Take 5 for SEL

Whole Child, Whole Community Learning

Welcome to the Mental Health edition. May is Mental Health Month!

Highlights of this issue:


  • The mental health benefits of being in nature
  • Teacher Appreciation week!
  • May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
  • How to support a loved one who confides in you about mental health struggles.
  • Teachers & staff receive training in Youth Mental Health First Aid.
  • Fentanyl Awareness Day with links to helpful webinars.
  • Books to support SEL practices and inclusion.
  • A Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Video Series from the Child Mind Institute.
  • Our Hays CISD Powerful Parenting Session with Tips on Balancing Activities and Structure.
  • Ideas for Outdoor Summer Fun!
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May dates to remember

Monday, May 1st, National Principal's Day!

Friday, May 5th - Cinco de Mayo

Monday, May 8th - Friday May 12th TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK! 🎉

Tuesday, May 9th National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Wednesday, May 10th Hays CISD Powerful Parenting Presentation

Sunday, May 14th - Mother's Day

Thursday, May 25th Last Day of School

Monday, May 29th - Memorial Day


HAYS CISD GRADUATION CEREMONIES 🎓 STRAHAN ARENA, TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY


  • Johnson High School, Tuesday, May 30th @ 2pm
  • Lehman High School, Tuesday, May 30th @ 6pm
  • Hays High School, Wednesday, May 31st @ 2pm
  • Live Oak Academy High School, Wednesday, May 31st @6pm
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Join with us in Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week May 8th - 12th! Help our Hays CISD educators know just how appreciated they are!

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Webinar Tuesday, May 2nd @ 12 - 2pm CDT

FREE Webinar: Fentanyl, What Every Family Needs to Know

Get educational tools and resources and learn why teens are vulnerable to deceptive drug dealing practices on social media.

St. Edward's University Parenting Series: WARNING SIGNS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE Wednesday, May 3rd @ 5 - 6pm

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Hays CISD Fentanyl Awareness

Click here for more information about Be Drug Free for Summer '23. https://www.hayscisd.net/fentanyl
Signs of Overdose and How to Help

*Once on the page, scroll down for signs of overdose and emergency steps to intervene.

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Experiencing Nature Supports Social-emotional Health & Well-Being

Being in nature can reduce stress and anxiety. Prosocial conduct - cooperating, sharing and comforting - is associated with exposure to the sense of wonder and awe encountered in nature. Similarly, spending time in nature with friends and family creates deeper bonds, solidarity, and social networks. Engaging in learning outside supports children's social interaction skills, confidence building, problem-solving, independence, negotiation skills and creativity.

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Mental and Emotional Health Benefits of Being in Nature may include:

  • Reduced stress. Research shows that spending time in nature reduces stress. The study by Cornell University found that as little as ten minutes in a natural setting helped participants feel happier and lessen the effects of both physical and mental stress.
  • Elevated mood and lowered depression. A study on how natural experiences may affect the mind showed that participants in the study showed improved mental wellbeing. Time in nature can also be an important part of wilderness therapy for military veterans.
  • Increased short term memory. A study by the University of Michigan found that nature walks can improve short-term memory. .
  • Improved vision. Natural daylight may benefit eyesight by reducing the risk of developing myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness. Dopamine is released by the stimulus of bright outdoor light, helping the eye to maintain a healthy shape.
  • Greater creativity. Studies on the impact of nature on creativity show that nature can enhance creative ways of thinking.
  • Increased sense of spirituality. Spending time in nature can benefit spirituality and wellbeing. The often reported feelings of restoration, healing, and spirituality from those that have experienced nature may help people to embrace the journey of self-discovery and help to create a feeling of connectedness, shared purpose, rhythm, and balance.

THE WALL THAT HEALS

LAKE KYLE PARK, 700 LEHMAN RD

KYLE, TX

MAY 4TH - 7TH, 2023

The wall that heals will be available for viewing 24hrs. a day, starting May 4th, and closes @ 2pm Sunday May 7th.

Free Admission

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Many of our Hays CISD teachers and staff are certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid, with additional training offered this summer!

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What to Say When A Friend or Loved One Confides in You

Learn key statements that will help your people feel heard, valued, safe and seen.

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Child Mind Institute Video Series on Mental Health

The video Series has a three different sections, each broken down by elementary, middle and high school

  • For Parents
  • For Educators
  • For Students

Hemos reunido una serie de videos en español para padres de familia sobre la salud mental de sus hijos, preparados por el Instituto de la Mente del Niño.

Summer Reading: Books that Reinforce SEL Skills and Promote Inclusion & Understanding

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Newly released children's book by Texas author Tiffany Hammond!

The story highlights the bond between mother and child and follows them on a day where they use a tablet to communicate with others.

Written by Tiffany Hammond, autistic mother of two autistic sons and the creator behind the popular @Fidgets.and.Fries social media platform and illustrated by Kate Cosgrove (IG @k8cosgrove), A Day With No Words successfully normalizes communication methods outside of verbal speech and provides representation of neurodiversity and autism in a way that affirms and celebrates.
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Summer Activities

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Did you know? Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio is where 98.5% of long-distance migratory bird species in the US pass through?

Birdwatching and Hearing Birdsong Can Improve Mental Health

Living in the heart of Texas we're familiar with the distinctive sounds of the common grackle whose songs range from sweet tinkling noises to loud clacks and metallic hisses to a call one biologist described as a "rusty gate hinge". According to a recent study "everyday encounters with birdlife were associated with time-lasting improvements in mental well-being." Additional studies echo the benefits finding, "watching birds near you, listening to birdsong, and being around birds boosts mental health." Our busy days can keep us unaware of all the different types of birds all around us. The mindful nature of birdwatching makes it both a happy and healing opportunity.


When getting outside in nature - day or night - remember our migrating birds. Many bird species, including vireos, gnatcatchers and flycatchers, are nocturnal migrators. Turn off or dim evening lights - it helps migratory night fliers. Less light pollution means we can better enjoy the big and bright stars in our Texas night skies. 🌌


Sources: Nature.com and Mind Help News: Can Birdwatching Improve Our Mental Health?

Did you know? Most birds in North America are migratory and 80% of them make their journey across the night sky. Here's how you can help.

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Newsletter designed by Tracy Mayhue, ESSER SEL Specialist