Bel Aire Principal Newsletter
#16: 2021- 2022 SCHOOL YEAR
Dear Bel Aire Families,
I'm excited to invite you to join us for the Bel Aire Open House next Thursday, 4/21, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Mr. Gist and the chorus and percussion ensemble will kick off the event with a concert. Following the performance, classroom doors will open for a chance to explore your child's classroom and greet our fantastic teachers. I'm looking forward to seeing you all!
Some upcoming Bel Aire events...
The Peace for Ukraine Fair Day, sponsored by the Bel Aire Student Council and Children for Change, will take place next Wednesday after lunch. Students can participate in games and activities to raise funds for two organizations that support children. The student council board and new classroom reps have done a stellar job planning this event.
3rd Graders will have a chance to experience the Discovery Museum's Try-it-Truck on Friday. Thank you, Bel Aire PTA for sponsoring this event!
We'll be practicing safety during our next Earthquake Drill, tomorrow at noon.
The ability to bounce back is more important now than ever; here’s how to impart it
The New York Times Parenting Newsletter | Published Sept. 1, 2021, Updated Sept. 14, 2021
In my early teens, my dad took myself, my best friend and our neighbor on a grueling backpacking trip connecting California’s Yosemite Valley to Half Dome to nearby Clouds Rest mountain and back again.
By the second day — halfway up Clouds Rest, on wobbly legs and besieged by mosquitoes — we finally mutinied. The three of us made it clear to my father that we were done. Nobody had heard of Clouds Rest and nobody had the juice to see the top.
“OK, I understand,” I remember Dad saying. “You guys stay here. Erik, let’s go.”
There was no point arguing. Even today, my only memory of the top of Clouds Rest is the blue sky I saw flat on my back, panting and praying for a speedy death. Later, of course, I described the hike as an epic victory of teenager over nature. Which, I suspect, is why my dad pushed me to do it.
Whether he knew it or not, Dad was a big believer in the concept of resilience, the ability to engage with a challenge, risk or impediment, and come out the other side with some measure of success. It’s a psychological principle blending optimism, flexibility, problem-solving and motivation. It’s the job you got through pure determination, the game you eked out against a far better team or the mountaintop that made you want to strangle your father. Dad called it “character.”
“It is about the ability to bounce back even when times get tough. But that implies it’s only about survival,” said Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, a pediatrician and the author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s book “Building Resilience in Children and Teens.” “Resilient people not only bounce back, but also thrive in the best of times.”
Never has resilience — be it physical, mental, emotional or financial — been more important to our society than in the past year and a half, and never have I been so determined to pass it on to my son. He may not climb mountains, but life will always have a disaster, disappointment or pandemic to throw his way. If he can’t roll with the punches, his life will be very, very hard.
Thankfully, most experts say resiliency is something that can be fostered, nurtured and developed in children from a very young age. You just have to build a safe foundation, find challenges and watch kids thrive.
Build a stable, safe foundation.
Creating resilience in children isn’t just chucking them into the deep end of a pool to see if they can swim, it’s about the bedrock of support you give them every day.
“Having a relationship with a caring parent is far and away the most powerful protective factor for children,” said Ann Masten, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota and a pioneer in the study of resiliency in children.
Children need to feel they have a stable home base before they can take risks and learn to bounce back. If a child skins her elbow falling off a bike, the best way to help her get back on is to make sure she knows she’s loved no matter what.
Dr. Masten said resilience is less a specific trait and more a network of overlapping ones, like flexibility, confidence and even societal supports, like health care and schooling. But the crucial part is that children feel safe and supported. In order to weather a storm, you need a solid shelter.
Model behaviors for your kid.
Part of teaching your child to be resilient is first projecting resilience yourself.
“You’re on a plane, there’s turbulence — you don’t look at the guy next to you who’s hysterical,” Dr. Ginsburg said. “You look at the flight attendants, to see if they’re still serving snack mix.”
Losing your temper when a child refuses to go to sleep, breaks your grandmother’s heirloom teapot or just freaking can’t get out the door in the morning, only tells him that it’s useful to have a fit when something goes wrong.
It can be hard, especially when you know he’s misbehaving, but regulating your own emotions goes a long way to teaching your child to do the same.
“You are always teaching by how you handle things yourself,” Dr. Masten said. “What parents do when they get upset, their kids are observing that.”
Make the most of small challenges.
If you put the word “resilience” on a poster, it would probably be under a photo of someone climbing a mountain, fighting a forest fire or perhaps tending to patients in a Covid ward. But, in fact, it’s the small disappointments or frustrating moments that truly build resilience.
Let’s say your child comes home from school with an “F” in math, and you know he didn’t work hard on that assignment. Rather than making it clear you think he’s lazy, focus on cause and effect — he didn’t study and was thus unprepared — and how he can do better next time. Cause and effect can be controlled, and having a sense of control is a core element of resilience.
Help your child stretch herself.
Once a kid feels safe, supported and has a good model of resilience, it’s time to challenge her a little.
For Tyler Fish, resilience is a delicate balance between success and failure. Mr. Fish works for the outdoor education company Outward Bound, helping set educational priorities for, say, youth backpacking, dog-sledding or canoeing trips across the world. A 25-year veteran of the company and former instructor, he said that resilience is a principle that helps them change the lives of kids from all kinds of backgrounds.
“It’s not just about being tough — that’s not resiliency,” Mr. Fish said. “It’s about doing things that you’re not sure you can do. And with other people.”
When teaching canoeing, for instance, he starts by putting a kid into a boat to see if she can figure it out. Then, after a little frustration, he gives some instruction and lets her try again. Then he repeats the cycle, so that she can balance success and failure. It’s the same for other lessons, like making friends, teamwork or leadership.
“One of the great skills of parenting is knowing how to challenge, when to challenge, how much to challenge,” Dr. Masten said. “There’s no one right way to foster resilience, just like there’s no one right way to parent.”
Three weeks ago I had a perfect opportunity to teach resilience to my 5-year-old son. We had reserved a campground in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park about four miles from the trailhead. I thought about my dad, and those mornings picking rocks out of oatmeal after two days on the trail.
When we arrived, we learned that the next 48 hours would be plagued with thunderstorms, downpours and even a flood warning. We could trudge for hours through the rain, set up a miserable camp and shiver in the tent to get warm — what a fantastic opportunity to build resilience!
But those treasured trips of my youth, my wife reminded me, were in my teens and our kindergartner just wants to be on vacation with his parents. So we canceled the hike, went to the zoo and spent a night in a nice hotel watching a superhero movie. We’ll save the downpour death march for another time. Teaching resilience, it seems, has its limits.
Jessica Grose is a journalist and novelist explores what it means to be a parent today, analyzing the health, economics and culture of the American family.
Equity and Inclusion Update for Trimester Three
As part of our strategic plan initiative of implementing the Social Justice Standards, Reed Union staff will be focusing on the Justice and Action domains in trimester three. In trimester one we focused on the Identity domain by having students identify and celebrate parts of their identity that are important to them. In trimester two, we focused on the Diversity domain by helping students develop the language to describe how people are the same and different, and celebrating differences by building empathy and respect, understanding and connection.
Justice and Action will build perfectly on the skills built during trimesters one and two. We have selected two standards to focus on:
Justice: Students will recognize unfairness on the individual level (e.g., biased speech) and injustice at the institutional or systemic level (e.g., discrimination).
Action: Students will speak up with courage and respect when they or someone else has been hurt or wronged by bias.
An example of an outcome for students in grades 3-5 in this standard is: I know some ways to interfere if someone is being hurtful or unfair, and will do my part to show respect even
if I disagree with someone’s words or behavior.
If you’re interested in continuing these conversations at home, consider exploring local community efforts or community members that have worked to create positive change by recognizing unfairness and taking action to make a change in Tiburon or Marin county.
Week of May 2nd - Staff Appreciation Week
May 4th– Bel Aire PTA Meeting
STAFF APPRECIATION WEEK MAY 2-6, 2022
Please join the PTA in saying THANK YOU to our teachers, aides, specialists, and support staff. We have provided a guideline for what your child might bring to school each day. The goal is to thank our staff and teach the children gratitude - not to stress you out!
Please do what works for your family and know it’s the thought that counts.
It’s Yearbook Time! Order your 2021-2022 Bel Aire Yearbook today.
Can you believe it’s already time to order your student’s yearbook?! Your PTA yearbook team is already hard at work taking and compiling photos to make this year’s book memorable and special for our Bel Aire students. The yearbook cost is $20 per book and ordering takes less than a minute. Submit your order today!
Please note: If you have children at multiple RUSD schools, you will need to perform 2 separate SchoolPay transactions to purchase their yearbooks. If you still experience an issue with SchoolPay, please log out of SchoolPay and purchase each yearbook as a guest. We apologize for the inconvenience.
PTA Nominating Committee for 2022
**We REALLY Need Your Help!**
PTA Nominating Committee for 2022
The Nominating Committee is currently meeting to develop a slate of PTA officers for the following open positions, each with a two year term:
Reed Site Chair
Del Mar Site Chair *Need Help!
District Executive Vice President
District Treasurer *Need Help!
If you are interested in one of these leadership positions, or would like to nominate someone else, please contact any of the Nominating Committee members - Amanda Hyslop, Amy Dugdale, Annie Defesche, Samantha Chatham and Christine Neumeier or email@example.com.