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Counseling Services

At Lakota, the counselor's role is an integral part of the educational experience of each child. Our mission is to serve each student's individual, academic and developmental needs.

School counselors at every Lakota school assist in the development of the whole child through personal, social, educational and career counseling. The foundation for this begins in elementary school and continues throughout the student's school career. Elementary counselors are highly involved in fostering safe, healthy, nurturing environments for children and participate in their school building goals and strategies that support an optimal learning environment.

Counselors help set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skills children need to become healthy, competent, and confident learners. Teamwork is essential as counselors work with students, staff, parents, and community resources to provide support for students to achieve their goals.

To meet licensure requirements, Ohio School Counselors must obtain a Master’s degree in the field of counseling and a license/certificate from the Ohio Department of Education. School counselors remain current in their field by meeting continuing education requirements.

School guidance curriculum areas include:

  • Academic Support, including organizational, study and test-taking skills;
  • Goal setting and decision-making;
  • Career awareness, exploration and planning;
  • Education on understanding self and others;
  • Peer relationships, coping strategies and effective social skills;
  • Character education;
  • Multicultural/diversity awareness;
  • Dealing with loss and grief;
  • Transition support/adjustment to change; and
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution.

Counselors assist student, staff and parents in a variety of ways.

When should I contact the School Counselor?

Parents should contact the School Counselor to discuss academic, social/emotional concerns and behavioral issues. School Counselors are available to offer family support, discuss individual student needs and make appropriate referrals to community resources.

Meet Our Counselor

Kelly Carstens


Kelly Carstens has worked in public education since 1990. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Akron and graduate degrees in education and school counseling were from Cleveland State University. In 1990, she began as a first grade teacher in St. Petersburg, Florida.  She continued as a first grade teacher in Lakewood, Ohio, and in 1996, she began my career as a school counselor in Lakewood. The transition from teaching to counseling provided an opportunity to help children become more successful students, work with them to help them effectively deal with a variety of problems, and inspire them to do their personal best in their lives.

Kelly began counseling in Lakota at Independence Elementary in 2009. In 2019, she was certified as a Trauma and Resilience Practitioner Educator. In 2020, she was certified as an Advanced Trauma and Resilience Practitioner. 

In 2021, Kelly began counseling at Ridge Junior School. She feels fortunate to have worked in both the east and west regions of Lakota at two different grade levels. Many experiences as a counselor, teacher, and parent in the district have allowed her to provide supportive care and a comprehensive program.