Clarke Schools has been working hard to support their students and to provide them with the tools they need to be successful long after they have left the district. To that end, the school district has filled two positions that will focus on identifying and meeting students’ emotional and educational needs.
Aimee Rhode is the new Director of Special Education, 504 and Competent Private Instruction for Pre-K through 12th grade. Aimee will work with teachers, parents and students to help identify students with potential learning disabilities who would benefit from specialized instruction. With a Master’s degree from Morningside College, Aimee will be helping teachers with meeting procedural requirements for establishing IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and building curriculum. Through Child Find, a process through which schools identify and evaluate students who may have a learning disability, Aimee hopes to ensure that students are having their needs met through the IEP process. Her goals in the district include making sure students, no matter their disability, have access to the same rigorous Core standards so in the future they can have sustainable employment or pursue further education or training.
I really want to help put students in the least restrictive learning environment,” Aimee Rhode said. “It’s imperative that we’re teaching students to advocate for themselves so they can establish life-long learning skills.”
Allison Hemesath has been brought on as a Social Worker for students K-12. Her work will extend beyond the classroom to support not only students and teachers, but families in the school district, as well. Working with Jean Bahls, Clarke Schools Curriculum Director, Allison will be a part of the newly-established STAT trauma team under the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). Her main focus will be to support teachers and families in collaboration with the student and help with mental health in the classroom or any other emotional, social or behavioral needs to promote a healthy and productive learning environment.
Mental health in the schools is a big focus throughout the country,” said Allison. “If we can meet the students’ social and emotional needs now through classroom groups and other accommodations to help develop their functional skills, we’re hoping to create an environment where they won’t need these supports in the future.”
Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Allison earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and decided to stay in the state. On top of providing support in the classroom, Allison also offers therapy services through referrals from school administration and teachers, always including parents in the discussion.