Christine Cusack, LCSW


As we are all navigating an international health crisis and a great deal of unknown, this can be a challenging time for students AND parents. 

I am available to support students and families - whether that means providing resources, scheduling a phone call or video chat, or collaborating to problem-solve any challenges. Please do reach out to me at and let me know how I can help!

Lastly, I know that you are receiving academic information from District 205 and from Jefferson. I also want to share some social-emotional resources for you and your family. Please visit this site for resources. This site will be updated regularly, so check back often!

Wishing you all calm, health, and positive vibes!

-Miss Cusack


Christine Cusack, MA, EdS, LCSW, BCBA, CCTP
Jefferson School Social Worker
(630) 617-2373

I am excited to continue to team with the wonderful parents and teachers at Jefferson to provide support and social emotional instruction. Should you have any questions about the social work program, your child's needs, or are looking for resources to support your child, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Follow me on Instagram for all things Social Work! Click the icon below or find me at: @ms.cusack.

Behavioral Health Parent Night!

We hosted our first Behavioral Health Parent Workshop at Jefferson on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. The first hour included a presentation and a question and answer session. The topic was verbal strategies to support regulation and problem-solving in your child. The last half hour, parents were able to choose from several "Interest Centers" that included many take-home resources and additional suggested resources for a variety of topics! 

Click here to view the parent night flyer!

Click here for parent night presentation.

PTA PresentationsCheck out this presentation from the December 2020 PTA meeting, with tips and resources for anxiety!

This presentation from the October 2021 PTA meeting explains ways to effectively use reinforcement with your child, and shares a restorative conversation framework for processing behavior issues.


Hello! I have been at Jefferson since 2014, and I am so excited to continue working with the amazing  students here! I am looking forward to another amazing year!

I received my B.A. in Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) from Northeastern Illinois University, and my Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago with a clinical concentration and a focus on school social work and trauma. Additionally, I have an Education Specialist (EdS) degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. I also hold a Clinical Social Work license (LCSW), I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and I am a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP). I have also completed a post-masters certificate program in School Mental Health Advanced Practice from Loyola University.

I have certificates in CPI (non-violent crisis intervention), TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), PFA (Psychological First Aid), Youth Mental Health First Aid, and CBITS (Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma in Schools). I have extensive training in trauma-informed care. I have also studied family systems, psychodynamic approaches, play therapy, expressive therapy, and cognitive behavioral methods of therapy. I previously worked at a therapeutic school as a Behavior Specialist, then spent 10 years in sales before returning to school for Social Work. I worked in an adult inpatient behavioral health unit for over 5 years, conducting individual, group, and family therapy as well as intake/admission assessments in the emergency department. I am also a clinical supervisor, supervising social workers who are working towards their LCSW.

My hobbies include reading, volunteering, attending musicals and concerts, and DANCE! I grew up as a dancer, trained in contemporary and hip hop, and spent many years performing, coaching, and judging. I was a member and captain of the Chicago Luvabulls (cheerleaders for the NBA Chicago Bulls) from 1995-1999 and was fortunate enough to experience 3 NBA championships! Did you spot me in ESPN's "The Last Dance?" I was there!

I am a proud aunt to 6 nephews and 3 nieces (one with Asperger Syndrome), ranging in age from 3-27 years old; the youngest two are identical twins! My family (my 3 siblings and their children) is spread out in Florida, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Illinois (Chicago). I visit my nieces and nephews every chance I get and love playing board games, going to the park, doing trivia, and reading books with them.

I am honored to be a part of the Jefferson family and can't wait to watch our students grow this year! Please feel free to contact me via email at or at the convenient link provided in the staff directory on the Jefferson website.

Warm Regards,
Miss Cusack

Summer Packet and ResourcesEach year, I send home a packet with resources and social emotional activities for the summer. Due to the COVID-19 school closure, I was not able to send home paper packets this year. You can download the 2022 Summer Social Skills packet here.

However, I have created a "Kids' Corner" website with MANY resources for activities for social emotional well-being - including the summer activity calendars! Check out this website for great links and activities.


School can be overwhelming for students for a variety of reasons. Check out these informational flyers to find helpful tips to manage your child's behaviors or anxiety!

Tips to De-escalate an Anxious or Defiant Child - Do you struggle with  giving your child attention when they are acting out? Check out these tips to help de-escalate interactions with children who are oppositional or anxious.

Problem Solving - Does your child have frequent meltdowns? Check out this problem-solving method to reduce frequent tantrums!

Tears at drop off - Does your child refuse to go into school or cry and cling to you at drop off? Here are some helpful tips.

Meltdowns - Do you often find yourself frustrated because your child is inconsolable? Here are some strategies to try.

Calming Phrases - Navigating anxiety can be challenging. Try these phrases to help calm an anxious child.

Executive Functioning - Does your child struggle with organizing their thoughts and ideas, especially with homework? Check out these strategies!

Social Thinking - Some children struggle with social interactions: what to say, how to engage, and how to build meaningful relationships. This flyer gives an overview of Michelle Garcia Winner's "Social Thinking"  strategies.

Coping Skills - Print these cue cards on business cards and put them on a ring. Your child can use them when upset in order to self-regulate!

Self-Talk - Positive self-talk is a powerful tool that can not only reduce anxiety, but it's also a key component in building self-esteem and fighting negative emotions. Positive self-talk can improve confidence, emotional regulation, and motivation!

iPad applications - Here are some great social emotional learning applications for tablets!

SEL books - check out this list for great books that teach children social emotional skills!

Social Emotional Development - Wondering about age-appropriate social skills and cognitive development? Check out this flyer for helpful benchmarks!

Sleep Hygiene - Consistent and healthy sleep habit are critical for development, as well as attention and mood! This flyer includes strategies and further resources to improve sleep habits.

Restorative conversations - This framework will help you process unwanted behaviors in a restorative way that leads to skill development and social emotional growth.

The Zones of Regulation teaches children self-regulation and emotional control. This flyer offers a
brief explanation of the concepts so that parents can use these strategies with their children at home. 

The fight-flight-freeze response is the body's natural reaction to danger; it's a stress response that causes the body to react to perceived threats. This response cause instant physiological and hormonal changes that allow the person to react quickly to danger in order to remain safe.

Size of the Problem - Teaching this concept helps children accurately identify the severity of their problems and ultimately choose an appropriate reaction. When we give children language to describe their problems and reactions, we help them make sense of their own experiences and identify appropriate solutions to their daily challenges.

More to come - check back soon!


*United Community Cares Association (UCCA) - Elmhurst area resource for financial support

*Ray Graham Association - resource for people with disabilities
*National Down Syndrome Society - advocate organization for acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome
*GiGi's Playhouse - Down Syndrome Achievement Centers
*Autism Spectrum & Developmental Disorders Resource Center - local resource for support for individuals with autism spectrum and developmental disorders
*National Autism Center - evidence-based information about the treatment of autism spectrum disorder
Autism Response Team (888) 288-4762

*Stop Bullying - what is bullying, who is at risk, how to prevent and respond to bullying
*National Bullying Prevention Center - resources and activities for students, parents, and educators

*Stop It Now - safety information, prevention tools, guide books
*Erin's Law - State Law for implementing prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program

*DuPage County Crisis Intervention - 24 hour mental health support
*National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - resource for mental health education, advocacy, and support
*Mental Health HelpGuide - for information on signs, symptoms, and effects of various mental health concerns
*Suicide Prevention Resource Center - for information on recognizing and responding to warning signs

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
(800) 273-8255


The school social worker works collaboratively with school personnel to address at-risk student concerns and to provide the best learning experience for all students. The Special Education team, including the school social worker, works to understand and interpret the influence of the school, home, and community on children so that we can identify the social and emotional issues that may be interfering with a student’s overall academic and social potential. Social Work services include crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, consultation with teachers and administrators, assessments, classroom presentations, student advocacy, mobilizing resources for students and families, and school-wide behavior management. Referrals come from a number of sources, including Individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, discipline and attendance data, administrators, specialists, teachers, parents, and students. Common interventions provided via social work support include learning coping skills, self-esteem, developing social skills, assertiveness, problem-solving, identifying emotions, self-regulation, anxiety, grief and loss, behavioral concerns, and trauma. Please contact the school social worker for a confidential consultation regarding services that you and/or your child may need. To learn more about social work, please review this brief brochure.

For specific information on social work at Jefferson, please click HERE.


  • Bully Prevention Week
    • October is National Bully Prevention Month.  Jefferson will recognize Bully Prevention the week of October 18-22, 2021. We will kick the week off with an assembly for all Jefferson students to talk to about ways to stop bullying. There will be additional activities and classroom lessons on bully prevention throughout the week. At Jefferson, we unite against bullies!
  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week
    • Jefferson will recognize RAK Week in February. Students will participate in daily activities to show kindness and practice inclusion. At Jefferson, we choose kindness!
  • Erin's Law
    • The Erin's Law assemblies will be scheduled by grade level throughout the winter and spring. Dates will be announced in the fall.


Erin’s Law, House Bill 6193, became Illinois law in 2013. This legislation requires schools to teach age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention for grades Pre-K through 12. In Elmhurst, we already have personal safety built into many grade levels’ health education curriculum.  However, after reviewing the requirements of the new legislation, we recognize that our students need additional information and strategies in order to consider past events and prevent future encounters. Our curriculum at each grade level will cover the following:

  • Distinguishing different types of touch
  • Saying “NO”
  • It’s not the child’s fault if someone touches him or her
  • Identifying and telling a trusted adult

This year, lessons will be taught in each classroom by the school social worker or school psychologist, along with the classroom teacher, for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. 

2022-2023 presentation dates TBD.

For additional information, please visit or 


Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence - Chick Chat workshop for interpersonal skills

Centers for Family Change - support for families, ADHD, Anxiety

Center for Creative Arts Therapy - Art based groups and programs


Elmhurst District 205 collaborates with Bethel UCC to provide shoe vouchers for Shoe Carnival to students in need. Please contact the school social worker for more information.


Resource lists available (upon request) for the following areas:

  • General Counseling
  • Hospitals/Emergency Assessments
  • Psychiatric Evaluations
  • Financial Assistance
  • Social Skills groups
  • Sexual Assault
  • Eating Disorders
  • Rehabilitation

Please contact the social worker for additional support or to request resources.