Lebanon Public Schools
Superintendent Gonzalez's Update- December 2021
Thankful for it all
Take 3 with Mr. G
7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round
It’s that time of year where many people begin thinking about everything they have to be thankful for. Although it’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.
In fact, gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. Research reveals gratitude can have these seven benefits:
1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships. Not only does saying “thank you” constitute good manners, but showing appreciation can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. So whether you thank a stranger for holding the door or you send a quick thank-you note to that co-worker who helped you with a project, acknowledging other people’s contributions can lead to new opportunities.
2. Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
3. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They experienced more sensitivity and empathy toward other people and a decreased desire to seek revenge.
5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Spend just 15 minutes jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed, and you may sleep better and longer.
6. Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete’s self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Rather than becoming resentful toward people who have more money or better jobs – which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem- grateful people are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments.
7. Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life.
LES Students Give Thanks to our Veterans
More Evidence....Giving thanks can make you happier
Each holiday season comes with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. Research (and common sense) suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season can actually lift the spirits, and it's built right into the holiday — being grateful.
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week's assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
Ways to cultivate gratitude-
Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.
Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.
Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.
Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).
Thanks- Parent Teacher Conferences
Thanks to Mark DeCaprio & Congrats to Bruce Calef
We welcome Bruce Calef to the Board. We look forward to collaborating with Bruce to prepare our students to be contributing members of a diverse global society
November- 8-12 - National School Psychology Week
During the week of November 8-12, 2021 we celebrated National School Psychology Week to highlight the important work our school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive.
Thank you Lauren Brown, Dawn Pagliarini and Melanie Dunphy for your dedication to the social and emotional needs of the learners in Lebanon.
Lead Learners in Action
Professional development on November 10 (half day) focused on continuing work from our previous professional development, with topics such as curriculum development, Multi-Tiered Student Supports (intervention model) planning, Writer’s Workshop refresher, suicide prevention training, and a CPR refresher course as potential offerings. Although teachers engage in various professional learning throughout the year to include math programming, data diving, and curriculum work, the next district professional learning days will be February 17 and 18. A district committee called PLEC (Professional Learning and Evaluation Committee), will review survey results and determine the focus areas for these two days always aligned to our district goals and student needs.
Lebanon Public Schools also received another grant approval, Title IV, which focuses on innovation. Funds will be allocated to support science inquiry and in-depth work/study to better understand science standards for the upcoming school year! We are excited to explore more varied ways to provide students with hands-on experiences.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Lyman Students at the FFA National Convention
Eastern States FFA virtual Eastern Regional stars contest
A HUGE shout out to Rachael Trowbridge for being named the Eastern Regional star in Agri-business at this year's Eastern States FFA virtual Eastern Regional stars contest. Her SAE was her goat soap making business which she has expanded over her high school career to now having a website and shipping out orders for her soap.
So proud of you Rachael for representing our state and the Lebanon Regional FFA Chapter so well- Brenda Wildes
Seed to Table
**SAVE THE DATE- YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS THIS SHOW!**
Lyman's 100th Year Celebration!
Lyman Alumni, we are looking for you.
Lyman Memorial High School will celebrate its centennial during the 2022–23 school year. An Alumni Anniversary Committee is working in partnership with the Lebanon Historical Society to plan a series of events to honor this incredible milestone. In addition, our volunteers are working hard to find and identify the stories and objects from Lyman’s past, which will culminate in a commemorative history of the school. A published book will be available at a future date, comprising of a history and many of the components: Vo-Ag/FFA, sports, clubs and organizations, faculty, graduates, and much more.
Please refer to the anniversary Facebook page or the Lyman website for items we are looking for.
Please help us spread the word to our Lyman alumni and follow our Facebook page: “Lyman-Memorial-High-School-100-Year-Anniversary.” If you do not have Facebook, please email LymanMHS100years@gmail.com to be added to the list or for more information.
The opening celebration and an all-class reunion are planned for the weekend of September 9-11, 2022. Plan to reunite with classmates and old friends; enjoy sporting events, dancing, food, displays and tours of the Middle and High Schools. More details on this centennial celebration will be in print and posted on social media including the Lyman High School Facebook page and website.
Responsible Citizen in Action
In the photo 8th grader Sam Barnes offers a helping hand to a young LES student at the Mini-Mudder event. Samuel is also a member of Troop 58—one of the boy scout troops in town.
Goodies with Grandparents
Coffee & Chat
All sessions are open to all parents and community members. Meetings will be held in the LMS Library every Thursday from 8:00-8:30. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you will be attending and to share topics you would like to discuss.
Note: Masks are required for these sessions. No Coffee and Chat sessions will be held on dates in which schools are closed (November 11 & 25, December 30, and April 21).
Reminder of Mask Wearing
Governor Lamont Announces the Screen and Stay Initiative for Connecticut Schools
In Certain Lower-Risk Situations, Students and Staff Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated Will Be Able to Remain in School After Close Contact With COVID-19 Case
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced the rollout of the Screen and Stay initiative for Connecticut schools that choose to participate. Under the initiative, students and staff identified as close contacts to a known COVID-19 case but who are not yet fully vaccinated will be able to remain in school if they were wearing masks and don’t develop symptoms.
The initiative will bring immediate relief to the frequent and repeated quarantines that continue to impact student learning and place a burden on working families. The innovative, multi-agency solution will aid school districts through the remainder of the fall.
Students and staff are eligible to participate if the close contact with a COVID-19 case occurs under the following circumstances:
- Exclusively during the school day (no extracurricular or social contact);
- If indoors or on a school bus or other school transportation, and both the contact and the COVID-19 case were consistently masked during the exposure even if brief unmasked periods (e.g., snack time, cafeteria) occurred, as long as six feet or more of space was consistently maintained;
- If outdoors, the individuals were masked or unmasked but were supervised by staff (e.g., mask breaks, physical education, recess);
- The close contact remains asymptomatic (any symptoms revert to regular isolation/quarantine).
Examples of close contact scenarios that do not support a Screen and Stay approach would be:
- Contact with a case during interscholastic or other athletic activities (other than during supervised outdoor physical education and recess);
- Contact occurring during social interactions or similar activities outside of school (e.g., birthday parties, dining out, sleepovers);
- Contact where the individuals were not consistently and correctly wearing masks indoors and a six-foot distance was not maintained;
- The contact occurred between members of the same household (i.e., the contact lives with the case);
- If, upon return to school, the contact cannot consistently and correctly wear a mask.
“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve consistently done our best to maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff, while also understanding that students achieve the greatest outcomes when they have access to in-person learning,” Governor Lamont said. “The recent approval of the COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11 marks an incredibly promising development in these ongoing efforts. While that rollout occurs, the Screen and Stay initiative will help ensure that more students can remain in school and we can provide a safe, in-person learning environment.”
“As a state, we have continued to reinforce throughout the pandemic that access to in-person learning opportunities is a priority, particularly due to the significance of the supportive social-emotional environment provided through student and adult interactions during the school day,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker said. “Screen and Stay advances our commitment to in-person schooling, where our students learn best.”
“Vaccination remains the easiest way to avoid quarantine from school after being exposed to someone with COVID-19,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said. “Our youngest school-age children finally have this opportunity, as well. However, because Connecticut’s community case-rate is stable-to-decreasing, this innovative program can protect students and staff in schools while also prioritizing their social and emotional well-being. Connecticut’s school mitigation strategies remain very strong with high rates of compliance resulting in infrequent cases of transmission in school buildings.”
“Screen and Stay is a creative, family-inclusive, and promising practice that will allow our children to be in-person learners, which we know is incredibly important to their success,” Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said.
“The Screen and Stay initiative is a scientifically based, effective approach to keeping teachers and students safe and keeping schools open,” Connecticut Education Association President Kate Dias said. “These have always been our top priorities. The program, while completely voluntary, allows asymptomatic teachers and students to safely remain in school – where teaching and learning are best – without the chaotic disruptions, loss of learning, and family burdens caused by quarantines.”
“Throughout this pandemic, science has been our north star,” Jan Hochadel, president of the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut, said. “It has provided a road map for the many decisions we’ve made as labor leaders when it comes to the health and safety of our members and their students. Data shows that in-person learning is what’s best for a child’s academic growth, as well as their social-emotional well-being.”
COVID-19 Q & A- Revised 11-15-21
I hope all is well. Please know we appreciate your continued cooperation in following the mitigation measures to help keep our students in school and our buildings open. Unfortunately we have had to deal with a few COVID-19 cases in our schools already this year. The purpose of this memo is to better help you understand how you will receive communication regarding a case, what the quarantine protocols are and what your learner can expect while home in quarantine.
Q- How will I be notified of a positive COVID-19 case?
A- Families of close contacts will receive a phone call (as soon as school is made aware of a positive case) and have a conversation with building administration and/or school nurses with details for quarantine. All other staff and students within the impacted building will receive a detailed email outlining the situation. If the case is not in your child’s school you can view our district COVID Dashboard-
Q- What are the quarantine protocols if my child is an unvaccinated close contact?
A- An unvaccinated close contact will need to be quarantined for 10 days. Unless they have a negative test on or after Day 5 then they can return after 7 days. (Vaccinated students who are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine). Our district is now also offering the Screen and Stay option for families which allows close contacts regardless of their vaccination status to remain in school as long as they are asymptomatic. Families will be required to monitor their child's health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
Q- What types of tests are acceptable for a return to school?
A- Viral tests can include a molecular test (often called a PCR test) or a rapid antigen test. A negative antigen test in a person with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or a close contact without symptoms should be followed up with a PCR test
Q- If I have a child who is a close contact, can their sibling(s) attend school.
A- Yes. A contact of a contact is not a close contact.
Q- What should I expect for my learner while they are home?
A- The teacher(s) will provide asynchronous work opportunities (either in paper form, on SeeSaw (PK-1) or in Google Classroom) . Your learner’s attendance will be based on the completion of the assigned work. Please note that your child will initially be marked as “Absent Excused” as we need to account for the fact that they are not physically present, but this will be changed as their work is returned and reviewed.
Please see the wording from our Continuity of Services Plan regarding the Google Meet model-
The Google Meet model will not be available to absent students during the school day. Students who are not vaccinated and are quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure will participate in asynchronous instruction. Students who are COVID-19 positive confirmed by testing will participate in asynchronous instruction. Students who are not vaccinated and are awaiting results from COVID-19 testing will participate in asynchronous instruction. Families of Students who have a medical condition or surgical procedure that prevents them from attending school should contact their building Principal to be considered for homebound instruction.
To view the full plan please visit-https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IpMY93JDkYWAHDQFgKzsNMg2Rxeo1ZqQqReKctHjJU4/edit?usp=sharing
Please also review the recently released Addendum 5- https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/COVID-19/Addendum-5-Interim-Guidance-for-Responding-to-COVID-19-Scenarios-in-CT-School-Districts.pdf
Q- What are protocols for return to participation in sports?
A- Please note a change with quarantine protocols from the Department of Public Health regarding participation in extracurricular activities-
Individuals directed to self-quarantine are excluded from participation in team athletics or other group extracurricular activities for a full 14 days. When diagnostic testing resources are sufficient and available, a quarantine period of 10 days with a negative test result on day 8 or later from team athletics or other group extracurricular activities is also acceptable.
Q- Why are vaccinated people being allowed to remain in school after being identified as a close contact?
A- This question has come up a lot lately. We are following guidance from the Department of Public Health that states- if an Individual has close contact to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and is fully vaccinated or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days prior to the current exposure and is asymptomatic, the individual can remain in school. We have seen some breakthrough cases and will be discussing this matter with DPH and the State Department of Education to see if guidance will be adjusted. Thanks for your understanding as we do our best to keep everyone healthy while following professional medical advice.
If you have other questions or concerns please reach out to me directly.
Lebanon Covid-19 Dashboard
If you have individuals looking for their vaccination record, they can now access the information by themselves.
The link is below for patients and legal guardians to access official immunization records for themselves and their children using the CT WiZ Public Portal.
American Rescue Plan for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief
The American Rescue Plan for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ARP ESSER) have been allocated to create programming that is not only innovative but allows our students to thrive in a safe, nurturing, rigorous and student-centered learning environment.
Lebanon Public Schools is projected to receive $347,039 ESSER II funds and $770,405 ESSER III funds that are to be used by June 2023.
Our team has developed a plan to apply these significant funds to support students who have experienced injuries of trauma as a result of necessary changes in the learning environment during the 2020-21 academic year.
Our plan addresses the following priorities:
■ Providing academic support to address learning loss and accelerate recovery
■ Partnering with families and the community
■ Ensuring our schools’ safety and well-being
■ Integrating Technology to support the success of all learners
Being responsive to the needs of the district and the students whom we serve, this plan will be reviewed and revised at regular intervals and updated materials will be posted on our district's website, shared with Board of Education as well as with our families by sharing at the building level through newsletters and other sources of communication.
As a result of a needs assessment and the collaborative conversations between administration, staff and Board of Education members, Lebanon Public Schools has hired a Math Interventionist and Literacy Coach to work at Lebanon Middle School. We have also contracted with Eastconn, our Regional Education Service Center, to provide K-12 Math support for our educators. Lyman will have a supported study hall to keep students on track. Our district added a Social worker to support our students social and emotional well-being. We also have invested in new educational platforms to support targeted instruction for our learners and teachers have been actively engaged in curriculum development this summer. Most recently the district posted, and has begun interviewing to fill positions that we feel will meet the priorities above. These positions include; a grade 4 & 5 teacher, a 7-12 Math position that will bring a concentrated focus to this subject and support 6th grade. These were initial steps towards addressing the needs of our district. Further communication will be sent to all stakeholders to engage in meaningful consultation for suggestions on educational areas to support.
If you have any feedback or suggestions on how we can grow our district through creative use of these funds, please reach out to me directly.
Keep Our School Zones Safe
Also, please remember that it is never okay to drive by/pass any school bus with flashing red lights.
The Lebanon Public Schools, in partnership with families and the community, will prepare students to be contributing members of a diverse global society. We will provide a safe, nurturing, rigorous, and student-centered learning environment.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement of the Lebanon Public Schools:
The school community of Lebanon is committed to the mission of honoring and celebrating the diversity of our students, our community, and our nation. We strive to guide our students to conscious, deliberate, individual and collective actions that cultivate the respect of all races, religions, and social backgrounds. Our school community endeavors to produce graduates who are equipped with a greater understanding of the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Nondiscrimination Statement of the Lebanon Public Schools:
The Lebanon Board of Education, in compliance with federal and state law, affirms its policy of equal educational opportunity for all students and equal em ployment opportunity for all persons. It is the policy of the District to promote nondiscrimination and an environment free of harassment regardless of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, ancestry, disability (including but not limited to, intellectual disability, past or present history of mental disorder, physical disability, or learning disability), genetic information, marital status, or age or because of the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ge nder identity/expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, marital status, or age of any persons with whom the individual associates. The District shall provide to all students without discrimination, course offerings, counseling, assistance, employment, athletics, and extracurricular activities. The District shall provide equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The District shall make reasonable accommodations for identified physical and mental impairments that constitute disabilities, consistent with federal and state statutes and regulations.