The Glendale High School campus in June 2012.

The Glendale High School campus in June 2012. (Times Community News / October 2, 2012)

Three USC graduate students will be assisting Glendale High School this year to bolster counseling services on the campus.

Under a new venture between USC and Glendale Unified, the three interns will counsel students while earning hours for their graduate program at no cost to the district.

“Especially in our lean financial times, it’s a great opportunity to offer free services to our kids,” said assistant principal Mike Bertram. “It’s a terrific idea — especially with everything our kids are going through.”

School board member Nayiri Nahabedian — a professor of social work at Cal State Los Angeles — knew that USC was reaching out to schools and brought the idea to the district.

The interns will spend two days each week at Glendale High and will see at least 30 students between them during individual, hour-long sessions or meetings with students’ family members.

“This isn’t a service that we’ve been able to offer in the past,” said Glendale High psychologist Tammy Taylor.

At Glendale High, there are five counselors, one full-time psychologist and a second part-time psychologist for the 2,800-student campus.

“With the number of students, it’s not possible to meet with every student as much as we’d like,” Taylor said.

USC social work professor Suh Chen Hsiao said she was pleased the interns were placed at Glendale High “where there are tremendous mental health needs.”

Benefits also come with the young age of the first-year graduate students.

“They can relate for the younger kids, but they can also understand where the parents are coming from,” Hsiao said.

More than 100 interns complete their graduate work in L.A. Unified and more have worked in the Long Beach, Culver City and Beverly Hills school districts.

Hsiao hopes the interns can identify Glendale’s greatest mental and emotional needs and help implement changes before finishing their internship this April.

The interns are prepared to see students this week, Taylor said.

“They’ve really put in the time getting to know Glendale High and getting to know what our needs are at this school,” she said.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan