Winter Edition

Hello MKA Parents!

It is hard to believe that we are already approaching the second half of the school year. The fall has gone by quickly and we hope you all are having as great a year as we are! The three of us are very excited to be distributing our second edition of "Counselor Clips," the tri-campus counseling newsletter. This edition will include material in the form of articles, books and podcasts about resilience, a crucial trait to growth and development.

Happy Reading!

Jodi Smith (Primary School Counselor)

Daniella Kessler (Middle School Counselor)

Joan Weller (Upper School Counselor)


What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to overcome adversity. Explained another way, "resilience is the ability to steer through serious life challenges and find ways to bounce back and to thrive” (Pierson and Kordich-Hall).

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Some people come by resilience more naturally than others, but the good news is that resilience can be fostered given the right environment. Resilience skills can be learned.

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Outside supports and inner strengths work together to develop our resilience.*

*Above diagrams and information taken from the pamphlet, “Building Resilience in Young Children”, Best Start Resource Center, Jennifer Pearson, B.F.A and Darlene Kordich, R.N., Ph.D.

Why is resilience important?

"By helping your child build resiliency, you vaccinate them from future difficulties.” *

Resiliency allows an individual to cope with stress, form stable relationships and meet with success. This enables one to become a happy, independent and responsible adult. When you help to build resiliency in your child, you are developing their self-esteem, confidence, optimism, stick-to-itiveness, responsibility and capacity for empathy.

*The Resilient Child: Seven Essential Lessons for Your Child's Happiness and Success Paperback – October 1, 2008

by George S. Everly, Jr.,Ph.D. (Author), Sloane Brown (Contributor)

What can parents do to foster resilience?

Author Michael Grose describes four basic skill sets a child needs to develop in order for them to be resilient. They are: independence, problem solving, optimism and social connection. Grose offers suggestions in the following article on how to parent in order to foster these important skills in your child.

"10 Ways to Make Your Children More Resilient" by Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and Sam Goldstein, Ph.D.

In this last article, author Jessica Lahey discusses a new study that delves into the importance of allowing children to fail and to discover the resources within themselves to overcome setbacks that will ultimately lead to success.

What does MKA do to foster resilience?

At MKA, we recognize the importance of a balance between teaching academics and social emotional learning, guided by our Mission Statement, Character Standards, Our Common Purpose, Anti-Bullying Standards and our Diversity & Inclusion Statement of Purpose. Through integration of the above standards and our MKA programming and curriculum, there are many examples of things we do that promote resiliency and that help foster some of the traits often linked to strong and resilient children. A sampling of these include:

  • Responsive Classroom – This approach focuses on social, emotional and team skill building through teacher language, modeling and classroom expectations. The Morning Meeting is an essential element of this program (Primary School)
  • SEL (social/emotional learning) based advisory groups (Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Classroom SEL lessons using both the MKA Anti-Bullying Standards (adapted from the Olweus Anti-Bullying Program) and Character Standards as a guide to build coping skills, problem-solving skills and social/emotional awareness (Primary and Middle Schools)
  • Service Learning Projects (Primary, Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Counselor-led lunch bunches to enhance social and emotional well-being and problem-solving skills in a small group setting focusing on friendship skills, social skills and self-regulation, thus building a sense of competency (Primary, Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Peer Leader Program/Peer Mediators (Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Parent SEL workshops to build a partnership between parents and the school in fostering the development of SEL skills in the children (Primary, Middle and Upper Schools)
  • MKA curriculum and programming that builds resilience through allowing choice, risk taking, self-discovery, goal setting and gradual release of responsibility (Primary, Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Pre-K and third grade buddy program enhances students’ sense of responsibility, competence and community
  • Disciplinary Measures/Executive Committee/Diversion Plan program/Honor Board allow for students to receive fair and thoughtful courses of action (Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Parent Connection/Coffee discussions with various members of the faculty throughout the school year (Primary, Middle, and Upper Schools)
  • 8th Grade Positive Choices Day
  • Community Service commitment for 11th and 12th graders
  • Student Assistance Programs including Prevention, Education and Early Intervention (Upper School)
  • House System encouraging cross-grade connections (Upper School)
  • Clubs and CSI (Community Service Initiatives) involvement (Middle and Upper Schools)
  • Tuesday Talks - meaningful talks by various members of the community with a general moral message (Upper School)
  • Captivating Conversations Event (Primary, Middle and Upper Schools)

Additional Resources


1) According to author Renee Jain, “The biggest influence {on resilience} is our cognitive

style – the way we think.” In this fascinating article, the author references the ABC’s of resilience, a model formerly introduced by psychologist Albert Ellis in 1962. This simple tool helps to foster self-awareness, a characteristic that those with resilience should possess.

2) Responsibility and resilience go hand-in-hand when it comes to children and adolescents. In this read, Lindsey Tischart, a counselor at New Leaf Academy of Oregon Therapeutic Boarding School for Girls, hones in on three components that she believes are essential to nurturing responsibility in teens: internal motivation, the teen’s ability to respond and the parent’s ability to hold their child accountable.

3) Children will inevitably experience tough times and hardships. How we teach them to cope is where the trait of resilience comes to play. In this article by the Raising Children Network, ideas and tips are provided about how to best support and teach your child the importance of being resilient.

Podcasts/TED Talks:

Carol Dweck: "The Power of Believing that you Can Improve" (November, 2014)


Angela Lee Duckworth: "The Key to Success? Grit" (April, 2013)

Paul Tough: "Children Succeed with Character not Test Scores" (September, 2012)

Suggested Adult Reads:

Mindset by Carol Dweck

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel

The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go so Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey

Suggested Student Reads:

Primary School:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Bounce Back: A book about Resilience by Cheri J. Meiners

The Hugging Tree: A Story about Resilience by Jill Neimark & Nicole Wong

Ragcoat by Lauren Mills

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henke

Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henke

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Harriet and the Roller Coaster by Nancy Carlson

Middle and Upper School:

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (4th and 5th grade)

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson (7th grade and up)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (5th grade and up)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (6th grade and up)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (4th grade and up)

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (8th grade and up)

I am Malala by Malala Yousafsi (6th grade and up)

Outcasts United by Warren St. John (8th grade and up)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (8th grade and up)

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Holocaust fiction) (high school only)

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (8th grade and up)

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson (8th grade and up)

*Please always read the suggested books first before allowing your children to read them. Only you know what is an appropriate read for your child.