Lori began her council work with The Ojai Foundation’s Council in Schools program in Southern California, facilitating weekly councils for up to 10 classes at an urban public middle school of over 2,000 students speaking more than 100 different languages.
Council in Schools programs aim to promote the inclusion of council into mainstream school curricula, creative arts, instructional strategies, support services, and school communities. To implement this mission, training and support of school staff is completed to integrate council into classroom and school counseling practice, as well as faculty, parent, and community meetings.
Council in Schools provides a practice that addresses relationship (connection) and relevance (meaning) in education. Students, teachers, staff and parents often report that sitting in council "feels like coming home." In this regard, council in schools programs help create healthy, joyful school communities.
Council does not teach values explicitly, but exposes students to a process through which values are formed. By learning how to listen "from the heart" to the stories and expressions of others, students and adult participants develop true empathy. There are many programs that offer various forms of "social-emotional" education, but few that address this fundamental need in a way that comes from within each individual.
Council is about respect and relationships, but it is also an effective method for teaching literacy and content standards in all disciplines.
Lori offers Council for Educators training weekends and is available to work directly with individual schools or districts.
CIRCLE WAYS: COUNCIL FOR EDUCATORS
Level 1 Training: Introduction to Circle Ways
Immerses participants in a variety of council experiences, grounds them in the history of circle practices, and provides them with a copy of the Circle Ways Facilitator's Manual.
If your school is interested in the Introduction to Circle Ways program, contact Lori for more information.
“There is a myth that the purpose of education is to give students the means for upward mobility and success. The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people, but it desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, story-tellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.”
– David Orr
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
"After 15 years as an elementary school counselor, I was feeling like I needed something to invigorate me both personally and professionally. I searched for new ideas and options and came across the Council training course through Royal Roads University’s Continuing Education, facilitated by Lori Austein.
Once I completed Level 1 & 2, I knew I had found what I needed. The Council experience provided an open opportunity for sharing from each person present, something I felt was missing during my classroom teaching experiences with students..."