Mental Health Services

Lake County Schools Newsletter for Parents and Caregivers

FALL SEMESTER 2020

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School Connectedness

LCS Mental Health professionals are working diligently to provide students with opportunities to gain a genuine sense of belonging at school. Research shows that students who feel connected to their peers and staff are more likely to do well in school, stay in school, and make healthy choices. This sense of belonging is often described as school connectedness.


This newsletter highlights some of the amazing ways students connect at school.

East Ridge Middle School Celebrates Smiles

On Friday 10/2/2020, East Ridge Middle School celebrated "World Smile Day". Everyone on campus was encouraged to bring their smiles! Whether it was by wearing a mask, a t-shirt or smiley sticker, all were encouraged to participate.

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Leesburg Elementary School Loves Restorative Circles

Shannon Carter, Mental Health Liaison, at Leesburg Elementary School reports, "During these times of stress and uncertainty, school connectedness is more important than ever. As the MHL at my school, I am able to provide students with a strong foundation of social emotional skills to foster resiliency. Resilient students develop social skills and decision making abilities that create commitment to their own education. This equals harmony and success."

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LMHS #ONEHAWK Lifting Others Up

This year, during Start With Hello week, Lake Minneola High School students and staff spread kindness on campus through thoughtful gestures and thanking those around them for friendship and support. Many of them then took pictures with our “Hawk Wings” and “Be the ‘I’ in Kind” murals which were then displayed around on campus through campus television monitors to promote togetherness and unity.

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Mount Dora High Kicks Out Isolation

Connection is the foundation for kicking out isolation. Mount Dora High School planned their "Start with Hello" week around "Connecting with Cooper." Cooper is a friendly pot-belly pig who belongs to Kim Capstraw, the Mental Health Liaison at MDHS. Kim collaborated with her administration, school counselors and staff to offer a fun-filled week of relationship and connection. The following connection themes and activities highlighted Start with Hello Week: Connecting with Cooper, Kicking out Isolation, Compassionate Cake Walk, Celebrating Kindness and Community of Caring Dance-a-thon.
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Clermont Elementary Creates a Community of Caring

Mental Health Liaison, Iraida Espada, enjoys spending time with students to teach them social-emotional skills. Sanford Harmony lessons address topics such as diversity, inclusion, respect towards others, recognizing and understanding emotions and how to express them in a healthy ways. Lessons also focus on developing empathy, improving communication skills and modeling problem solving techniques in the moments
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Eustis High School Kindness Tree

Eustis High School worked together to create a Kindness Tree in our 9th grade cafeteria! During lunch each student wrote something kind about Eustis High School, another student, or a staff member on a cutout hand and placed it on the tree. We had so much fun connecting with the students and discussing the importance of being kind to each other. The tree now reminds them every day during lunch to be kind to one another!

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Sawgrass Bay Elementary Leader In Me

At Sawgrass Bay, our Leader in Me program provides students with the tools for creating a successful community of leaders through character education, cooperative relationships, and shared responsibility. By cultivating leaders and developing the whole child --- socially, emotionally, academically and ethically –- the program fosters a climate of principle-centered and personal leadership. Sawgrass Bay became a Leader in Me Lighthouse Demonstration School in January of 2018.

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Tavares High Celebrates Unity Day & Suicide Prevention

Unity Day, the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month, has been recognized in the United States since 2011. To participate in Unity Day, individuals, schools, communities, and businesses wear or display orange to show support for students who have been bullied. Therefore, the Guidance Department at Tavares High School decided to all wear orange in honor of Unity Day. The shirts that we wore said "Choose kindness, acceptance, and inclusion," which is the message our Guidance Department desires to send to all students as we take a stand against bullying.

Tavares High School brought awareness to by wearing yellow on September 10th, World Suicide Prevention Day, and participating in the Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk on September 25th. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 to 24. Our goal is to help students know that their story matters, they are not alone and help is available.

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East Ridge High Strengthens Mental Health Awareness

East Ridge High School honors teachers who go above and beyond to support students with mental health needs. Teachers who have completed both the Youth Mental Health First Aid training and the Kognito training are asked if they would like to place a green sticker on their door so that students can know they support mental health. "You're Not Alone" Student Ambassadors chose Mr. Badeaux as the Mental Health Awareness Teacher of the Month.


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South Lake High School Supports Creative Expression

Students have been expressing their positive mindset through visual art as a way to self-direct themselves at home. We explore affirmations that might evoke the opposite emotions from those that have defeated them. The process is quite remarkable to see them go from tears to inspiration. Once dry, they take their new mantra home with a smile.

Gray Middle School Loves School Spirit

Gray Middle School celebrates Red Ribbon Week; whether it’s orange unity day, twin day, or (green) school spirit day-we all love to participate. Not sure who has more fun participating in all the activities more, our wonderful students or staff!

Lake Success Academy Comes Together

Lake Success Academy’s Science Club worked with Dianne Venetta and Bloomingthyme Collaborative to build 4 raised bed gardens for their campus. The members stated, "we all had so much fun putting it together and planting all sorts of plants for our science fair observations. It was so great to have our entire school come together on this project."
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Mount Dora Middle School Supports Self-Care

The staff at Mount Dora Middle School has promoted grace and compassion for others as an extremely important characteristic in times of uncertainty. The Mental Health Liaison states, "we must begin to use compassion with ourselves first. While it is very easy to say self-care is important, how many of us actually practice it regularly? Make self-care a part of your weekly routine. Write it on our calendars as it is just as important as any appointment we may have" and offers a few tips for self-care essentials:

1) Rest well-recognize when your body is tired, plan to turn in a little early.

2) Eat well-do not skip meals during the day, plan for healthy snacks

3) Seek support-ask for help when you need it, talk to others you can trust

4) Do what you love-draw, dance, play a sport, take pictures

5) Set boundaries-realizing it is ok to say no to what does not feel right for you.

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You're Not Alone Student Ambassadors - South Lake County

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