Lori Rhodes has spent 34 years in education, 24 of those years have been spent as a school counselor at Southeast Polk. Rhodes is the school counselor at Delaware Elementary where she works with staff, parents and community members to help students be the best student and friend that they can be. Rhodes and all of the counselors at Southeast Polk work to create a caring culture where learning can take place.
The talented counseling team at Southeast Polk have worked together to identify standards and align the curriculum across the district, that way if/when a student move schools they have the same opportunities and expectations. Elementary counselors also play a leading role in PBIS, Olweus, and a variety of school-wide prevention and celebration programs.
“We are a dynamite cohesive team. Our counselors here at Southeast Polk are driven by our students and our voice for them. They come first in all of our jobs. We are the leaders for the social, emotional learning that takes place in elementary schools. We share resources, ideas, and provide support to each other,” Rhodes said. “Students, staff, and parents come to us for resources, referrals, and interventions for academic and behavior. We all focus on supporting a healthy school climate to make it the best learning environment for students and families.”
PBIS and OLWEUS
PBIS is a program about teaching positive behavior and helping support students that need extra help in learning those behaviors. Olweus Bullying Prevention involves weekly classroom meetings which are facilitated by teachers. During these weekly sessions, teachers meet with their students to define peer conflict vs. bullying, discuss healthy ways to resolve conflict and to discuss other concerns related to students.
Rhodes shared, “Olweus and the PBIS program tie nicely together because it fosters a safe, caring culture in a class where students help each other. Teachers are looking for behaviors and recognizing those that help a class to learn and care for each other. Safe, caring, and nurturing environments help students to learn, feel safe to ask questions, make mistakes, and help others.”
College and Career Readiness In the Elementary Setting
Elementary counselors spend the month of May with 5th graders preparing them for the new schedules, new friendships, new teachers, new building, locker and locker combinations. Rhodes shared, “we look at career exploration using technology, career days, we ask students to think about What they are good at? And What do they enjoy? Realizing that career involves both of these.”
Trying to meet the needs of students, staff, parents, and the community can be challenging for counselors. At Southeast Polk we are proud of our team of dedicated individuals who overcome challenges and continue to meet the needs of our students and creatr a positive school climate on a daily basis.
“I love working with Kids. It brings me the most joy in my job to help them explore their dreams and discover how to achieve them,” Rhodes shared.