Wildcat News

Issue 3: January 7, 2019

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2019!

6th Grade Family,

We apologize for not sending out a newsletter for a while; we have been actively preparing for the second semester's master schedule change. In the months of November and December, students took reading and math tests to show what they could do, academically, while the building staff took that data to see the progress each student made from the beginning of the school year. With the student data, schedules have been rearranged and reshuffled to give your child what they need to be successful. If you have questions about why your child's schedule has changed feel free to call their teachers or Mr. Frint, 6th grade counselor at (785) 717-4447. We would be happy to answer your questions.

Official grade cards should be mailed out the first week of the 2nd semester. Please be sure to double check the 3rd 6-weeks and semester grades of your child. The end of the semester can sometimes be hectic and this particular one was with the building-wide schedule change that was done, so some errors may have been made. If you notice a potential error, please contact your child's classroom teacher first to get more information.

Counselor's Corner with Frint

I hope everyone had an enjoyable break! I know the end of the semester was challenging for all of us, and I appreciated some time away to recharge and revaluate my goals for the rest of the school year. Now that the scheduling change has been completed, my availability to meet everyone's needs will increase. I apologize to those families who called and/or stopped by and I was not immediately available at the end of the semester.

Evaluating 1st semester

How did you think the first semester went for your child, academically? How did they adjust to middle school emotionally? Are they dealing with transitions as well as you would like? These are all questions I have been asking myself. Here is my plan so far for the 2nd semester:

  • Look at the end of the semester grades, visit with students who have academic concerns and try to set up a lunch time work group with a revolving group of 10-12 students. We will likely meet 3-4 times a week with students bringing missing work to the lunch time work session. Hopefully the plan of working and eating lunch at the same time will improve grades.

  • Emotional regulation –

    • Suicidial Ideation – This was a topic that I dealt with all too frequently first semester. There is a phrase students like to say, “Oh, I’m going to kill myself.” If any building staff member hears that phrase they are a mandatory reporter and have to contact a parent and/or guardian. When talking with students we tell them they cannot say that as we have to take it as a genuine threat even though they don’t mean it like one. We take all threats/comments seriously and will contact home. One way you can help us at home is by having conversations with your child and ensuring they are not stating the phrase or stating it on social media.

    • Cutting/self-harm was another topic of concern first semester. Many students were “experimenting” with this cutting/self-harm activity first semester because they saw friends do it, something they saw on social media or struggling with processing their own emotions and found this as an outlet. For some, this is a short-term issue, however, there are some cases of long-term abuse. Cutting/self-harm is an addiction and once it becomes ingrained in a person it is very difficult to stop. There are two ways you can help us at home – please do frequent physical checks of your child and notify the school that you are aware of the situation. Many 6th graders like to wear hoodies and have their legs covered, but in PE (when they dress out) the instructors will notice these marks.

  • If you have concerns about your child doing any of these activities, there are mental health agencies in the area who can provide assistance.

Tips for the 2nd Semester -

  • Get back to a routine. Having a two week break was awesome for me, but now all of my routines are out of whack. Research suggests students who go to bed and wake up at the similar times daily perform better. Ensuring eating breakfast everyday helps fuel the body. Having the same plan for completing homework will make everything run smoother.

  • Monitoring technology. When was the last time you looked at your child’s technology accounts? Are they possibly staying up late watching YouTube or Facetiming with friends? Have a family discussion about why you take away the phone, iPad or other technology at established times each night.

  • Communication on all fronts. We are all on the same team, but at times we may be on a different page if we don’t communicate our needs and concerns to each other. If the first semester did not go according to plan, please set up a meeting with your child’s teachers. If it’s during the teachers’ plan times they easily can make a meeting during the day, and if it’s before or after school some of the teachers might be available and your concerns can be heard. Something I’d encourage, if you have a meeting with teachers - spend the first half of the meeting getting all of your concerns out together, as adults, and the second half of the meeting have your child present so we can brainstorm on solutions together and your child sees we are all one team.

Lundgren's "Locker Lifts"

Doing good things for others just feels good! In an effort to encourage students and spread kindness, I have started a new initiative called "Locker Lifts". Positive, short phrases are written on sticky notes or notecards and put on student lockers. So far, I have had a few students help me put these messages on random lockers. The hope is to "lift each other up" and help make someone's day by positive words of encouragement. We all need a pick me up, and this is a small but powerful effort to make a difference. I hope your child gets a "locker lift" when they need it most.

If you have ideas or want to help with this initiative, please contact me - Brandi Lundgren, 6th Grade Assistant Principal at (785) 717-4839 or brandilundgren@usd475.org. Thank you, in advance!

Stress Solutions for Kids: Work It Out!

According to some experts, children today have higher levels of stress and anxiety than ever before. One way we can help kids better manage their stress is to encourage exercise.

Studies show that exercising not only improves physical healthy but mental health as well. Children who exercise have lower levels of stress. In a study of adolescents who were being bullied, those who exercised 4+ days a week reported significantly less sadness and suicidal thoughts than those who were less active.

U.S guidelines recommend that kids get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day. This can include fun activities like playing tag, riding a bike, swimming or playing basketball. If your child is inactive, encourage him or her to start slowly and work up. Even a little activity has benefits; even five minutes of exercise can decrease tension, elevate mood and improve self-esteem.

Help your child(ren) manage life's pressures through movement. You can visit bcbsks.com/BeHealthy/Wellness-Library for health and wellness information for the whole family.

Upcoming Events: Mark Your Calendar

  • January 21 - No School/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February 25-March 1 - Scholastic Book Fair (Open MWF 7:30AM -3:30PM and T/Th 8AM -8PM)
  • February 26 (3:30-7:45PM) - Student-Led Conferences
  • February 28 (3:30-7:45PM) - Student-Led Conferences
  • March 6 (3:30-7:30PM) - Student-Led Conferences
  • March 8 - No School/Teacher Comp Day
  • March 11-15 - No School/Spring Break
  • Late March and April 2019 (specific dates will be sent out) - State Testing for 6th Grade Reading & Math

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