, administrators, and teachers.  We address all students’ academic, personal/social, and career needs through a comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors have at least a master’s degree in school counseling and have been specially trained to address the developmental needs of all students.

What do school counselors do? 

School counselors talk with individual students, meet with students in small groups, teach classroom guidance lessons, hold lunch bunches, and work as a team with teachers, parents, and administrators. We also coordinate programs such as the Oakie Pal Mentoring Program, 504 Plans, Peer Mediation, and outreach programs.

How can my child meet with the counselor?

Children can request an initial visit with the counselor by using the available forms outside of the counselor’s office.  Parents, teachers, and administrators can also refer students.  Parents are invited to call and/or make an appointment to see us.  We are happy to discuss resources and services that may help children and families.

Here are some reasons a student might want to come and talk to the school counselor: 

“Some kids in my class and I had a problem at recess. Can you help us work it out?”  “I would like to get better grades on my report card and I am not sure where to start.”  “A student is being unkind to me at the bus stop. Can you help me?”

Here are some reasons a parent might refer their child to the school counselor: 

“My child doesn't want to go to school in the morning."  "My daughter is having trouble staying organized at home and at school."  "I am about to get remarried and my child has been having difficulty adjusting to the change."

Here are some reasons teachers or administrators might refer a child to the school counselor: 

"A student in my class is absent a lot."  "A particular student is new to our school and it might be helpful for him to have lunch with you and some new friends."  "I've noticed my student seems distracted and anxious lately."  "One of my students is consistently turning in homework late or not at all and I am concerned about her study skills.”

Meet Our School Counselors! 

    School Psychology Services

    School psychologists are mental health specialists with knowledge of child development, the psychology of learning, behavior management and intervention, monitoring the progress of students, and program evaluation. School psychologists apply this knowledge using a problem-solving approach to help bring about positive changes in the learning environment, attitude, and motivation. Services offered by the school psychologist may be provided directly to the student or indirectly by working with teachers, parents, and other care givers; however, all services provided by the school psychologist are intended to enhance the academic and social emotional success of students. Minimum requirements to be a school psychologist include a 60-hour master's degree program and a one-year full-time internship; many FCPS school psychologists hold doctoral degrees.

    Our School Psychologist

    Ginny Phinney, vgphinney@fcps.edu

    Social Work and Support Services

    School social workers focus on family and community factors that influence learning. They provide intensive services for students facing issues that pose risks to their academic success such as parent divorce and separation, poverty, truancy, chronic illness, mental health problems, conduct problems, child abuse, etc.

    All FCPS social workers hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) or Master of Social Science (MSS) degree; many have earned a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) degree. All school social workers are licensed by the Virginia Department of Education. The majority of the staff is clinically licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Social Work (LCSW) or in other jurisdictions and trained to provide mental health services in any setting.

    Our School Social Worker

    Cammy McCleskey, clmccleskey@fcps.edu