Discussion Over Dinner

Middle School Education in LaPorte

Middle school is a time of transition where children become teenagers. It can be an experience of growth and independence, but also one of uncertainty and loneliness. So many adolescent changes unfold in middle school.

This month's Discussion Over Dinner is about middle school education in LaPorte, Indiana. Among many other things, we talked about the experience of middle schoolers in LaPorte and how it has changed over the last few years and the new middle/intermediate school in LaPorte.

Moderator: Nate Loucks
Content: Kelli Tanger
Production: Becky Crain
Video: Joe Fratena
Sound: Jason Clemons
Graphics: Alyssa Lingle
Food Service: Joel Crain, Jeff Meinhard


THE PANELISTS:

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Deb Carter

Deb Carter, current principal at Boston Middle School in La Porte, has been in education for nearly 30 years. Her journey started as a Family Consumer Science teacher at Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School and Elkhart Memorial High School. She then moved into education leadership, starting first as an assistant principal at Elkhart Memorial and then as principal at Rochester Middle School. Her feet, however, have been firmly planted at Boston Middle School since 2011, and she will serve as principal at the brand new La Porte Middle School next year. Besides her leadership roles at BMS, Carter sits on many committees for La Porte Community School Corporation including the Steering Committee for the new building projects and as a board member for Slicer Champions. She is also extremely active around the state, even serving as a board member for the Indiana Middle-Level Education Association.

Outside of education, Carter lives in South Bend with her husband, Rick Carter. She is the mother of two, Sarah and Adam, stepmother of Lauren and Grant and the proud grandmother of Jack, Elle, and Carter. In her free time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, read, attend musicals and travel. Deb has a passion for education, is a lifelong learner and considers herself as a leader in service to her staff, students and community.   

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Susy lenig

Susy Lenig has 25 years in education, six of those years as a high school English teacher and over 18 years as a Professional School Counselor. She started as a counselor at La Porte High School, then spent a season at Crichfield Elementary School and is currently one of Boston Middle School's counselors. Her passion is advocating for and helping her students become the best people they can be, given any situation they are in. She is very interested in Trauma-Informed Care, both within the community and school settings, and learns all she can about how TIC can help students and staff alike. She is a trained ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Presenter and enjoys teaching others about how mental and emotional trauma can affect someone from birth through adulthood, in addition to providing information on how to help ACE adolescents and teenagers. She is also a QPR Suicide Trainer, and helps provide training to school staff on how to help students who are in crisis, in addition to being certified in CPI (Non-violent Crisis Intervention), and is a member of Indiana School Counselors Association and the National School Counselors Association.

Susy is married with three teenage children. Her husband is a teacher in the New Prairie school system where her children attend. Education has always been in her blood as her mom was an elementary school teacher, her aunt a principal, and her brother as a lawyer representing school systems. Being a school counselor is something she truly loves and enjoys. She feels school counselors are absolutely necessary for schools because of the diverse social/emotional needs of students in LaPorte County.

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SARAH PESSMEG

Sarah Pessmeg has been a Professional School counselor for four years at Boston Middle School.  She continually works to learn as much as she can to help her students and is very interested in Trauma-Informed Care and Restorative Practices within school communities.  As an ACE(Adverse Childhood Experiences) trainer, Sarah understands that emotional trauma from birth through teenage years can produce adults who are dysregulated, and she strives to help the middle school children she serves to learn to self-regulate so they can become productive adults.  She is an advocate for her students and cares very much about them. Sarah is certified in CPI(Non-Violent Crisis Intervention) and is a member of both the Indiana School Counselor’s Association and the National School Counselor’s Association.

Sarah has two teenage children and lives with her significant other.  She enjoys nature, gardening, exercising, and school counseling. Her goal is to someday be an LMHC and work with families to create healthy family relationships and lives.