New social worker has plans for mental health groups


Photo by Ellie Dahlstrom

Booher in her office working with a student. She helps with mental health along with financial and family-related issues.

Ellie Dahlstrom, Podcast and Distribution Reporter

Fresh hire, Jenna Booher is the first social worker at the high school, and she hopes to have a positive impact on the student community. She plans to open up resources for mental health and truly connect with students. She also strives to be a next level of help, working alongside the counselors, who may specialize with families. With her previous experience at Oakland Middle School, she is credible to work with teenagers and has high hopes for the future. 

 “We’re starting a grief group for students who have experienced grief or loss and are grieving sometimes at school,” Booher said.

The group would meet for one class period, about 45 minutes and simply connect. Students would have a chance to learn more about the grieving process and a safe space created at school. Booher also wants to branch out and start more groups such as an anxiety and depression group. She feels that these topics are lightly covered in health class, but other than that not a lot of small group support. Not only is the new social worker a great natural source for help, but she is creating even more resources for mental health.

Booher started a similar group at her previous job at Oakland last year and found the results beneficial and thought they were needed at the high school level.

If your job is working to support people, you need to be able to relate to people very well. She has amazing skill in that area.”

— Matt Kraft

When students could connect from the small group, they might not necessarily be in the same friend group or classes, but they could see each other and think, “Wow, I know what you’re going through”, Booher said. That is very important when a student going through something that makes you feel alone as ever.

In addition to Booher’s first hand information, Assistant Principal Matt Kraft played a large role in hiring Booher, and he has great confidence in her abilities.

“If your job is working to support people, you need to be able to relate to people very well. She has amazing skill in that area,” Kraft added.

He explained Booher was the best candidate for this position and she is very knowledgeable for this position. He also expressed his excitement towards her new ideas, and the beneficial impact they will have. He conveys the importance of someone who is knowledgeable and can help students and students families. Kraft did not know her personally before her hire, but he heard great things from her previous job at Oakland. Lastly, he touched on her qualifications for a job with teenagers. Her education was more extensive than the other candidates, and she understands adolescents.

Booher also provides an extra hand to the guidance counselors. They overlap in a lot of what they do, but Booher’s role is a little different. She may specialize with a family in financial need, or a specific student.

“We have another resource in the building,” Guidance counselor Liz Nelson said.

Nelson also includes how Booher has access to more resources than she does, bettering opportunity for help. She also expresses her gratitude for the extra hand in her center.

Booher is a recent addition to the high school staff and provides promising ideas for the future.