LOSD holds first levy-inspired educational event
The Lake Oswego School District presented the first of three events centered around the upcoming local option levy, known as the LO Learning Levy, Tuesday, April 9 at Westridge Elementary.
The events are designed to show the public the benefits of local option dollars, which supplement state funding for education and provide revenue to maintain the current status of educational programs, teaching positions and class sizes desired by the community.
The topic of the first event was the many duties of school counselors and the importance of social and emotional health in schools.
If the levy is passed by voters in May, the LOSD will add three elementary reading support/learning specialists, three elementary mental health and social-emotional learning counselors and four secondary mental health/social-emotional learning counselors, as well as additional academic supports.
At Tuesday's meeting, Oak Creek Elementary counselor Diana Grindea-Thompson walked parents and community members through the many services provided for the elementary-aged students.
"We work on setting up our students with the social and emotional skills they need to be a successful student and person in the real world," she said. "We work on how to self-regulate, how to work in groups, understand social cues. Grindea-Thompson said that elementary counselors try to instill the importance of empathy
and kindness to students. However, sometimes there are conflicts, she said.
"When we see kids exhibiting aggressive or bullying behaviors, we try to use restorative justice," said Grindea-Thompson. "Conflict is a part of being human, it's okay. But it's how you deal with that conflict that defines who you are as a human and member of this community."
Lakeridge Junior High counselor Marcy Watts said that counselors across the district and age groups do a lot of the same things, they just look slightly different.
"The social-emotional component is the most important to us as counselors," said Watts. "If someone doesn't feel good about themselves, doesn't want to be at school, doesn't know how to resolve a problem with a friend, then the rest of it doesn't really matter."
Watts emphasized that the academic and social-emotional supports are closely intertwined. "Stress and anxiety have increased every year, and I've never seen it this bad in my 13 years as a counselor," she said.
Lakeridge High School counselor Lee Brown helps students through arguably the most stressful and confusing chapter of their education in the district. Brown, who has been a counselor at Lakeridge for 21 years, helps students navigate enrollment, four-year academic plans, graduation requirements, college applications, career and professional development, and much more.
"People call it multi-tasking — I call it high school," said Brown.
To learn more about counseling at your child's school, visit the school's website. For more information on the LO Learning Levy and upcoming events, visit www.losdschools.org/domain/1805/.