Student Support & Well-being

Westridge students walking on campus

Because social and emotional health are central to our students’ well-being and education, we prioritize it at every level.

At Westridge, we understand the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) and we place that at the forefront of student learning.  

Each year research reveals more about how social and emotional well-being and skills, including self-regulation and empathy, are critical to both personal development and to achieving academic excellence. Students must feel grounded and secure to be ready to learn, and they need skills and support to do so while managing the natural disruptions of adolescent growth and change, challenges in their personal lives, and increasing levels of stress and anxiety among young people across the country.

We take seriously our responsibility to provide the most comprehensive network of support possible for our students. Student well-being and social emotional development is one of four focus areas in the school’s strategic plan, ensuring we have the best team in place for our students to turn to and the resources necessary to stay on the cutting edge of this rapidly expanding field. We are prioritizing faculty training in social-emotional learning so that it can be woven throughout our entire academic program and it is a part of Westridge’s unique human development program, which spans grades 4 through 12 and includes dedicated classes once per schedule rotation (every six days) in grades 7 through 12.

Peer to Peer Love Your Body Week

Above: Peer-to-Peer students organize several events for the student body to discuss topics related to body image, mental health, and more.


One of the fastest growing programs at Westridge is our Upper School Peer-to-Peer counseling program, a group of nearly 40 specially trained Upper School peer helpers, educators, and empathic listeners. Student counselors are trained during a one-year intensive elective course. In addition to providing peer support, those who take a second or third year of Peer-to-Peer lead on-campus programs to raise awareness of issues relevant to adolescents, such body image and mental health.

Student Support Team

Our student support team is skilled in providing emotional support and social-emotional skill development as well as in supporting students with different learning needs.

  • Dr. Lisa LaFave, Psy.D., Director of Counseling & Student Support
  • Sheri Johnson, M.S., M.A. MFT, Counselor
  • Tami Millard, M.A., M.Ed., Upper School Learning Support Specialist
  • Susie Murdock, M.Ed., Lower & Middle School Learning Support Specialist
  • Emily Mukai, Human Development Coordinator
  • Bonnie Martinez, M.A., Upper School Dean of Student Support
  • Masami Hansen, Lower & Middle School Dean of Student Support
  • Advisors and deans in grades 7-12

Above: Upper School students meet with their faculty advisor in small groups during a dedicated advisory period.

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Human Development

The Westridge Human Development (HD) program is framed by four pillars—Self & SocietyRelationships & Human ReproductionConsent & Safety, and Health & Wellness—with age-appropriate curricula spanning each area and themes of identity and self-reflection central to the program. 

Our Program