Big House News & Information

April 2020

Distance Learning at the Big House

Dear Casa Grande Community,

Please enjoy the latest edition of the Big House News and Information which includes a number of important resources to sustain us all through the coming weeks.

As the days roll by amid the unfolding pandemic, we are both challenged and emboldened as a community to face the road ahead. At the Big House, as always, teaching and learning reigns strong despite significant stress and hurdles. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the resilience and determination of our teachers and students and hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to step back, and reflect on the importance and power of our journey together.

Our strength is in our compassion for ourselves and each other. Our brilliance lies in the depth of our community. I miss you all and hope you are doing well and taking excellent care of yourselves and your families. Stay strong and hang in there Gauchos - we are in this together!

Dr. Ostermann, Principal

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@casagrandehighschool #CGBigHouse

Follow our Official Instagram!!! We will be using Instagram to stay connected and share tips, advice, and strategies for being successful during distance learning.
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Taking Care of Yourself During the Coronavirus Pandemic

At this time, information about COVID-19 is rapidly evolving as new details are confirmed and new questions emerge. As a parent/caregiver, your first concern is about how to protect and take care of your family. Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties. These resources will help you think about how an infectious disease outbreak might affect your family—both physically and emotionally—and what you can do to help your family cope.

Wellness Apps

There are many free and effective technology-based resources that you can download to help manage your mental health and wellbeing during this time. Some of our favorites include:

Stop, Breathe, & Think
SBT is an emotional wellness platform that teaches meditation and mindfulness. Their mission is to help kids, teens and young adults build the emotional strength to tackle life’s ups and downs.

Download in the Apple Store of Google Play store (free)

The app provides opportunities for users to try out a variety of mindfulness practices, while also teaching them interesting facts about the brain science behind those practices.

Download in the Apple Store of Google Play store (free)

My3 App
MY3 lets you stay connected if/when you are having thoughts of suicide. With MY3, you define your network and your plan to stay safe. With MY3 you can be prepared to help yourself and reach out to others when you are having thoughts of suicide.

Download in the Apple Store of Google Play store (free)

Calm Harm
The urge to self-harm is like a wave.
It feels the most powerful when you start wanting to do it.

Learn to ride the wave with the free Calm Harm app using these activities, which incorporate the basic principles of an evidence-based therapy called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).:
Comfort, Distract, Express Yourself, Release, Random and Breathe.
When you ride the wave, the urge to self-harm will fade.

Libecap Recommends

Hello students and parents! This is Nathan Libecap, Teacher-Libraraian at Casa Grande with a few resources to add to your list :)

1. If you don't already have one, please be sure to check out the FREE resources at the Sonoma County Library. They offer a free digital library card (make sure to email or write down your number and pin so you don't forget!). With this digital library card, you can access awesome reading and audiobook apps like Hoopla and Libby. Starting this week, there are unlimited checkouts and audiobooks for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Be sure to follow their Facebook page for daily activities and updates ... all free.

2. Self care suggestions from "Psychology Today".

3. Here is a personal recommendation for learning some information literacy techniques as we are being overwhelmed with information. You will begin learning how to use very practical techniques to determine rumor from fact so that you can make the best decisions for you and your family.

Take care,

Nathan Libecap
Casa Grande High School

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News from Counseling

Greetings from the CGHS Counseling Department. I hope that you are all safe and healthy...

In order to best serve our students and parents during these challenging circumstances, The school counselors have launched some new tools to reach out and connect with our students. We've created a GOOGLE classroom for Counseling (student access code: 3cwwiqb) This will be used to post relevant information and links for announcements, services, and support. etc. Students and parents/guardians can now book ZOOM video meetings with their school counselors through their GOOGLE calendars. We've added a short slideshow to the COUNSELING page on the CGHS website. The slideshow provides students and parents with a variety of resources to guide them through the angst of Distance Learning. It’s brief and to the point...I’d suggest that students be given an “assignment” to view it, just to get the word out!

If students or parents have ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS, please reach out. We are here to help!

School counselors will typically be available for 20 minute ZOOM appointments Monday - Friday from 9am-11am and 1pm-3pm. Please visit the school counselor appointment page to check availability and request an appointment (see links below). Other appointment times may be available Monday-Friday by request; please email your counselor.


Students Served


Zoom appointment links

Paul Koene

A - Co

Mr. Koene zoom

Brett Sklove

Cr - Gin

Mr. Sklove zoom

Kathy Jelin

Gio - Maq

Ms. Jelin zoom

Julie Powaser

Mar - Ri

Ms. Powaser zoom

Shana Friedman

Ro - Z

Ms. Friedman zoom

Support Staff

Our Registrar, Grete Hansen, can be best reached by email:

Our College & Career Center Outreach Specialist, Valarie Alston, can be best reached by email:

Since we are all working remotely and are not able to answer our main counseling office phone, you may call us at (707) 559-5181. This temporary number will be answered in person (in English or Spanish) during our normal business hours 7:30am to 4pm.

Our counseling secretary, Jenn Cox, and our student records clerk, Vanessa Alvarado, can be reached by email, should you have any general questions. Their email addresses are and

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