"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."
Student Life

Student Support Services

Support Services Mission

At Friends, we value the whole child which includes their social, emotional and physical wellbeing as well as their academic potential. In order to be productive members of the school community, we want students to feel connected, secure, confident in themselves and their abilities, and cared for as individuals and as members of a larger community.

The Friends Seminary Support Services department serves the school community from Kindergarten through Grade 12 by addressing the social, emotional, learning and health needs of the student body. Our mission is to support student learning by providing appropriate guidance or intervention so that those who struggle academically, socially, emotionally or physically can be productive and successful members of the community, fully engaged in school programs. We are administrators, teachers, specialists and counselors who meet regularly to exchange ideas, monitor student progress, develop appropriate plans of action and coordinate outside services and referrals when necessary. The team collaborates with outside providers, including therapists, tutors, evaluators and physicians and consults with teachers, administrators, students and families within the school community to provide direct care.

The Support Services department at Friends Seminary includes the following members: 
  • Director of Support Services/Middle School Psychologist: oversees the department administratively, takes clinical responsibility for Grades 5-8, helping to promote the social, emotional, and educational needs of Middle School students. In addition to meeting with students individually and in small groups, also manages support for Middle School students with accommodations. 
  • Lower School Psychologist: helps promote the social, emotional, and educational needs of Lower School students, Grades K-4. In addition to meeting with students individually and in small groups, also manages support for Lower School students with accommodations. 
  • Upper School Psychologist: helps promote the social, emotional, and educational needs of Upper School students, Grades 9-12. In addition to meeting with students individually and in small groups, also manages support for Upper School students with accommodations. 
  • Six Learning Specialists across Lower, Middle, and Upper School divisions: K-4 mathematics, K-6 language arts, 7-12 executive functioning.

Counseling and Guidance

Mental health services at Friends are provided by three full time psychologists, one for each division. All are available for scheduled supportive consultation as well as to students and families in crisis. They conduct classroom observations; attend grade level faculty and team meetings; and consult with parents, faculty, administrators and outside professionals. They facilitate a variety of support and affinity groups that offer social and emotional care during the school day. As a school community with a commitment to diversity, and one that values and strengthens the individual voice, students experience they are not alone when they hear how other children cope with common issues. They also find they have the capacity to help someone else feel better or to solve a problem.

Counselors host parent coffees, professional talks on child development, anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, parenting, and adolescence. Counselors are in attendance on back-to-school nights, during parent conferences, when appropriate, divisional Guidance and advisory meetings. An effort is made to support students and their families in times of stress or emotional need and to decrease the obstacles that may stand in the way of a student succeeding at Friends. All students in the community, and those with special needs, are eligible to receive support through this department.

Groups Include:

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Banana Splits

    For students who live with one parent, or one at a time, due to separation, divorce, death, or single parenting by choice.
  • Candy Apples

    For children who joined their families through adoption.
  • Bereavement Group

    Serves students who have a deceased parent or close family member.

Learning Support

Our mission is also to be compassionate and fair, especially as a community that cultivates equity and commitment to diversity — including neurodiversity — which includes diverse ways that students learn best. Friends Seminary complies with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that requires reasonable accommodations be made available to students with physical and emotional diagnoses as well as learning disabilities. All students in the community are regularly monitored through faculty and grade-level team meetings in each division as well as through the advisory program to highlight and assess each student’s overall growth and progress within the School’s disciplines of silence, study, and service. These meetings uncover students’ strengths as well as relative weaknesses and potential needs for support or enrichment. When patterns or problems arise that require attention, a plan is discussed and implemented to provide the necessary academic or social/emotional support. For more detailed information about Learning Support Services, click here.

Health Services

The Support Services department at Friends incorporates health and physical wellbeing through intentional teamwork to tailor the care of students from a whole-child perspective. Health Services provide careful attention to children’s medical needs, from prevention and safety to intervention and emergency treatment. 

Friends Seminary employs one Director of Health Services and one Athletic Trainer to provide health services at School. Our Director of Health Services, a Registered Nurse, provides comprehensive daily health care for all students, collects health forms, maintains a student health database, and ensures compliance with state health care laws and audits. The Trainer provides on-site recognition, evaluation and treatment of athletic injuries, advising referrals to physicians as necessary. She runs a rehabilitation program for injured athletes and determines their readiness to return to sports. Both the Director of Health Services and Athletic Trainer communicate with faculty, family, and treating physicians to maintain healthy school-wide practices, and they are certified by the American Heart Association in Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.

Health Services at Friends accommodates children with special physical needs by providing appropriate facilities and staff training. For immobile students, Friends arranges scheduling and class locations for full accessibility, also providing specific staff training and equipment for evacuating immobile students in emergencies.

Health and Wellness (H&W) courses are taught in each division focused on five recurring themes: Human Sexuality, Physical Health, Mental Health, Healthy Relationships and Identity. The program also fosters increased connection with related school programs, including advisory, global education, and service learning. Students learn about themselves and others and are prepared at a developmentally appropriate level with accurate information and tools for making healthy decisions and leading healthy lives. Topics addressed include puberty, identity, relationships, conflict resolution, communication, emotions, growth and development, self-care and hygiene, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, healthy relationships, internet safety, feelings, and anger management, beauty ideals, self-esteem, media literacy, cultural identity and gender roles, mental health, street smarts, substance abuse and addiction, sexual orientation, chronic diseases, physical fitness, safety, consent and boundaries, romantic/sexual relationships, stress management, brain-based research, and healthy living. 


Samantha Meltzer
Director of Support Services
Middle School Psychologist, Grades 5-8
(646) 979-5130

Salvatora Barker
Lower School Learning Specialist

Hilary Berliner
Lower School Math Specialist
(212) 979-5035 x4308

Megan Fenstermaker
Middle and Upper School Learning Specialist, Grades 8-12
(212) 979-5035 x4333

Jennifer Gandasegui
Middle School Learning Specialist

Monica Kaplan
Upper School Psychologist, Grades 9-12

Ray Shaw
Lower School Psychologist, Grades K-4

Ruthie Shaw
Learning Support Department Chair; Lower School Learning Specialist

Melissa Soto
Lower and Middle School Learning Specialist

Monica Witt
Lower School Math Specialist
(212) 979-5035 x4412

Tyler Troppmann
Director of Health Services
(646) 979-5140
Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.

222 East 16th Street
New York, NY 10003
P: 212-979-5030
F: 212.979.5034
Friends Seminary — the oldest continuously operated, coeducational school in NYC — serves college-bound day students in Kindergarten-Grade 12.