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Student Support Services

In support of Breck’s Mission and Values, the school is deeply committed to providing appropriate holistic support for students’ academic growth, physical health, and social-emotional wellbeing PK-12. Division-level and/or grade-level teams meet regularly to discuss student needs. Plans are developed to address identified needs and we strive to work collaboratively with families throughout the process.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR CONCERN ABOUT YOUR LOWER SCHOOL STUDENT, we encourage you to contact their homeroom teacher as a first step. They have direct and consistent contact with your child. They will connect with other members of the teaching and support team to discuss your concerns and respond in a timely manner. They can also help you connect with a Dean, Counselor, Learning Consultant, Academic Strategist, or Nurse. You are always welcome to reach out to a Dean, or one of the Student Support Team members for specific areas of support.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR CONCERN ABOUT YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT, we encourage you to contact their advisor as a first step. They have direct and consistent contact with your child. They will connect with members of the teaching and support team to discuss your concerns and respond in a timely manner. They can also help you connect with a Dean, Counselor, Learning Consultant, Academic Strategist, or Nurse. You are always welcome to reach out to a Dean, or one of the Student Support Team members for specific areas of support. Please note that middle school students are encouraged to engage in increasingly independent self-advocacy in seeking support.

IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR CONCERN ABOUT YOUR UPPER SCHOOL STUDENT, we encourage you to contact the person aligned with your concern. Student Life = Chris Ohm. Academics = A.J. Colianni. Social-Emotional Wellbeing = Staci Prior. Health = Karen KavermanThey will connect with members of the teaching and student support team to discuss your concerns and respond in a timely manner. Please note that upper school students are expected to engage in independent self-advocacy throughout their 9th-12th grade years.

If you are concerned that your LS child has a disabling learning difference, contact Cathy Preissing

If you are concerned that your MS or US child has a disabling learning difference, contact Claire Blanchette.

There is a Learning Differences Parent Support Group lead by Tonya Hendrickson & Wayne Hawkins. Please contact them for more information.

Explore the tabs below to learn more about support for you and your child. Explore the Get to Know the Team section to learn more about the Student Support Team at Breck. 

If you are unsure where to begin, please reach out to Daisy Pellant by email or by phone: 763-381-8346. 





Get to Know the Student Support Team

Get to Know the Student Support Team

Daisy Pellant, Student Support Team Department Head

Daisy is the Department Head for the Student Support Team (SST.) The SST provides focused and holistic individual support for students with physical, social-emotional, and/or academic needs. Throughout her education and career, Daisy has taken a strengths-based approach to understanding human development. Plans to become a juvenile court lawyer were modified by early work as a clinical counselor in Auckland and youth-worker with Pillsbury Neighborhood Services and the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. A lifelong learner, Daisy earned two Master’s degrees (teaching and educational neuroscience) and a Ph.D. (developmental educational psychology) while serving as a classroom teacher, faculty development director, school counselor, and psychologist in independent schools internationally and in the US . She has worked with faculty, children and families PK-12, undergraduate and graduate students. Daisy can be reached by eMail or by phone: 763-381-8346.

Academic Support

Claire Blanchette, Learning Consultant, Tutoring Coordinator

Claire is the Learning Consultant for grades 5-12 and the school-wide tutoring coordinator. A Licensed School Psychologist with an Education Specialist degree, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling, she has been at Breck since 1997, and before that, worked with students at Minneapolis Public Schools and Abbott Northwestern Hospital. In addition to coordinating the in-house tutoring program, which serves more than 100 Breck students every year, Claire's work involves all aspects of supporting students with learning differences, including writing Breck Accommodation Plans for students in both middle and upper schools.  She believes that fostering self-discovery helps students reach their potential. Claire meets regularly with students, teachers, and parents and can be reached by eMail or by phone 763.381.8165.

Julia Kugland, Language Arts Resource Instructor

Julia works with individual and small groups of students in grades 1 and 2 to address learning needs in reading, writing, and spelling.  She consults with and provides assessment information to classroom teachers to facilitate the development of plans that address needs, and consults with faculty in the evaluation and development of language arts curriculum. Julia ‘s passion for reading and writing was honed through 16 years as a primary classroom teacher and 9 years as a Reading Specialist.  Julia can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8226.

Cathy Preissing, Lower School Learning Consultant

Cathy’s role as the Learning Consultant is to help support Lower School students, their teachers and families gain insight into using strengths in developing tools and strategies to support areas of challenge.  Her position on the LS Guidance team, consultation with adults, and student observations are instrumental in the process.  Undergraduate degrees in both Special Education and Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning (with a focus on how the brain learns) contribute to her keen interest in helping children understand themselves as unique learners.  Cathy creates and maintains Accommodation Plans for LS students with diagnosed learning differences and serves as a liaison to the Hopkins Public Schools for services that may be accessed through their speech and special education departments.  Cathy can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8111.

Jay Rainville-Squier, Middle School Academic Strategist

Jay serves as the middle school Academic Strategist. Jay teaches two courses – study skills grades 5-8 and language arts for grades 7 and 8. As an academic strategist, he helps students explore and discover strategies to help them flourish academically. Additionally, he provides classroom content support for his students. Jay also works to share strategies with parents and provides support to faculty. Jay is a K-12 reading specialist, holds a Master’s degree in Instruction, and is a 5-12 licensed social studies teacher. Jay has a passion for exploring issues of equity with in education and has served as a guest speaker to graduate programs throughout the twin cities on issues of inclusion in the classroom. Jay is available to meet with parents and students and can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8191.

Maura Roby, Language Arts Resource Instructor

Maura works with individuals or small groups of students in grades 1 or 2 who demonstrate a need for differentiated instruction beyond the classroom curriculum in the areas of reading, writing, or spelling. She also can be found co-teaching with the first grade teachers during the guided reading portion of the grade 1 literacy block.  Assessing students and consulting with classroom teachers is another of Maura’s roles, as is collaborating with faculty in the evaluation and development of our language arts curriculum.  With a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education licensure, Maura is passionate about finding the right combination of tools to open the doors to literacy for all of our youngest learners. Maura can be reached by eMail or by phone 763.381.8420.

Kris Simonson ‘82, Math Resource Instructor, STEAM Co-instructor

Kris works with students who have been identified as exceptional in the subject of mathematics, and benefit from an accelerated program outside of the core classroom. In addition, she works with classroom teachers to develop differentiation within the classroom to meet the math needs of a wide range of students. Kris also assists with development and integration of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) curriculum in the Lower School. With a degree in geology and a background teaching math and science at various levels, she is committed and enthusiastic about helping students become mathematical thinkers and problem solvers in life. Kris can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8160.

Carey Sirianni, Upper School Academic Strategist

Carey serves as the upper school Academic Strategist to empower upper school students to grow into the best learner they can be. Carey works one-on-one with students to identify strategies and help them reach their academic goals. Through daily or weekly meetings, Carey provides both classroom content support, and time management, study skills, and organizational support. Carey holds a Masters of Education and has loved working at Breck since 2006. Carey can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8445.


Social-Emotional Support

Lisa (Lokke) Heurung, Lower School Counselor

Lisa supports students, faculty and parents through her work as Lower School Counselor.  She teaches weekly lessons in each lower school classroom focusing on mindfulness, growth mindset, friendship, bullying and wellness.  She also works with students both individually and in small groups as they learn to navigate the “bumps in the road” that naturally occur while growing up. Lisa provides direct support to parents and teachers using a collaborative approach. Goals and strategies are planned to address the unique needs of each child. Indirect support may also be provided through observation and outside referral. Regardless of the approach, the goal of every intervention is the success of each child.  Lisa has found joy in teaching and counseling since earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1991 and her master’s degree in counseling in 1997. Lisa can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8377.

Katy Pearson, Middle School Counselor

Katy  is the middle school counselor. She addresses the social/emotional needs of students, and responds to parents and faculty to best meet the needs of the students. Katy also oversees the Be A Mustang program, an anti-bullying, community strengthening program. Katy also teaches Ethics to 8th grade students. Katy is certified K-12 in special educations and holds Master’s degrees in Educational Leadership and counseling. Katy can be reached at 763-381-8149 or

Staci Prior, Upper School Counselor

Staci Prior is the counselor for the Upper School.  She has served the Breck community in this role since the 2011-2012 school year and is the proud parent of two Breck Graduates. Staci's background includes over 25 years in education, with a Master's Degree in School Psychology and Counseling.  As school counselor, her role is to help students access their education. Staci accomplishes this as she meets individually with students, offers support for families, consults with teachers and mental health professionals, and contributes to team meetings. Her role is primarily to support students with their emotional, social, and mental well being. She can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8245.


Health Center Support

Karen Kaverman, Health Center Director

Karen Kaverman, a registered nurse (RN) and Licensed School Nurse (LSN)  provides leadership and plays a supporting role in many ways.  Through the Health Center she may do so by assessing the student’s physical, mental, social-emotional and functional health status in collaboration with the student, parent(s), teachers and health care providers. In doing so she may identify and follow-up on any health-related barriers to learning. She provides preventative services, education, emergency care, referral and management of acute and chronic health conditions. Karen develops individualized health and emergency care plans, and provides in-service training for faculty and staff regarding the individual health needs of the student.  She promotes healthy lifestyles and shares health suggestions..  She helps to encourage a healthy school environment and is a member of the Safety Committee. She maintains health records commensurate with the Minnesota State Law and school policy. Karen can be reached @ or 763-381-8241.

Lisa Yue, Health Assistant

Lisa a medical assistant works giving care to students, staff and working with parents ensuring the needs of their child (ren) are in place and met. She keeps medical records of each student and database information. She also organizes health screenings that take place during the school year.

Academic Support


Each division provides developmentally appropriate academic support/enrichment as needed. Language arts and math resource teachers, learning consultants and academic strategists work closely with families and the faculty to identify, address and monitor the academic needs and development of each student. If you have a concern about your child’s learning progress and would like to discuss possible next steps, please contact Cathy Preissing (LS), or Claire Blanchette (MS/US)

Lower School

In the Lower School, language arts resource teachers provide individual and small group support for students in first and second grades. The math resource teacher provides math enrichment for students who demonstrate exceptional mathematical ability, and provides support to core classroom teachers for developing differentiation activities within the classroom setting.

The Lower School Learning Consultant provides assistance to students, teachers, and parents in a variety of ways, including classroom observations, consultation and coordination of support services, including tutoring.

Middle School

In the Middle School, the Academic Strategist provides academic and organizational support as well as assistance with study skills.  The Middle School Learning Consultant/Tutoring Coordinator provides assistance to students, teachers, and parents in a variety of ways, including classroom observations, consultation and coordination of support services, including tutoring.

Upper School

In the Upper School the Academic Strategist provides academic and organizational support as well as assistance with study skills. The Upper School Learning Consultant/Tutoring Coordinator provides assistance to students, teachers, and parents in a variety of ways, including classroom observations, consultation and coordination of support services, including tutoring.

All School

Tutoring services are available to students in each division who, through the referral process in each division, have been identified as possibly benefiting from tutoring support. On-campus tutoring is coordinated through the Tutoring Coordinator and is fee-based. Financial aid may apply. Referrals to community-based tutors and academic coaches are also available.

Social-Emotional Support


Our counselors provide support for students and families that may include individual counseling, small skill-based groups, classroom presentation, informal assessment, parent education and consultation and referrals to community resources. They will provide short-term counseling as needed for students and their parents on a broad range of individual and developmental concerns. Counselors will provide resources for longer-term support outside of school. The counselors also provides teachers with resources for health, chemical abuse education and sexuality curriculum offerings. A full-time counselor is on staff for each division. If you would like support or a referral for social-emotional support, please contact the counselor, directly:

Lower School Counselor Lisa Heurung or 763-381-8377

Middle School Counselor Katy Pearson or 763-381-8149

Upper School Counselor Staci Prior or 763-381-8245


Health Center Support


Health Services consists of a licensed school nurse and a first aid/CPR trained health service assistant. First aid and medical care are provided to students and staff, medications are administered, and school health records are maintained. Health services also coordinates all health screenings and ensures that proper procedures are followed in case of emergency. The Health Center is located near the Middle School entrance and is open school days from 8:15 AM to 3:30 PM.

Licensed School Nurse

The licensed school nurse, an R.N., provides medical care and emotional support to students and staff. The nurse serves as a resource to the Breck community, including parents, regarding health concerns. The nurse also serves as a health consultant and a liaison between Breck and the healthcare community. Karen Kaverman can be reached by eMail or by phone 763-381-8241

Health Service Assistant

The health service assistant provides medical care and first aid under the supervision of the licensed school nurse. The health service assistant also administers health screenings and organizes the Health Center database.


Click on the link below to download the Breck Health Center physical exam and immunization form.

Breck Physical Exam and Immunization Form

Resources for Families regarding LEARNING DIFFERENCES

Recommended by a parent: SuperSummary called the "Guide to Overcoming Dyslexia"

NCLD - National Center for Learning Disabilities -- A wealth of resources, research -- including Understood

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development - A great place to start: Overview; Condition Information; What are common indicators?; How many people are affected/at risk?; What causes it?; How is it diagnosed?; Is there a cure?; What are the treatments?; Other FAQs 

When a child is struggling, the whole family is affected. At the Child Mind Institute we want to help you make good decisions for your kids and navigate the challenges of parenting. We explore the concerns and challenges we hear about most from parents and provide expert guidance on how to respond in the most effective way. And if you have a child who needs support, we offer resources that can help you get the best care for that child and the best outcome for your family.

Groves Academy Workshops: These workshops are held at Groves Academy and are open to anyone. We are proud to offer workshops with presenters who are recognized as some of the nation's foremost authorities in learning disabilities and attention disorders.

Reading Rockets has abundant resources and articles regarding LD in general and language-based learning differences, specifically.

For parents when worried about their students as readers: 

Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity

A resource for parents seeking reading supports:

Helping Children with Learning Disabilities: Practical Parenting Tips for Home and School

LD online (section pertaining to building a strong home/school connection:

A tool to find technology options for students and specific learning needs:

Understood: Helping parents understand learning and attention issues:

Dr. Hallowell website: supporting families with children with ADHD:

HELP Guide for supporting children with Learning Differences:

Learning Disabilities of America: Parents are often baffled by the problems presented by a child with learning disabilities. Often this “invisible disability” does not become obvious until a child reaches school age. Even then, difficulties may be subtle and hard to recognize.Here you will find a wealth of information on understanding learning disabilities, negotiating the special education process, and helping your child and yourself.Assistive Technology: PACER’S Simon Technology Center 952 838-9000:

A site with best practices in responding to a number of strategies for specific topic areas - both academic and behavioral:


Tom’s Special Talent

It’s Called Dyslexia

LD Online Books List

Overcoming Dyslexia


The Big Picture:  Rethinking Dyslexia and Creativity


Resources for Families re: Academic & Social-Emotional Development

Thinking Fast and Slow

Mindset Resources

Carol Dweck: TED Talk, “Consider the Power of ‘YET’”

Dweck Revisits Mindsets

Class Dojo: Growth Mindset website for young kids. This one is about “Being in the dip”


Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Building New Neural Networks

"You Can Grow Your Intelligence" – A great article for students

Website for Educators:

Films that teach Growth Mindset:


Carol Dweck Video: The Effects of Praise on Children's Development:

TED Talk on Flow

How to Motivate Students to Work Harder

RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us


Blindspot: The Hidden Biases of Good People

Anthony G Greenwald

IAT Implicit Association Tests from Harvard: Test your own bias

Approaching Race in the Classroom-Actively: an article with multiple links about how to talk about race beyond Black History Month

Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Emotion, Thinking, and Learning

Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Empathy

Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Emotional Engagement and Implications for Schools


Website on Stereotype Threat:


Kelly McGonigal: TED Talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend”

Christine L Carter: Video, “The Sweet Spot” Full Plate, Empty Life

Mindfulness Research Monthly - Aggregates research for you!

Executive Function/Self Regulation

Article on the Importance of Test Retakes:

Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Different Learners, Different Minds

Annenberg Video Library: Videos about Neuroscience and the Brain


Angela Lee Duckworth: TEDTalk, “The Key to Success-Grit”

Resources for Families re: Physical Development & Health

Promoting health and wellbeing

Good health and wellbeing are essential for all children. The following links to information and programmes provide details on ways that you can positively influence your child's eating and physical activity levels as well as manage the challenges of raising healthy children.