• Student Assistance Programs & Services
    "On your worst day you could be a student's best hope"
    The purpose of the Student Service Program in the Erie School District is to help identify barriers to learning so students can become more successful in school.  The interventions utilized to accomplish this goal include:

    Student Assistance Team
    The Student Assistance Team is charged with identifying student strengths and needs, and working with the child and family to identify and access the necessary supports that will help each referred child to become more successful in school.

    Student Assistance Program Mental Health Services
    The Mental Health Specialists are available to consult with students referred through the Student Assistance Team and facilitate referrals to community agencies when appropriate.

    Specific Services offered by SAP Mental Health Specialists:
    • Consultation to Student Assistance Teams
    • Mental Health Assessments with referred students (K – 12)
    • Behavioral Assessments
    • Crisis Assessments and Consultation
    • Critical Incident Response
    • Short-term counseling
    • Situational intervention and mediation services
    • Direct referrals for county funded mental health services
    • Referrals to community agencies
    • After-care and transition support services
    • Consultation with school staff and administrators
    • Consultation regarding social skills training and other school-based intervention and prevention programs
    • In-services/presentations to school staff and students
    • Participate in Child Family Teams of the Erie County Wrap-around Initiative
    • Group facilitation including:  Anger management, stress management, grief and loss, relationships/communication, problem solving, social skills and transition.

    All Student Assistance Mental Health Services are confidential, voluntary and free of charge.

    Homeless Students Initiative Program
    The Homeless Students Initiative Program (HSP) was developed to help eliminate barriers to homeless children’s right to an education.  HSP strives to maintain a consistent education experience for children in a homeless situation.  The three (3) components of the program are:  transportation, academic support, and advocacy. There is a homeless liaison that is responsible for insuring that homeless children are not inappropriately being denied entry to school or school-sponsored programs/activities. Presentations regarding student homelessness are available to school staff and the community. To learn more, about this program, click here.

    Alternative Education
    The Alternative Education Program is designed to provide for the behavioral, emotional, and educational needs of the disruptive student in a school setting.  Through the use of small group Academic instruction, Technology Enhancement, Mentorship, and Life Skills Counseling, each student’s most serious behavioral and academic needs will be addressed.

    Incarcerated Youth Program
    This program was designed to meet the requirements of Section 1306.2 of Act 30 (amended Public School Code, 1997).  This section defines the minimum level of education that must be provided to school age individuals incarcerated in adult local correction institutions.  The Erie County Prison is located within the boundaries of the Erie School District, thereby making the education of school-age inmates its responsibility.

    This program:
    Permits students to make normal academic progress.
    Permits students to achieve requirements for graduation
    Operates five days per week.
    Offers instruction in at least four of the following curricular areas:  Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Skills, Health or Life Skills.
    Complies fully with the requirements of the IDEA Reauthorization of 1997 and Chapters 14 and 342 regarding the identification, evaluation, placement and provision of special education services to all eligible school-aged inmates.
    Implements, reviews and/or develops Individualized Education Programs including compliance with procedural safeguards.
    Provides FAPE in conformity with the IEP.

    Peer Mediation/Conflict Resolution
    Peer mediation/conflict resolution is a process to reduce the violence in schools by utilizing alternative methods of problem-solving and exploring ways that people can de-escalate a situation as opposed to escalating it.  This includes training students and staff in the concepts of conflict resolution and the development of peer mediation teams. Through conflict resolution training, students explore non-violent options.  In addition, peer mediation allows students an opportunity to resolve their conflict through a non-violent process and save face among their friends.  It is a process that consistently has an 85% to 95% success rate.

    Pennsylvania State Law on Bullying/Harassment 
    Below is the Bullying Policy enforced by Erie's Public Schools. It also serves as a Pennsylvania State Law. 
    Bullying - Intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, or a series of acts:
    1. directed at another student or students;
    2. which occurs in a school setting;
    3. that is severe, persistent or pervasive; and
    4. that has the effect of doing any of the following;
      1. substantially interfering with a student's education; or
      2. creating a threatening environment for any specific student or groups of students; or
      3. substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
    "School setting" shall mean in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school. Bullying is prohibited in the school setting. Bullying may also rise to the level of "Harassment."

Mental Health Specialists 2023-2024

  • Scherry Prater, Director of Student Services, 874-6029

    Patti Palotas, MH Clinical Team Leader, 874-6322

Mental Health Specialists 2019-2020