Counselor’s Corner

KHCS COUNSELING DEPARTMENT

The resources on this site contain valuable information about the school counseling program at Kestrel. Feel free to peruse the materials and contact the counselors with any questions!

KHS Counseling Department Mission Statement: The counseling department’s mission is to provide services and support to students and their families to maximize students’ potential for academic, social, and emotional success.

Stacy Kennedy – Counselor,
Grades K-5

I joined Kestrel Heights Elementary School its inaugural year in 2012. I was born in Montana, but I’ve lived in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1998 and in 2011 I went back to school to earn my Master’s of Education in School Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill. I hold an Advanced Graduate (Specialist) K-12 School Counselor license and I’m a member of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA). Currently, I live in Durham with my husband, two children (both former Kestrel students), mother, dogs (Beckett and Reba), and Willa the cat. I enjoy good books and laughter and when I’m not working, I can often be spotted at Ultimate Frisbee games (as a Coach, Team Mom, and player) and watching dance performances.
Fun Facts about Mrs. Kennedy:
  • I went to graduate school with Mrs. Callahan.
  • I’m a military brat.
  • I love to paddle board, jet ski, hike, and roller skate!

Morgan Callahan – Counselor
Grades 6-8

I was born and raised in upstate New York, but after graduating from Western Carolina University in 2011, I decided to stay in the great state of North Carolina permanently! I completed UNC-Chapel Hill’s Master of School Counseling program in 2012 (with Mrs. Kennedy!) and joined the Elementary school in its first year of operation, teaching first grade for three years before joining the Middle School as their grades 6-8 counselor. I currently hold licensure as both a K-6 Elementary School Teacher and an Advanced Graduate (Specialist) K-12 School Counselor, as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor certification. I am also a professional member of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA). I currently live in Chatham county with my husband, toddler daughter, and our two dogs. I am excited about working with middle schoolers in a time of exciting personal, social, emotional, and academic growth!
Fun Facts about Mrs. Callahan:
  • My daughter’s name is a Gaelic word that means “freedom” – can you guess what it is?
  • I love to read, run, hike, watch movies, and work in my garden!
  • I love the UNC Tar Heels!
Mrs. Kennedy:
Email: kennedy@kestrelheights.org
 
Mrs. Callahan

Email: callahan@kestrelheights.org

Phone: 919-484-1300 X 325
Referral Form: Counselor Referral Form

Please remember that because we are with students, teachers, and parents all day long, we typically check our email and phone messages once per day. In a true emergency where you need to get in touch with a counselor to address something the same day, please call the front office to have Ms. Barber track one of us down.

What is your confidentiality/privacy policy?

Privacy is a very important piece of the counseling relationship. However, counselors are required by law to act, including to disclose information, when they suspect that a child may hurt themselves or someone else, or if someone else is hurting the child. In addition, we often encourage students to advocate for themselves by sharing information with parents and other staff members when pertinent, and students often give their permission for counselors to share information discussed.

Do parents/guardians need to give special permission for their child to see the school counselor?

The school counseling program is part of Kestrel’s regular educational program, the counselors do not need special permission to meet with a student. However, we highly value parent collaboration and welcome parents to contact us with concerns or questions. Additionally, we will send home notification letters and information for students who wish to participate in counseling small groups.

Who sees the school counselor?

EVERYONE! The school counselor works with teachers and staff to serve ALL of Kestrel’s students through a comprehensive school counseling program.

How can I refer my child for counseling services?

Please utilize the confidential referral link provided to refer your child to the counselor. In a same-day emergency, please call the front office to have Ms. Barber track one of us down.

Can you see my child for counseling all year?

School counselors are not mental health counselors and cannot diagnose or treat any mental health disorders. We can help students with issues that interfere with their education, like friendship issues, academic concerns, bullying, anxiety, dealing with family changes, how to handle feelings, and developing coping skills. Because counselors need to be available for all students, we are here to assist with short-term counseling (less than 4-6 sessions). We will be happy to help you in finding outside counseling if needed.

Definition of McKinney-Vento Act

42 USC §11431. Statement of policy

The following is the policy of the Congress:

(1) Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.

(2) In any State where compulsory residency requirements or other requirements, in laws, regulations, practices, or policies, may act as a barrier to the identification of, or the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of, homeless children and youths, the State educational agency and local educational agencies in the State will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.

(3) Homelessness is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.

(4) Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held.

Eligibility under McKinney-Vento

Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including: 

  • Sharing the housing of other person due to loss of housing economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • LIving in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. 
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • Migratory children living in the above circumstances
  • Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances

Parent/Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Rights:

Unaccompanied homeless youth are ensured the same educational rights that the McKinney-Vento Act provides for other homeless students, which include the right to:

  • Enroll immediately, even if they do not currently have paperwork normally required for enrollment
  • Attend either the local attendance area school or the school of origin, with the placement decision based on the student’s best interest
  • Remain in the school of origin for the duration of the homelessness or until the end of the school year in which the student becomes permanently housed
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin
  • Receive educational services, such as free school meals, Title 1 services; and participate in gifted and talented programs, vocational education alternative education, and any other services comparable to what housed students receive
  • Not be stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status as homeless

NCHE Parent Rights Brochure

EnglishSpanish

In additional to the provisions that apply to all homeless students, the McKinney-Vento Act includes the following provisions specifically for unaccompanied homeless youth:

  • Unaccompanied homeless youth shall be immediately enrolled without proof of guardianship
  • During a dispute over school selection or enrollment, unaccompanied homeless youth shall receive a written statement explaining the school’s decision, the youth’s right to appeal the decision, and a referral to the local liaison.

Youth Education Rights Poster

English & Spanish

Parent Educational Rights Poster

English & Spanish

Local liaisons shall assist unaccompanied homeless youth in:

  • Selecting a school of attendance and enrolling in school.
  • Requesting transportation to and from the school of origin.
  • Enrolling in school immediately while disputes are resolved.

Please direct all questions about eligibility and services to:

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison: Stacy Kennedy

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison’s Email: kennedy@kestrelheights.org

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison’s Number: 919-484-1300 Ext.302

Additional McKinney-Vento information and homeless data: 

NC Homeless Education Program 

Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator – lphillip@serve.org

NC Homeless Education Program Historical Data

National Center for Homeless Education

National Homeless Data

North Carolina Homeless Data

KHCS COUNSELING DEPARTMENT

The resources on this site contain valuable information about the school counseling program at Kestrel. Feel free to peruse the materials and contact the counselors with any questions!

KHS Counseling Department Mission Statement: The counseling department’s mission is to provide services and support to students and their families to maximize students’ potential for academic, social, and emotional success.

Stacy Kennedy – Counselor,
Grades K, 2, 4, 6, and 8

I joined Kestrel Heights Elementary School its inaugural year in 2012. I was born in Montana, but I’ve lived in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.  I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1998 and in 2011 I went back to school to earn my Master’s of Education in School Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill.  I hold an Advanced Graduate (Specialist) K-12 School Counselor license and I’m a member of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA). Currently, I live in Durham with my husband, two children (both Kestrel students), mother, and dog, Beckett.  I enjoy good books and laughter and when I’m not working, I can often be spotted driving my not so little people to places like dance class, theater rehearsals, swim meets, summer camps, film location sites, and a myriad of social events.
Fun Facts about Mrs. Kennedy:
  • I went to graduate school with Mrs. Callahan
  • I’m a military brat.
  • I love to paddle board, jet ski, hike, and roller skate!

Morgan Callahan – Counselor
Grades 1, 3, 5, 7, and 8

I was born and raised in upstate New York, but after graduating from Western Carolina University in 2011, I decided to stay in the great state of North Carolina permanently! I completed UNC-Chapel Hill’s Master of School Counseling program in 2012 (with Mrs. Kennedy!) and joined the Elementary school in its first year of operation, teaching first grade for three years before joining the Middle School as their grades 6-8 counselor. I currently hold licensure as both a K-6 Elementary School Teacher and an Advanced Graduate (Specialist) K-12 School Counselor, as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor certification. I am also a professional member of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the North Carolina School Counselor Association (NCSCA). I currently live in Durham with my husband and our two dogs, Tucker and Jasper. I am excited about working with middle schoolers in a time of exciting personal, social, emotional, and academic growth!
Fun Facts about Mrs. Callahan:
  • My dogs’ full registered names are Tucker, Prince of the Mountains and King Jasper Daniels.
  • I love to read, run, hike, watch movies, and work in my garden!
  • I love the UNC Tar Heels and Boston Red Sox!
Mrs. Kennedy:
Email: kennedy@kestrelheights.or
 
Mrs. Callahan

Email: callahan@kestrelheights.org

Phone: 919-484-1300 X 325
Referral Form: Referral Form

Please remember that because we are with students, teachers, and parents all day long, we typically check our email and phone messages once per day. In a true emergency where you need to get in touch with a counselor to address something the same day, please call the front office to have Ms. Barber track one of us down.

What is your confidentiality/privacy policy?

Privacy is a very important piece of the counseling relationship. However, counselors are required by law to act, including to disclose information, when they suspect that a child may hurt themselves or someone else, or if someone else is hurting the child. In addition, we often encourage students to advocate for themselves by sharing information with parents and other staff members when pertinent, and students often give their permission for counselors to share information discussed.

Do parents/guardians need to give special permission for their child to see the school counselor?

The school counseling program is part of Kestrel’s regular educational program, the counselors do not need special permission to meet with a student. However, we highly value parent collaboration and welcome parents to contact us with concerns or questions. Additionally, we will send home notification letters and information for students who wish to participate in counseling small groups.

Who sees the school counselor?

EVERYONE! The school counselor works with teachers and staff to serve ALL of Kestrel’s students through a comprehensive school counseling program.

How can I refer my child for counseling services?

Please utilize the confidential referral link provided to refer your child to the counselor. In a same-day emergency, please call the front office to have Ms. Barber track one of us down.

Can you see my child for counseling all year?

School counselors are not mental health counselors and cannot diagnose or treat any mental health disorders. We can help students with issues that interfere with their education, like friendship issues, academic concerns, bullying, anxiety, dealing with family changes, how to handle feelings, and developing coping skills. Because counselors need to be available for all students, we are here to assist with short-term counseling (less than 4-6 sessions). We will be happy to help you in finding outside counseling if needed.

Definition of McKinney-Vento Act

42 USC §11431. Statement of policy

The following is the policy of the Congress:

(1) Each State educational agency shall ensure that each child of a homeless individual and each homeless youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youths.

(2) In any State where compulsory residency requirements or other requirements, in laws, regulations, practices, or policies, may act as a barrier to the identification of, or the enrollment, attendance, or success in school of, homeless children and youths, the State educational agency and local educational agencies in the State will review and undertake steps to revise such laws, regulations, practices, or policies to ensure that homeless children and youths are afforded the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths.

(3) Homelessness is not sufficient reason to separate students from the mainstream school environment.

(4) Homeless children and youths should have access to the education and other services that such children and youths need to ensure that such children and youths have an opportunity to meet the same challenging State academic standards to which all students are held.

Eligibility under McKinney-Vento

Children or youth who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, including: 

  • Sharing the housing of other person due to loss of housing economic hardship, or a similar reason
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations
  • LIving in emergency or transitional shelters
  • Living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. 
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings
  • Migratory children living in the above circumstances
  • Unaccompanied youth living in the above circumstances

Parent/Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Rights:

Unaccompanied homeless youth are ensured the same educational rights that the McKinney-Vento Act provides for other homeless students, which include the right to:

  • Enroll immediately, even if they do not currently have paperwork normally required for enrollment
  • Attend either the local attendance area school or the school of origin, with the placement decision based on the student’s best interest
  • Remain in the school of origin for the duration of the homelessness or until the end of the school year in which the student becomes permanently housed
  • Receive transportation to and from the school of origin
  • Receive educational services, such as free school meals, Title 1 services; and participate in gifted and talented programs, vocational education alternative education, and any other services comparable to what housed students receive
  • Not be stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status as homeless

NCHE Parent Rights Brochure

EnglishSpanish

In additional to the provisions that apply to all homeless students, the McKinney-Vento Act includes the following provisions specifically for unaccompanied homeless youth:

  • Unaccompanied homeless youth shall be immediately enrolled without proof of guardianship
  • During a dispute over school selection or enrollment, unaccompanied homeless youth shall receive a written statement explaining the school’s decision, the youth’s right to appeal the decision, and a referral to the local liaison.

Youth Education Rights Poster

English & Spanish

Parent Educational Rights Poster

English & Spanish

Local liaisons shall assist unaccompanied homeless youth in:

  • Selecting a school of attendance and enrolling in school.
  • Requesting transportation to and from the school of origin.
  • Enrolling in school immediately while disputes are resolved.

Please direct all questions about eligibility and services to:

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison: Stacy Kennedy

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison’s Email: kennedy@kestrelheights.org

KHCS McKinney-Vento Liaison’s Number: 919-484-1300 Ext.302

Additional McKinney-Vento information and homeless data: 

NC Homeless Education Program 

Lisa Phillips, State Coordinator – lphillip@serve.org

NC Homeless Education Program Historical Data

National Center for Homeless Education

National Homeless Data

North Carolina Homeless Data