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New Position Provides Support for District-Wide Mental Health Initiatives

The Great Valley School District created a new position for the 2022-23 school year that will ensure more consistent support for K-12 mental health efforts district-wide. The position will focus on both broad and targeted interventions for students.

Dr. Karen Taratuski, who previously served as the coordinator of psychological services, is now the district’s supervisor of clinical services. She will work collaboratively with the district’s three social workers and five contracted mental health clinicians, and will serve as the district’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) coordinator. Taratuski will also oversee and supervise the implementation of Crisis Intervention and Threat Assessment procedures, including support of school-based crisis management teams. Her position will also allow for clinical leadership for safety and crisis events, and will facilitate greater coordination of metal health supports and social emotional learning, K-12, including a focus on increasing teachers’ sensitivity to experiences of stress for students, and providing increased support to help students through difficult times.

“The pandemic has highlighted the feelings of isolation that children and adolescents experience during the normal stages of development, which has made dealing with the stressors of life more difficult,” said Taratuski. “Mental health challenges can interfere significantly with the ability of children and adolescents to access schooling and function socially. Over the last several years it has become clear that schools are essential support systems and safe havens for children as access to community-based mental health support has been limited and has become more complex.”

Taratuski is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, as well as a certified school psychologist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has more than 30 years of experience in education, with the last four in the Great Valley School District. In addition to her experience in public schools as a behavior specialist, psychologist, and administrator, Taratuski also provides private therapy services for adolescents and adults.