• April 16, 2021

    Dear RCSD Community,

    As part of the District’s COVID Recovery Plan, we are committed to providing increased mental health support in our schools. As discussed at the April 6 Board of Education meeting, we are partnering with Effective School Solutions (ESS) in this important work. Beginning on the dates below next week, we will have the following clinicians working in the schools:

    • 4/19 All three elementary schools:  Andrea Meranda
    • 4/20 High School:  Erika Richardson
      • Erika Richardson is a Licensed Master Social Worker.  She has an MS in Social Work from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a BA from Manhattanville College.  Most recently, she has worked as a school social worker at Easterseals Child Development Center in Bronx, NY.  Erika has experience as a therapist and has collaborated to provide classroom supports and interventions.  In addition, Erika is fluent in Spanish. 
    • 4/21 Middle School:  Corina Manders
      • Corina Manders is a Licensed Master Social Worker.  In addition to her licensure in New York, she also is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Florida.  Corina has experience as a clinical supervisor providing individual, family, and group counseling to children at families at the Mid-Fairfield Child Guidance Center. She has experience as a counselor and social worker providing case management to students. Corina has a BA in Community Studies from the University of California and received her MS in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

    In addition to providing support in the schools, our ESS partners will be providing Parent Universities. These workshops will be provided by Elizabeth F. Cotter, M.S., L.P.C., a licensed professional counselor with over 15 years of comprehensive clinical experience specializing in work with women, children, and families. Elizabeth works in public and private schools, private practice, and non-profit agencies as a therapist, group facilitator, professional development presenter, and in clinical leadership roles. She holds certifications as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer and as a Trainer in the Nurtured Heart Approach. Additionally, Elizabeth is an adjunct professor of psychology at Naugatuck Valley Community College. She is planning to hold the following workshops for the RCSD community. Information on registration and links to attend will be disseminated closer to the events: 

    1. Destigmatizing Mental Health (April 21, 2021, at 10 am and 6 pm)

    This workshop helps parents and caregivers have a better understanding of what mental health wellness means in a child: the signs and symptoms that can make a child appear “fragile,” or aggressive or withdrawn, as well as specific techniques for helping that child be more successful. 

    2. Recognizing and Responding to Your Child’s Distress: A Guide for Seeking Help (May 19, 2021, at 10 am and 6 pm)

    Traditionally, referrals to school support services have relied on the eyes and ears of a multi-disciplinary team of educators. Unfortunately, because of blended and distance learning environments, student mental health struggles may not be as obvious as they once were. In this presentation, participants will learn to identify and respond to the critical warning signs that students may display in distance learning environments during a pandemic.

    3. Caring for the Caregiver (June 16, 2021, at 10 am and 6 pm)

    Caring for a loved one can be a strain on even the most resilient people. This workshop assists caregivers in identifying signs and symptoms of caregiver stress, as well as teaching steps caregivers can take in order to preserve their own health and well-being. 

    4. Introduction to NHA (September 15, 2021, at 10 am and 6 pm) 

    The Nurtured Heart Approach® is a relationship-focused methodology founded strategically in the 3 Stands™, which helps children and adults build their Inner Wealth™ and use their intensity in successful ways. It has become a powerful way of awakening the inherent greatness in all children while also facilitating parenting success. 

    We look forward to our partnership with Effective School Solutions and to the additional support that they will be providing to the RCSD community.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


    Erin Vredenburgh, Ed.D.

    Director of Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education


    914-967-6100, ext. 1981