ELK CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Jodie Laufer might be the one employee at the Elk City Intermediate School who knows students best.
In group sessions, or one on one, even just reading a book and talking about it later can help her charges who might be having trouble.
“A school counselor,” she explains, “is just right there in the trenches with the kids.”
According to the American Association of School Counselors, the job calls for people like Jodie to ‘maximize student success’, ‘help manage emotions’, ‘collaborate with families’, ‘be a student advocate’, and ‘an agent for change.’
She’s a counselor, too.
Laufer recalls, “I’ve gone to bed many a night, and said a prayer for little Judy or Johnny because I wondered what they were doing. How was their night going?”
When Laufer came out of school as a piano and vocal music major in 1973, she already had a feeling that mere notes on a page wouldn’t be enough to make a difference in her students’ lives.
She taught a few years, then went into counseling.
For the past 5 years, Jodie worked as part of a federal grant helping students across the Elk City district.
“You just get them for a little bit,” we suggest.
“Then they’re gone,” Jodie responds. “And they grow up. I turn around twice and I have their kids.”
With the grant ending, and her last day of work rapidly approaching, we spoke inside bare walls.
Even her nameplate is in a box somewhere at her house.
An economist could easily compute a Laffer Curve as the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue.
The ‘Laufer Curve’ is harder to quantify.
But a glance at 50 yearbooks containing the photographs of thousands of children, all of whom passed under her watchful, caring eye, might indicate the shape of her own curve would be heart shaped.
Laufer’s last day at Elk City Intermediate was Thursday, September 28, 2023.
Fellow teachers, family, and former students planned a party for October 3.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center