Carlisle Middle School School, Carlisle Community School District
Benjamin Barry has been a counselor for eight years after spending nearly 10 years in the classroom as a high school science teacher. Benjamin has spent all eight years in the Carlisle district at Carlisle Middle School. Over the past eight years, Benjamin has seen the resources for counseling grow in the district as a result of his and his team’s advocacy. When he began his counseling career, he was teaching almost half the day and spending another portion of the day completing other duties. Less than ten years later, Carlisle district now has two school-based therapists, three behavior interventionists, a second half-time counselor, and structural changes within their office that help maintain comfort and privacy for students.
Through collaboration with his school, Benjamin and his colleagues established goals for increasing attendance and decreasing office referrals. To combat absenteeism, Benjamin helped provide professional development for teachers and staff regarding mental health issues and disorders and was well received in the district. Benjamin also contributes to his building’s PBIS initiative which is making large impacts on behavior referrals.
Benjamin was also instrumental in the development of a clothing drive in his district. As a first year counselor, Benjamin noticed the school had a number of clothing items that would be donated to a store in Des Moines. Benjamin took this clothing and established a one-day clothing giveaway. The first year about 8-10 families were able to take bags of warm clothes home for their children. What started out as Benjamin sitting in the school library waiting for families to come has grown into a district-wide initiative over multiple days. In addition to clothing, families also receive a resource packet with information about food, clothing, and housing resources.