Counseling Services

The goal of our counseling program is to facilitate each student’s development and growth throughout their Prep career.
To this end, the counseling program works in partnership with parents, teachers and administrators in the formation of a "well rounded person who is intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving and committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God" (Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach, SJ cited in Go Forth and Teach: The Characteristics of Jesuit Education,1986).

List of 8 items.

  • Counselor Assignments

    Students are assigned to counselors alphabetically by last name per counselor:
    • Dr. John Berna - A-D
    • Dr. Stew Barbera '86 - E-K
    • Dr. Bill Gillespie -L-P
    • Br. Bob Carson, SJ - Q-Z
  • Individual Meetings

    Counselors are available to meet with students on an individual basis. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information about a student’s academic progress, extracurricular activities, social interests and family life, and to provide support to that student. Individual appointments can be scheduled by the student or counselor. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their counselor to discuss any concerns or questions they may have and they are welcome to drop by just to talk. Parents are also invited to contact their son’s counselor with any questions or concerns they may have.
  • Programming

    The Prep makes great efforts to have qualified educational and mental health professionals on staff. Prep Counselors are experienced practitioners who work with our students individually, prioritize their emotional well-being, and make referrals for additional support services when appropriate.

    Dr. John Berna
    Ph.D. School Psychology
    Licensed Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist, Certified School Neuropsychologist
    Prep counselor since 1996
    Former Chief Psychologist, Cora Services

    Dr. Stewart Barbera
    Psy D. Clinical Psychology, MSW Social Work
    Licensed Psychologist
    Prep counselor since 1997
    Former Therapist, Springfield Psychological Associates

    Dr. William Gillsepie
    Psy D. Clinical Psychology, MS Counseling
    Certified Counselor
    Prep counselor since 2004
    Former School Counselor, Bishop Eustice HS

    Bro. Robert Carson
    Prep counselor since 2010
    Former Director of Counseling and Assistant Principal, Wildwood Catholic High School

    While the Prep Counselors focus on academic performance, they also address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students. It is essential that counselors regularly examine their practices and stay actively engaged in professional development, training, and certification in order to better serve the needs of our students.

    In addition to individual counseling counselors also work with students in groups. The Prep uses outside professional speakers to help students examine topics such as: depression, anxiety, suicide, sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse.

    Generally, presentations are followed up with a reflection shared between our students and counselors. These meetings occur in the classroom or other venues and provide the freedom for Prep students to express their concerns, opinions and thoughts.
  • Prep Advantage Program

    The Prep Advantage Program supports students who are struggling academically in order that they progress in becoming self-regulated learners in their pursuit of the mission of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School. Kevin Gregorio, the coordinator of the program, engages each student individually, and interacts with academic administrators, teachers, counselors, coaches, moderators and parents to identify roadblocks and to develop strategies to address them.

    The Prep Advantage Program:
    • Monitors the academic progress, attendance and social/emotional well-being of academically at-risk students
    • Works as a liaison between students in the program, their parents, teachers, academic administrators, counselors, moderators, and coaches to provide coordinated academic and social support
    • Meets with students in scheduled sessions to provide support with study skills, learning strategies and develops a plan with the student for academic improvement
    • Schedules time before and after school for structured study and/or tutoring
    • Identifies students during the course of the school year who should join the Advantage cohort
    • Educates and trains teachers on the most effective methods to work with students who have special learning needs
    • Works with Catapult Learning counselors to assess students using several standardized measures of executive skills and learning and study strategies
    Kevin Gregorio
    Director, Learning Services
  • Guidance Presentation

    Periodically the counselors will meet with students during their advisory or community periods. Within the context of the principles of Jesuit education, these meetings will provide an opportunity for students to learn about a variety of topics such as: making a successful transition to the Prep; organizational and study skills; making healthy choices, dealing with pressure, getting involved in extracurricular activities; making new friends; an introduction to the ACT, PSAT, and SAT tests; and College Admissions Counseling. 

    Students may also meet with their counselor in a small group setting. These meetings will provide students with the opportunity to become more familiar with the counseling program at the Prep and to discuss about a variety of topics such as adjusting to the Prep, getting involved, common concerns, study strategies, etc.
  • National Honor Society (NHS) Tutoring

    The Center for Learning (CFL) has NHS tutors scheduled throughout the day. Referrals should be made to the student's counselor and/or students can walk into the CFL during their lunch or free periods.
  • Substance Abuse Awareness and Prevention Program

    Our Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Prevention Program is a joint effort between the Counseling Department and the Deans Office. The goal is to properly educate students so that they are aware of the realities behind substance use and abuse. A testing component is involved as well. The Dean's office randomly tests students of all grades. This policy exists to detract students from using, identify those in need and provide a valid excuse to those students who don't wish to use but are susceptible to peer pressure.

    The counseling department is available to discuss issues surrounding drugs and alcohol. They are aware of the pressures present in the lives of adolescents. They are personally trained to help and have resources at our disposal to help our students regardless of their level of concern.  

    Our dedication to education is fulfilled through individual conversation, classroom guidance, small group work and yearly speakers devoted to help arm our students with information vital to proper decision making.
  • Additional Services

    Additional support is offered by Catapult Learning. These services are accessed via referral by the Prep Counselors and require parental consent.
    Services include:
    • Learning Assessments
    • Counseling
    • Psychoeducational Evaluations
    • Speech and Language Assessments and Therapy