• What is an Elementary Support Specialist (ESS)?

    An ESS is a Mukilteo School District educator with a Master's Degree in Social Work, School Counseling or School Psychology. We are trained in understanding the social-emotional and behavioral needs of students, just as other educators are trained in math, science, or language arts. At Challenger, both ESS's have a Master's Degree in Social Work. We are blessed this year to have a full-time ESS (Ms. Ninh) and a part-time ESS (Mrs. Mensah) to serve our 630+ students.

    Our goal is to develop, implement and evaluate proactive programs designed to meet the needs of all students. These programs address social emotional learning and its connection to academic achievement. We strive for your child’s highest potential by addressing this goal in three ways: 

    • In-Class Lessons: developmentally appropriate lessons that address topics such as empathy, expected behavior, problem solving and bullying, etc.
    • Small Group Lessons: support social growth, by developing emotional identification and regulation, problem solving, communication and goal setting.
    • One on One Check Ins: support individualized skills and strategies to manage strong emotions, stress or crisis, and make good choices.

    Throughout the school year, we will adjust the supports offered to meet the needs of all students, based on data and input, that is provided by staff and families. Please talk with your child about what they are learning during ESS lessons, so you can reinforce them at home.

    When ESS are not working directly with students, we are often visiting classrooms, the cafeteria, or the playground to check in with students.  We also consult closely with staff, to confer about proactive and reactive intervention strategies to improve behavior. You may have also met with ESS, as we ally closely with parents and guardians during parent meetings to address a variety of student concerns.

    As you can see, Challenger ESS use a team approach.  We regularly consult with families, teachers, support staff, and administrators. In doing this, we support your child’s ability to learn and be successful at school. In short, we are here to help!


    Please be aware of our sincere respect for confidentiality. In all of our consultation, collaboration, and counseling activities, we follow and adhere to the NASW standards for privacy and confidentiality.