Counseling Services

Purpose & mission

Our students come from a multitude of backgrounds, and we will help students learn to accept and embrace their own diversity in a school setting.

Department CONTACT
Pattie Lake-Torbert

Patti Lake-Torbert

Senior Coordinator of Student Support Services

✆ (605) 367-4282

About Counseling

At the Sioux Falls School District, your counselor is an essential part of the success of our students. The counseling program is designed to serve all K-12 students. They are good listeners and can make accurate assessments of their students to prepare them for life beyond school.

School counselors often tend to hundreds of students, and their impact can empower students to be successful now and to approach their diverse futures with confidence. They challenge every student to push beyond limitations to achieve difficult academic, personal, and post-graduation goals.

For more information about school counseling services, call your child's school or the Instructional Planning Center at (605) 367-7900. If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis please call your local law enforcement (911) or contact a crisis resources center:

Break the Clouds Anti-Vaping Campaign

Vape-Free Me Initiative Delivers Important Message to SF Youth and Families

One puff. That’s all it takes. The Sioux Falls School District is joining the fight against the nationwide trend of increased use of vaping products by youth, sadly, some as young as 8 to ten years old. Along with the Sioux Falls Health Department, the District is launching the “Break the Clouds” campaign, adding prevention and education resources for students and families, schools, and the greater community.

The fresh and captivating awareness campaign highlights the harmful effects of vaping – especially on children. With tobacco giants using fruit and candy-flavored nicotine cartridges to target youth, the temptation is real. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s report in 2022, over 3 million high school and middle school students have used tobacco products in the last 30 days.

“Break the Clouds” is an attention-grabbing campaign featuring the stories of vaping truths in Sioux Falls. Along with videos, a website, and posters, “quit cards” will be available in schools when a student faces discipline for having a vaping device. Students will receive a card containing FREE resources to help them quit.

The Vape Free Me Initiative focuses on the harmful effects of vaping on the developing brain. Researchers say vaping can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control – all integral elements that support learning and success in school.

“It’s alarming. Students tell us they can’t make it through an entire school day without vaping because they’re so addicted. This is a community-wide problem. "Schools play a vital role in helping students to quit vaping by raising awareness and connecting families with essential resources. It's crucial for children to be in school to learn, and with the support of community partners, we can help them break free from this harmful habit," underscores Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent.

“I see the impact of vaping not only on individual health but also on families and communities. It’s concerning to witness the number of young people falling into nicotine addiction through vaping,” shared Dr. Jennifer Tinguely, Medical Director of Falls Community Health. “By providing education, resources, and support for youth struggling with vaping, we’re not just treating symptoms but working towards preventing long-term health complications.”

The campaign will appear on social media, public access channels KLRN-TV and City Link, and quit cards are now available in all SFSD schools. Efforts begin immediately and are timely before summer break when students have more freedom and less supervision.

Break the Clouds

Family Forum Series

New Virtual Series Brings Families and Experts Together on Important Topics

Parenting is hard. Growing up is, too. The Sioux Falls School District and Avera Health are partnering to strengthen families ir. Experts from Avera and SFSD will host free VIRTUAL forums once each month.

These virtual sessions on a pre-selected topic will be held the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm through a secure webinar platform. Your anonymous participation provides a safe space to learn about the challenges facing today’s students and the resources available for help. The series does not offer personal medical advice, but rather general information to build a parent’s knowledge.

Sessions, each approximately 40 minutes in length, will be recorded and posted here for on-demand playback at your convenience.

Benefits of Setting Limits

September 19th

How do I build and support positive behaviors with my child?

Should I go, or should I stay, GO

October 17th

Addressing the importance of school attendance and addressing school Attendance/Avoidance if it is a struggle with your child.

You Be You

November 21st

Social media comparisons and breaking the shaming cycle.

Future Planning

December 19th

See what's already happening in schools to prepare kids for making future plans.

Healthy Mind and Body

January 16th

The links between mental and physical health are numerous and well-documented.

Is My Child Normal

February 20th

Hear from Avera experts and our own SFSD professionals about this important topic, and find out about real, local resources which can help with evaluations and assistance.

Is My Child Normal - Teen Years

March 19th

A continuation of last month's topic, experts from Avera and your public schools discuss this important topic and give you real, local resources to help if you need it.

Summer Learning and Opportunities

April 16th

School's out for summer? NOT REALLY! Learn about summer programming for all ages from 6th and 9th grade transition programs, to mental health programs, to FREE summer meals, fine arts and athletic camps, CTE camps and much, MUCH more!

Suicide Hotline


National Suicide Text Line
TEXT “CONNECT” to 741741

National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK