Student Support Services

Teacher supporting students in class.

Contact Us

Giselle M. Rojas MSW,
Director of Student Support Services

Phone: (413) 534-2000, Extension 1204
Cell: (860) 375-4382

Send Giselle Rojas an Email

Informational Videos

Comprehensive Counseling Programs

The Department oversees the kindergarten to grade 12th counseling program that provides all students with:

  • Responsive Services – Individual counseling sessions, parent consultations regarding individual student needs, coordination with outside referral sources.

  • Individual Planning – Academic and career guidance, parent and student consultation regarding planning and goal-setting, interpretation and analysis of assessment instruments.

  • System Support – Community outreach, parent education programs, teacher consultation, school improvement planning.

  • The planning and implementation of the Massachusetts Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs (MA Model), New Initiative for Pre K – 12.

Social & Emotional Learning Programs

Holyoke Public Schools is committed to providing students with the tools that will help them fulfill their potential and be successful in their post-secondary lives. Part of this effort involves providing direct instruction that fosters the development of social-emotional skills that enable students to face academic and personal challenges in a positive, constructive and successful manner. One of the social-emotional learning strategies we have implemented for the past two years consists of an emotional learning curriculum that students receive through morning meetings, enrichment periods and freshman seminars.

In grades K-9, HPS utilizes the TRAILS Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, which provides developmentally appropriate, brief lessons that focus on student safety, health, and wellness. Research shows that implementation of SEL is associated with increases in students’ academic achievement, test scores, self-regulation skills, and overall wellness; and decreases in classroom behavior problems. SEL also helps prevent student stress, depression, and anxiety.

The TRAILS SEL lessons cover the 5 SEL Competencies identified by the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) which are:

  • Self-Awareness

  • Self-Management

  • Responsible Decision-making

  • Relationship Skills

  • Social Awareness 

TRAILS SEL is also grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Mindfulness— two gold-standard, evidence-based approaches to promoting mental health, so that students learn skills that will help them not only while they are in school, but also for the rest of their lives.

Additionally, SEL is explicitly taught to preschool students as a part of the preschool curriculum, Three Cheers for PreK. 

Mentoring for Middle School Students

Holyoke Public Schools has established a mentoring program for its middle school students at Holyoke STEM Academy, Metcalf and Sullivan schools to help them prepare for the transition to high school in the fall. Now in its second year, the HPS mentoring program is one of a variety of ways students are supported through their middle school years. 

The HPS mentoring program aims to create a supportive environment where students can benefit from the guidance of dedicated mentors, fostering trusting relationships that contribute to their transition into high school.

Mentors are esteemed school community members who are committed to providing invaluable student support. Through weekly meetings, mentors and their mentees delve into discussions on topics of mutual interest, creating a space for shared experiences and meaningful connections.

Student participation in the mentoring program is entirely voluntary and requires the consent of parents or guardians. HPS believes that this initiative not only enhances academic preparedness but also nurtures personal growth, resilience, and a sense of belonging.

How the mentorship program works:

  • Students are paired with a mentor who is an HPS or City of Holyoke employee.

  • Students meet with their mentors every week during lunch for fun, inspiring chats. What participants talk about is up to them to decide.

  • Mentors help students prepare for the transition from middle school to high school.

What is a mentor?

In general, a mentor is someone who offers guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling. Under this program, HPS mentors help participating students understand what high school will be like and what they will need to know and do to have the best high school experiences.

Section 504

Section 504/ADA policy is implemented consistent with Section 504 procedures. All Section 504 data (504 plans, lists of eligible students, discipline records) is collected and maintained for future reference.  The district’s 504 Coordinator is Giselle Rojas. Send Giselle Rojas an Email or call her at (413) 534-2000, Extension 1204.  View your rights under section 504 (PDF) (en Español) (PDF).

Bullying Prevention and Intervention

The Department oversees the district’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Implementation Plan (PDF), En Español (PDF) and collects all relevant information regarding the reporting and investigations of incidents.