Preparing for the Holidays
Thanks to our district's focus on attendance this year and a commitment by our students and families to make attendance a priority, we have seen a great improvement in attendance during the last three months at all of our schools. Let's keep the momentum going by showing up every day, especially through the upcoming holiday season.
As we enter the holiday season, we want to reinforce the importance of school attendance. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after winter break as families squeeze in a few more vacation days. It’s time to break that cycle.
This holiday season, the best gift you can give your child is a good education. And the best place to get that education is in school. We know that just a few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. This is as true in kindergarten as it is in high school. We also know that attendance is a habit that children should learn early on if they’re going to succeed in school and eventually on the job.
We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. The costs of plane tickets often influence when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school— and the message you will be sending about the importance of attendance. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts.
You can help us convey that message. Give your children the gift of an education and the habit of attendance.
Student Supports Services
Gratitude is Good, but Why?
You may have heard before that gratitude can help improve your mood and even your health over time. This is true, and not just at a surface level of focusing our attention on things we like. When we express gratitude our brain kicks into action and releases two key chemicals that help us feel happy and significant. These brain chemicals are actually called neurotransmitters that travel between neurons in the brain and tell our body how things are going. When our brain starts to release dopamine, we feel energized and motivated like we just accomplished a goal or won a game. When it releases serotonin, we feel important and accepted among our peers. When we experience these feelings of happiness we are better able to tackle problems and overcome challenges in life. The bottom line is our brain convinces our bodies that things are going pretty well and we may not need to feel as stressed as we might.
As we approach the holiday season, which always seems to come with some extra stress, we can use gratitude as a scientifically proven approach to increase our overall happiness and resilience. This also isn’t just a trick for adults, it also works for our kids. And our kids are more likely to do things that are good for them when we model those actions first.
Here are a few simple steps from our friends at PositivePsychology.com to take your gratitude game to the next level:
1. Appreciate Yourself: Say kind words about yourself, start with the characteristics you like the most and once you become more practiced you might discover new things you’re proud of that you hadn’t noticed before. Say these words out loud, and in front of a mirror if you are able. If this feels strange to start, try it first in the shower or in the car when you are already by yourself.
Ask your kids to tell you two positive things they appreciate about themselves, just one word, no further explanation needed. Remind them to be kind if needed but otherwise, don’t make this a long conversation. Thank them for sharing those strengths and briefly encourage them to keep it up.
2. Keep a gratitude journal: This may be an old idea, but if you haven’t done this recently, take a shot at trying it again. You can even use your phone and jot down things you are thankful for in your notes app, or even on your calendar as a moment of gratitude at the start of every day. Take time to sit and do this with purpose. Doing this together with kids is a great activity to wind down the day without screens or devices. You could even draw pictures for an illustrated gratitude journal. Some helpful prompts for this activity could include: Compliments I would like to give myself today. Current challenges and why I am learning from them. People I am grateful for. Great things that exist in my life right now.
3. Get a gratitude buddy: Share your goals to practice gratitude with someone else you have contact with regularly. Do this with your own kids to model and to help them hold you accountable to practice with them.
Gratitude is one of those things that may not feel genuine when you work so hard at it like in these examples. But with a little practice, you’ll start feeling more grateful for the things we sometimes take for granted, including each other! This gratitude will lead to more happiness, which could lead to more feelings of gratitude. Happiness and gratitude go together like turkey and mashed potatoes. So why wait for Thanksgiving to start practicing gratitude? Start today–your brain will thank you with some happy chemicals and by the time you gather with family for the holidays, you’ll be a gratitude all-star!
THINK BEFORE YOU POST
People may behave differently online than they do in person - the large audience is invisible, so many feel protected by their screens. This can be a positive thing, like someone feeling more confident to open up and be themselves. But sometimes people will misuse social networks to shame and bully others.
Posting online is instant, public and more often than not, permanent. Once you post, you lose control of what happens to it - it only takes one friend to share it on their own profiles for it to be completely out of your hands.
The digital world is the real world with real consequences, so make sure you always ask yourself the following before you hit send!
Consider the following guidelines:
Will I feel good or different about it later?
Social media comes with one golden rule, don't post when you are angry. A split second of rage can have permanent consequences.
Why am I posting?
Is this something you really want to post, does it really reflect your personality and values? Don't follow the crowd or post just to gain attention, as you might not like the response you get back.
Would I say this in person?
No? Then don't say it online. Social accounts are managed by real people with real feelings. If you talk about someone online, think about whether you would feel embarrassed or ashamed if you saw them in person. If so, you may want to ask again, why am I posting?
Can this be interpreted differently?
Sarcasm and irony do not often transfer well into writing, especially in a short social media post. Think about how others may read it; could it be seen as offensive?
Am I being kind?
Treat others with the respect that you would like to receive yourself. If you read it about yourself, would it make you feel good?
Is it really private?
People often excuse inappropriate posts based on the idea that the conversation is private, as it is on a private account. Consider how many connections you have, are all these people very close friends? Can you trust that each one of them won't share or talk about your post with others? Facebook statistics suggest that the average young user has up to 300 online friends. This private profile suddenly doesn't seem so private at all.
Do I have permission?
You might find that badly angled photograph of your friend amusing, but the likelihood is that they will not. Be respectful of other people's privacy; don't share photos or information that will embarrass or humiliate someone.
Would I like me?
If you were a stranger looking in at your profile, what would you think? If most of your posts are in some way critical, unkind, offensive or negative, how do you think you are being perceived?
Is it legal?
In the eyes of the law, posting online is not the same as having an informal chat with your friends. Posting is publishing, just the same as if it was written in the newspaper. Even if your profile is private, you do not own what you publish - meaning anyone can use it as evidence.
Make sure you do not post anything that might get you into trouble with the law. Harassment, hate speech, threats of violence, ruining someone's reputation and pictures or comments suggesting illegal activity can all be used against you.
PJUSD is Hiring
Patterson Joint Unified School District is always looking for talented individuals to join our team. Oftentimes these individuals are first associated with our district as parents/guardians. If you are interested in employment with our district you can go to www.edjoin.org/pattersonunified to find our current vacancies. Please note that only applicants who are currently employed with PJUSD can submit interest for internal postings. However, we are currently looking for external vacancies as well for Yard Duty and Paraeducator team members.
Those not interested in permanent employment with Patterson Joint can apply to become a qualified substitute to fill in for staff absences. If you want more information on how to be added to our substitute list please contact Katie Jones by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.