• The Guidance program focuses on the social-emotional development of students by teaching them problem-solving skills that can be applied in daily life.

    My first responsibility is serving as a proactive facilitator working toward the academic, social and personal goals of every student. I believe in building trusting relationships with all students. Students respond when they know their Social Worker (and teachers) are interested and genuinely care.  Serving as a School Social Worker provides the opportunity to address the needs of the whole school by providing classroom guidance, small group and individual counseling. This effort is best achieved through a collaborative effort.

    Collaboration is the key to any successful educational endeavor. This is a profession in which colleagues possess a wealth of different expertise, perspectives, and resources. In addition, teachers, Social Workers, community resources and other staff members play different roles in the life of a student at school, and therefore have multiple opportunities to foster student growth. As a Social Worker, part of my role in the collaborative process is to support teachers and advocate for students. Including parents in this process, creates an aligned, cohesive support system for students and families. Therefore, developing a comprehensive program requires the cooperative effort of the Social Worker, teachers, staff, parents, and the community.

    Last, but certainly not least is fostering the love of learning. This starts with adults modeling how a life-long learner thinks and behaves. Long gone are the days of teachers having all the answers. Part of fostering a growth mindset is presenting questioning, searching and struggling through challenges and curiosities of learning! Students need to be provided with genuine experiences and given opportunities to solve their own problems with guided support. Creating a secure and safe environment provides the foundation to allow students to focus on this process. Actively listening and providing strategic questioning empowers students to find their own answers. Also, offering new perspectives guides students through the process. 

    Some of the programs that are being implemented at PLES help in building those trusting relationships, collaborative efforts and honing problem-solving skills. 

    1.  This year, PLES will use a Responsive Classroom approach in order to help build those trusting relationships between staff and students.  This includes a morning meeting where students get to greet, share, do an activity and read a morning message every day. We also use a closing meeting to check on how the student's day went.  We feel this helps to build relationships and engage our students.

    2.  During the month of October, PLES has a Diversity week.  We have lessons around diversity and what makes us different.  We stress how differences make us unique.  During that week, we will have a mix it up spirit week and a special mix it up lunch.  

    3.  Our Watch Dogs program helps to build collaborative relationships between Dads and our students.  Our dad volunteers help with security, classroom activities and most of all interacting/playing with students at recess.  If you are an interested Dad, please let me know.

    4.  Empathy is taught at PLES during the months of January and February.  During this time, students learn about what Empathy means through lessons and grades 2-6 are able to interview different groups of people (family members, school personnel, community members, each other or middle school students).  This is a collaborative effort that is a great learning experience for the students and a lot of fun for everyone.

Phone: (719) 488-4760


Degrees and Certifications:

Mrs. Lori Ann Mc Connell

I am happy to begin my eighth year as the School Social Worker for the 2022-2023 school year. I am a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Colorado and have my Colorado Department of Education Special Services License. Before coming to Colorado, I worked for 10 years as a Social Worker in the State of Alabama. Since being here, I have worked as a Kindergarten Para/Building Aide at Palmer Lake Elementary. I will work with children in individual, group, and whole class teaching social and emotional skills. I have two children who attend Palmer Ridge High School and a cat named Little Bo who loves to play with our children on the playground. I can most easily be reached at I will be happy to meet with you and/or your child. I will respond to any e-mail or phone call within 24 hours during weekdays. I can't wait to begin my work with your children.  I am available from 8:45 am to 3:55 pm Monday through Friday.  

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