A Proactive and Holistic Approach to Student Wellness
Our mission is to empower our students with the tools, both academic and emotional, to guide them through their years at KO, so they can make positive and healthy choices and thrive at school and beyond. We do this by honing in on what Kingswood Oxford has always done best – nourishing our students academically, socially, physically, and emotionally. By equipping our students with a solid scaffold that promotes resilience and independence, they can better tolerate setbacks and remain on a positive and productive track.
Social & Emotional Learning/ Vincit Qui Se Vincit (VQV) Curriculum
Our work centers on developing five key social-emotional skills essential for our students: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management, and responsible decision-making.
To help build these competencies, students participate in the Life Skills program at the Middle School and the VQV program at the Upper School. Through these interactive classes, students learn how to manage academic and emotional stress better, develop conflict resolution and leadership skills, understand the foundations of healthy relationships, effectively manage the college exploration and application process, and acquire practical life skills.
Academic and Emotional Support
We understand that students with diagnosed learning and/or emotional challenges require extrascaffolding to succeed in the classroom. The Student Wellness Team works with students, families, advisors, and teachers to ensure that all learners are fully supported with appropriate accommodations.
- Academic and/or emotional coaching with learning specialists and/or counselors
- School Accommodation Plans
- Community and professional development for faculty
- Mental health resources
Meet the team
Middle School Counselor
Hamilton College, B.A.; Trinity College, M.A.; University of Connecticut, M.S.W.[email protected] 860-233-9631 X3302
Brenna Chiaputti is a Middle School counselor who supports our middle school students, parents, and faculty through trusting relationships and psychoeducation to promote a healthy school climate. Ms. Chiaputti has an extensive background in counseling and social/emotional training. She served as a school social worker at The Gilbert School in Winstead, CT, for five years, where she developed social-emotional programming, provided counseling, and facilitated affinity groups. As a clinician at the Family Resource and Development Center in West Hartford, she provided individual, group, and family counseling, utilizing a range of treatment modalities. She received her B.A. from Hamilton College, an M.A. in English from Trinity College, and an M.S.W from the University of Connecticut. By partnering with our teachers, Ms. Chiaputti will continue to foster a climate of inclusiveness at the Middle School.
College of Wooster, B.A., The George Washington University, M.A.[email protected] 860-233-9631 X3312
For Jennifer Hayman-Gross, it’s all about the students, ensuring the inclusivity of neurodiverse learners. In her former school as a learning specialist, she counseled parents, teachers, and class deans on issues that impacted learning and developed strategies with faculty to meet the needs of individual students with learning differences. She also met with students to tap into their potential, identifying their strengths and working through their challenges. She describes herself as an average runner, a less-than-average cook, avid volunteer, and NCAA March Madness bracket expert.
Director of Student Wellness & Learning Specialist
University of Vermont, B.A.; Harvard University, M.A.T.[email protected] 860-233-9631 X3315
Jackie spent ten years teaching high school English in public and private schools before heading to KO as director of academic skills. As an Upper School English teacher, in addition to cultivating a love of literature in her students, Jackie focuses on the writing process through which she helps students express themselves with clarity and confidence. In her main role as our resident learning specialist, Jackie ensures that we are meeting the diverse needs of our learners, by working with students, teachers, and parents and coordinating information about accommodations.
St. Joseph College, B.S., RN[email protected] 860-233-9631 X2283
Beth is our critical member of the KO family and is available when our students take sick at school. She was an instrumental part of our Covid Response Team and kept in close contact with the local department of health and CDC to follow guidelines to keep our community safe and healthy.
Eastern Connecticut State University, B.A.; University of Connecticut, M.S.W; Charter Oak State College, M.A.[email protected] 860-233-9631 X2363
Felicia Velez, LMSW, provides support to students with big and small emotions that they alone cannot manage in a safe space for students to breathe, relax, and refocus so they can return to being their best selves. Upon graduation from ECSU, Felicia started her social work career as an investigative social worker for the Department of Children and Families. Her 24-year career as a DCF social worker involved working extensively with families and children, spending most of her career as an after-hours investigator of child abuse and neglect covering all of Connecticut. Following this position, she worked at Hartford Hospital for five years in the Neurology/Neurosurgical/Trauma unit, supporting and counseling patients and families who have experienced life-changing medical diagnoses. Felicia is an avid learner and was recently offered to teach new graduate students at the UConn School of Social Work as an adjunct faculty member, which she regards as a rewarding opportunity to give back to the school that taught her. Felicia loves to teach, enjoys counseling her students, and seeing them leave her office better than when they first walked in. An advocate of self-care, Felicia practices her own self-care by reading, sewing, making and teaching jewelry, doing craft projects, and spending time with her family and friends.