Dimensions Collaborative School
A Message From the Director
Congratulations Class of 2020!
To the Graduates and Aspiring Future Graduates:
As author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon points out, “This virus may have stolen your senior year and graduation, but it cannot and will not steal your future. While you will always remember this painful time, you'll also be the generation that doesn't take anything for granted.” Stay positive, work hard, and believe the best is yet to come!
To empower and inspire you on your new journey, remember you are here for a reason and the most important thing you can do in life is to find, live, and share your purpose.
Aligning with your unique purpose is echoed in the work of cultural historian Thomas Berry in his book, The Dream of the Earth, when he states, “There is no absolute model of the individual. Personal realization involves a unique creative effort in response to all those interior and exterior forces that enter into the individual … every being has its own interior, its self, its mystery …. To deprive any being of this sacred quality is to disrupt the larger order of the universe.”
We each have our place in “the larger order of the universe” and this principle is at the heart of your work with your Educational Facilitator (EF), and your educational experience. Your EF sought to draw out your unique talents, interests, abilities, etc., to help you discover, express, and grow into your individuality. In fact, the idea of education itself comes from the Latin term “educare” which means to draw out.
This is your ongoing work. At any level of your k-12 experience, your great work is to be drawn out into your life’s purpose. So, pursue your next step in life to find your own special place in “the order of the universe” which only you can fulfill, and in your own unique way make the world a better place!
Enjoy your summer!
Student Spotlight: DCS 2020 Graduates
Please Use this Link to Begin Virtual Program
Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Our Students!
Executive Functioning … It’s Personal
Circadian rhythms, a fancy term for our natural clock, plays an essential role in executive functioning. Simply put, executive function skills pertain to our memory, thinking, and self-control. Each of us has a chronotype, or preferred pattern, in which we are at our peak and our low in a 24-hour period when it comes to regulating emotions, focusing attention, organizing a project, planning a day, and seeing different points of view.
While social cues (i.e. man-made work schedules) and environmental cues (i.e. sunrise and sunset) bring cycles more into sync within a society, chronotypes outside “the norm” can struggle. There is evidence that Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) is a result of circadian rhythm being out of sync due to delayed release of nighttime melatonin. A night owl wakes feeling he is flying into a tornado for the better part of the school morning.
It is not uncommon to hear about teenagers who struggle in their first period class. While a student may be failing first period Algebra, he will likely be more successful in concentrating and absorbing information if permitted to engage later in the day. Another first period conundrum is Physical Education. While research supports that fitness sparks the brain for concentration, there are secondary issues that arise with first period PE such as trying to feel, look, and smell one’s best after a rushed morning in a cramped gym with a bunch of other teenagers. A customized learning plan schedules PE when the student can gain the most benefit.
Whether a morning lark, a night owl, or some other bird, the customized learning plan empowers student success by embracing, rather than fighting, natural rhythms. Students are given autonomy to master standards at their own pace and in their own space where pondering, walking around, tapping a pencil, and humming are all permitted. With increased flexibility, students work through structured curriculum in far less time, thus providing more time for hobbies and socialization. They find their groove by expanding their learning network beyond peers and school, and they engage in meaningful work. Best of all, they find something worth getting out of bed for.
The EdTech Connection
Dimensions Collaborative provides Microsoft Office 365 to our students, thus providing access to products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams. With the conditions associated with COVID-19, we have increased our use of Teams and expect to continue that practice indefinitely. Just as training is at the top of our priorities for staff, we plan to boost our training for students next Fall as well. In the meantime, we encourage your family to explore the possibilities and use of these products this summer.
Free tutorials can be found at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/training?ui=en-us&rs=en-us&ad=us. If time is limited, at the very least, you will want to learn more about Teams at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/distance-learning-with-office-365-guidance-for-parents-and-guardians-89d514f9-bf5e-4374-a731-a75d38ddd588
FIT BODY, FIT MIND
The Kaiser Permanente Get Fit & Thrive Challenge is designed to promote healthy family living. San Diego children 6-14 years of age can participate in the summer-long program that offers simple solutions to keep families healthy and active in fun, interactive ways, while rewarding children with a fun prize.
By performing simple activities such as: taking a walk, going for a bike ride, cooking a healthy meal with parents, and visiting the Kaiser Permanente website for healthy living tips, participants will be entered in a monthly drawing for one day, unlimited rides at Belmont Park, and all qualified participants will be entered to win the grand prize: a weekend getaway for 4 (2 adults & 2 children) at the Hotel del Coronado, that includes a 2-night stay, private s’mores on the beach, and a breakfast buffet.
Navigating the Teen Years
Neuroscience continues to provide us with new information about the brain, the mind and relationships. In this 4-1/2 minute video, Dr. Dan Siegel dispels some myths about teens and offers useful insights for parents. Please watch the video now at this link, and we’ll continue on the other side!
So, we know that experience helps shape the brain. What kinds of experiences can we offer teens that will optimize brain growth, life skills and well-being? Here are just a few.
Empowerment. Teens are exploring and exercising their personal power and autonomy. Did you know that the average age of a Pony Express rider in 1860, riding alone over great distances delivering mail and packages, was 15? In today’s society, teens have the bodies of adults but the status of children. When given choices and opportunities to contribute, young people are capable of many things. Move from “pilot” to “co-pilot” by asking for their ideas, making agreements together and giving responsibility.
“Would you be willing to share the driving on our trip?”
“How can we work together to figure this out?”
Encouragement. Courage and self-discipline are linked, and are demonstrated by doing the right thing when no one is watching, forcing or bribing, and by taking action despite fear, opposition, difficulty or defeat. Encouragement is creating the space for another to take these steps. When people feel better, they do better. Teens feel recognized when we express our appreciation, notice effort, and give votes of confidence.
“I noticed how much effort you put into your project.”
“I have faith in you to figure it out for yourself.”
Connection. Even though teens are focused on moving into the wider world, they still need to know we are there. Make sure the message of love gets through by listening, validating feelings, and showing compassion.
“That’s an interesting idea. Tell me more.”
“What would be the most helpful thing I can do?”
The teen years can be bittersweet as parents realize our job is really to do ourselves out of a job. We can take encouragement in knowing that while this involves letting go, there can also be a sense of pride as we watch our children come into their own. This recent quote from Chris Cuomo speaks to the point: “There’s no better way to measure what you’ve actually meant in the world than by the kids you bring into it.”
For more information about these and other Positive Discipline Tools:
Positive Discipline for Teenagers by Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott
Brainstorm by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.
Building a Successful Home-Learning Environment (Part II)
Did you know reframing strategies can help your child view himself with confidence? Reframing can also help how one views events around them. The Learning Success Workshops define and offer reframing activities. This article will focus on building confidence by our “teaching” words.
The podcast Downshift or Uplift? shares two stories on how quickly a young person can become mediocre in their strengths through the exposure of well-meaning teaching/lesson plans. This is the same with our words and expectations in the home.
How do you create a learning environment where your child believes they are capable, worthy and self-directed? First, let go of the picture of your “perfect” child and “lesson” plan. Embrace the child you have and celebrate their many beautiful qualities. Develop a learning plan using their Power Traits* as an anchor. Your Educational Facilitator is your support in creating a personalized learning plan for your family. Talk to them now to begin preparations for the fall.
Then, enjoy summer and be refreshed!
Remember, celebrating in small ways leads to more success.
"Success is like a vitamin; a child needs at least one a day!"
Student Support Manager
Learning Success Coach, III
*The Self-Portrait Power Traits Assessment helps you to answer these questions and create a personalized home-learning environment. With the help of your Educational Facilitator (EF), your home can be one of peaceful and purposeful communication, and a haven for learning. Understanding each other’s Power Traits is a support tool must for every home.
Parchment: Requesting Copies of Your Transcripts
DCS is now partnering with Parchment to fulfil all transcript requests for current and past graduates. Parchment is a secure service that allows students to request their transcripts be sent to schools and organizations of their choosing. Official transcripts can be sent via mail or electronically and can be tracked along the way.
To begin a transcript order, please use the link below:
Counseling Corner with Audrey Kirk
From the Student Leadership Program:
We are excited to announce that the 2020 Student Leadership Program (SLP) will be offered virtually this summer. Registration for this summer is now open to students who will be in the 9th - 12th grade in fall 2020. The final deadline to register is June 14, 2020.
The Student Leadership Program -- Virtual will be offered at a discounted price of $199. This new two-week virtual program will focus on leadership development, addressing needs in your community, one-to-one mentoring, and connecting with like-minded students from across the nation. We are looking forward to connecting and being a part of your leadership journey in a whole new way -- fully virtual.
Session 1: July 6 - July 17, 2020
Session 2: July 27 - August 7, 2020