EEA Student & Parent News
A message from your Principal
EEA families and students,
Welcome Back! We are very excited to kick off the school year. We have been busy prepping for the new year and have some exciting things to share.
The first item isn't so exciting but is essential to address. It's attendance. Collectively, our students missed over 2,000 days of school last year! Yikes! That was an average of 75% attendance per student. Some students upheld fabulous attendance - 22 had attendance levels over 90%. If your child was in that boat, congratulations! If yours wasn't, we have lots of support ready to make this year different.
While we know we were still in the midst of some quarantines and so on, over 2,000 days is still an excessive amount. That is a lot of time that students weren't accessing anything academic. This year there will be an extensive focus on attendance. Our collective goal will be 92% attendance.
While we recognize that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, we still need to focus on being here if at all able. We are working to prepare students for life after high school. Most workplaces do not give employees more than 10 sick days per year. That is the amount you are allowed to excuse your child in a school year before absences become unexcused unless there are med notes for those absences. If there is an ongoing medical condition, make sure to get med notes at appointments and to let us know so we can work with the health office to set up a health plan.
Meeting the attendance goal of 92% would mean a student is missing 14 days of school in a 9-month period. That is in addition to 5 in-service days off and 17 break or holidays off (36 days total in 9 months, plus weekends). No workplace offers that much time off until an employee has been there for many years.
Some other items for families to remember:
- Any time sleeping will be marked absent as they are not entering their APEX classes while asleep. We have added additional resources for students in the classroom to assist in their need for movement (balance boards, etc). If they are feeling tired, it will be their responsibility to choose a resource to use.
- Excessive time spent in the bathroom will result in a parent meeting to strategize the situation. If there is a documented medical issue and the student is falling behind in their work, they may need to do work at home after school. If there is not a documented medical issue, and it is an avoidance activity, excessive times will be marked unexcused.
-Mental health issues are critical to address. And while those are being addressed, we have to work toward the student functioning in a classroom. Those mental health situations don’t often disappear at graduation, and we want students to develop coping mechanisms now that will help them after high school. If a student is unable to attend school regularly or stay in class because of these situations, ask us for a list of resources and we’d be happy to help figure out what additional supports are needed.
On to the exciting things...
We know that many people struggle with ADHD, depression, and anxiety. Because of that, we have dug into some research on things we might do at school that can help. Turns out that some of the answers are really simple and are supports we can easily embed in the day! How exciting!
Exercise increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These are all neurotransmitters important in thoughts and emotions. According to Spark, a book by Dr. John Ratey, "exercise is truly the best defense against everything from mood disorders to ADHD to addiction." Further, "the brain works just as muscles do - growing with use, withering with inactivity." And, "getting your heart and lungs pumping can be the difference between a calm, focused mind and a harried, inattentive self."
So, we will absolutely have more focus on movement.
Students who keep their calendar in good standing with no missing assignments as of Thursday afternoons earn a late start of 8:30 the following week. Cafe will still be available for those students from 7:45-8:25.
Those not earning the late start will see a shift in the Dive In expectations.
Because "getting your heart and lungs pumping can be the difference between a calm, focused mind and a harried, inattentive self" (Ratey, 2008), Dive In will now be a physical exercise time. Students who do not earn the late start can expect to start their morning engaging in some form of physical activity designed to get their hearts pumping and their brains activated. These activities will range from brisk walks to free weights to yoga and hopefully mixed martial arts.
Movement throughout the day:
Because of the lack of supervision available, if a student is upset, taking a lap will not be a go-to strategy. Students will be provided with various tools in their classrooms to help them stay in the room and complete work. These include balance boards to use at tall tables and fidget discs they can sit on that provide core strengthening and movement. We will be trying these things out as a class so all students have a comfort level with using what they need.
We are very excited about how these things may positively impact our students' brain and body health!
We can't wait to see you all at the open house.
Enjoy the last week of summer break!
Daily School Schedule- 22-23
7:30-8:15- Yellow Bus Arrival, Breakfast7:45-8:25- Dive In- Learning for assigned students (required) or Morning Cafe- Optional for students w/ no overdue assignments.
8:30-9:00- Morning Advisory
9:00-11:30- APEX and other classes
11:40-1:10- Lunch/ P.E./Reading block
1:10-3:10- APEX and other classes
3:15-3:30- End of day block (CNN10/Closing circle)
EEA Open House
OPEN HOUSE for ALL students
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
This is a great opportunity to get students and families back in the mood for the upcoming school year that begins on Thursday, September 1st @ 8:30 AM. Of course there’s always some housekeeping that needs to be done, so make sure when you arrive to check-in at the table to pick up your paperwork. All paperwork needs to be completed that night so come ready to fill in the blanks! We have been working hard this summer to make things as easy as possible for your family's transition back this fall.
Feel free to bring any supplies that your student wants to have on hand. You will meet your student’s advisor and classrooms will be open. A list of locker assignments and combinations will also be available.
We look forward to seeing you at the Open House!
Student Services Information
The pupil service members at EEA are available to offer further assistance and services to your student. Our school counselor, school social worker, and school psychologist can assist students who may need additional academic, emotional, social, behavioral, and/or attendance support. If you would like to speak with someone able to help, please contact one of the following pupil service professionals:
Pupil Services staff:
School Counselor - Heather Rasmussen, 715-261-0626 ext. 23626, email@example.com
School Social Worker - Sarah Nilles, 715-261-0668, firstname.lastname@example.org
School Psychologist - Matthew Mitchell, 715-261-0959, email@example.com
We are also excited to offer the opportunity for students to receive services from community counselors who partner with the EEA, and provide professional counseling to students onsite. Currently, our partner is the Bridge Community Health Clinic, please use this Mental Health Service form to notify us if you would like to refer your child, or feel free to give a pupil services staff member a call to get more information.