guidance counselor from lowell, montana helps kids solve problems with kelso

Dave Garlitz, guidance counselor at Lowell School, uses Kelso and Lily to teach conflict resolution skills to his first-grade class.

Garlitz' kids during a Kelso lesson.

Nine years ago, Dave Garlitz retired from his 32-year teaching career in Maryland and headed west to Missoula, Montana, to live closer to his son.

Garlitz missed teaching so much that he quickly took a job as a guidance counselor at Lowell School, where he began using Kelso and Lily to help children solve their problems.

Every week, the students gather around him, voicing troubles such as conflict with friends, siblings, and grandparents. He offers them simple solutions: Talk it out, share and take turns, ignore it, walk away, tell them to stop, apologize, make a deal, wait and cool off, or go to another game. If the problem is too big to handle on their own, always seek help from a trusted adult.

“Our kids have a lot of challenges, and my work is to help them meet with success in school,” said Garlitz, “I like the idea that they are open to new ideas, that they are so accepting of everyone, and that they are so open to sharing their problems,” he said.

Dave Garlitz shows students how to solve conflict with Kelso's Wheel.

Kelso’s Choices are displayed on the wall, offering a “wheel” of options for solving problems. Kids can reference the wheel whenever they have a disagreement with another student.

Even with over 40 years of teaching under his belt, Garlitz says that the students’ issues haven’t changed over the years.

“The topics generally haven’t changed,” he said. “The problems are usually when students’ parents are having problems, when the family is split and the kids come to school upset. My role is to help them when they get to school, to get them to talk about it so they can be successful while they are here.”  Read the original article here.

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