The mission of The Schools Group is to help improve the academic and social performance of children and adolescents in Chicago-area schools by providing in-school clinical counseling services to this underserved population at no cost to the schools.
Many students in this economically and ethnically diverse population face serious challenges—difficult or abusive situations at home, anxiety, depression, bereavement, trauma, substance abuse (their own or their parents’), academic failure, and social problems. With limited resources, it is impossible for schools to provide individual, on-going psychotherapy services that their students may need. We augment the services provided by schools and work as their partners to help every student succeed.
The Schools Group believes that it is critical to provide clinical counseling services to these students where they can access them—at school. We do this by placing graduate students in counseling and psychology in the schools to provide counseling services. These graduate students are closely supervised by licensed counselors at The Schools Group and by faculty at their graduate schools. Our mission is also educational—to provide training sites for graduate students as well as training and supervision to practicing clinicians.
Valerie received a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology; her undergraduate degree is from Bryn Mawr College with a major in sociology. She completed a post-graduate practicum and internship in Client-Centered Therapy at the Chicago Counseling and Psychotherapy Center. Valerie was a mental health consultant to the Chicago Board of Education for 7 years, working in a variety of elementary and high school settings as a clinical counselor. Seeing a need, she was inspired to establish The Schools Group. Valerie has also worked in private practice and currently provides consultation to student support personnel in CPS and individual supervision to license-eligible counselors. She is particularly interested in neuropsychology, trauma-informed practice, and social justice and how these impact mental health and well-being.
Jasmine is a clinical therapist with experience working with children, adolescents, adults and geriatric populations and implementing a variety of theoretical interventions in both individual and group therapy sessions. She received her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology after completing her clinical internship with The Schools Group in 2016. Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology from Roosevelt University. Jasmine was the Director of Recreation for Symphony Post-Acute Network for 5 years before and during graduate school. After graduating, she worked at Anixter Center, and held the position of Director of Substance Use Disorders for 5 years. Jasmine joined Solutions Counseling and Consulting in 2020 as a part-time clinical therapist and recently was appointed the Clinical Director of UCAN (Chicago). She has a keen interest in multicultural and diversity issues and dual diagnoses in addition to experience in Client-Centered Play Therapy with children and adolescents.
The Schools Group was founded by Valerie Wiley, who was a mental health consultant for the Chicago Board of Education for seven years, where she provided clinical counseling services to students in Chicago public high schools. This experience convinced her of two things:
In 2007, she formed a partnership with the New Center, a training and psychotherapy practice in Chicago, to test the feasibility of using graduate students to deliver services to students in Chicago-area public, private, and parochial schools at low or no cost to the schools. During this time, she placed and supervised six graduate students in three elementary and three high schools. This program was a success. School personnel felt that having clinically trained counselors available in the school building was a relief, and the graduate students felt that they received excellent clinical experience.
In 2009, Valerie established The Schools Group as a not-for-profit organization in order to be able to provide clinical counseling services to schools at no cost.