(l-r) Ms. Murray, Ms. Putterman-Hoffman, Ms. Harrison, Ms. Testa, Ms. Augustine, Ms. Steller and Ms. Teplitsky (BCSD archived photo from 2019)


As National School Counseling Week, February 1–5, comes to a close, BCSD takes this opportunity to appreciate the critical impact our school counselors, social workers and psychologists have on the student body. Their counseling support is essential to a student’s ability to achieve success in school, both emotionally and academically.

The Berlin Elementary School counseling team is made up of Ms. Ryan Steller, School Counselor, and Ms. Rachel Teplitsky, School Psychologist. The team of Ms. Steller and Ms. Teplitsky works closely with the staff, the parents and the community. 

“Berlin Elementary is extremely fortunate to have the expertise of our school counseling team, Ryan Steller and Rachel Teplitsky,” said BES Principal Tracy Kent.

“Their role is to help create a school culture that supports the success of all students. They provide a number of valuable services to our students, families and staff including academic strategies, helping students to manage their emotions, teaching classroom lessons and serving as a resource for families.”

When speaking about the importance of the counseling team during the current pandemic, Ms. Kent said, “The support that these two ladies have provided during the challenging circumstances of COVID is to be commended.”

“Not only do they support the students and families of BES, but they have also played a role in supporting our staff. I know that, as building principal, I rely greatly on them and value their input tremendously.”

The teams at the Middle/High School and Elementary levels work together to ensure students have smooth transitions from school to school. Each counseling staffer’s expertise benefits every individual student in the district.

The Berlin Middle/High School’s five-member counseling team likewise plays a crucial role in the students’ day-to-day activities and in achieving their next steps after graduation. The team: Ms. Rachel Harrison, Counselor for last names beginning with A-I; Ms. Caroline Testa, Counselor for last names beginning with J-Z; Ms. Melissa Putterman-Hoffman, Social Worker; Ms. Jill Augustine, Student Assistance Counselor; and Ms. Brianna Murray, Psychologist.

“Our counselors do it all!” said BMHS Principal Jodi Sullivan. “From social emotional learning to counseling, responding to crises, parent communication, academic advisement, scheduling collaboration and so much more.”

According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), counseling at the middle and high school levels helps students “achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set informed career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.”

School counseling at the Middle/High school level during the pandemic poses many challenges. The BMHS counseling team has worked together and has proved to be up to the challenge, accommodating meetings with both in-person and remote learners.

“We couldn’t be more proud to have this team as true professionals and genuine role models for our school community,” concluded Ms. Sullivan.