THE SCHOOL BELL

Williston Schools /October 21, 2020

A Message From The Administration

Making sense of feeling anxious

by Sarah Crum, Director of Student Support Services


Feeling anxious is something just about everyone experiences at some point. We might feel anxious when entering a new environment or when we need to perform a new task. In fact, research tells us feeling anxious is the body’s way of alerting us to some kind of danger or challenge. Sometimes we feel it physically in our bodies like butterflies in our stomach or our heart beating faster. It heightens our awareness and can increase our ability to creatively respond to challenges in appropriate and successful ways. There are times in our lives, especially around big transitions, that provide more of these anxious making moments than others, and I think we can all agree that a global pandemic is one of those times.


There are some effective ways that we can help manage these anxious feelings for both ourselves and the children in our lives. While not an exhaustive list, these strategies can be taught both in the classroom and at home to support the development of individual skills needed to effectively manage expected anxiety often faced in our everyday lives:


  1. Label it: Feelings can be really abstract. When we attach labels to how we are feeling, it can help us make them more concrete and give us the language to both recognize and express how we are feeling. Teaching students how to identify the physical signs of what they are feeling will help them expand their understanding of the emotion in concrete ways and increase their ability to recognize when they are beginning to experience certain emotions (Brackett, 2019). For example, if you notice someone looks anxious, you might say, “Looks like this is making you nervous, tell me what you are feeling.”

  2. Ease Transitions: A new environment or even a new routine can cause us to feel anxiety. Finding ways to ease into that transition by creating high preference initial tasks or a calming routine as people enter a new space can help make the transition feel less intimidating. We know that previewing new experiences can help ease transitions. Try showing pictures of what you are about to do or tell stories about what might happen, what you might feel going into a new experience.

  3. Provide Distractions: When the brain is in its highly alerted state, it is overfunctioning. Providing a distraction can allow the brain to take a break and assess the situation from a different perspective. Psychologists call this cognitive distraction. When someone is anxious, diverting attention to working on a puzzle, making a snack, building with legos, reading a book can give the person a chance to regroup.

  4. Break It Down: When we feel anxious, tasks can feel overwhelming. By breaking a task into small, manageable chunks, our brains can tackle something accessible and experience success. Giving some support to get started helps keep momentum for the next small step. Visuals can be really helpful. Stop and make a list or draw a diagram of what needs to get done so that the task seems more manageable.

  5. Establish Regular Routines: When we feel anxious it often means there is uncertainty looming. Frequent check-ins that are reliable or a routine that can be counted on gives a sense of certainty and frees us up to handle the unpredictable. A visual of how the day is going to go with some breaks and fun activities included helps.


We are so excited to have our Kindergarten through 2nd grade students back in the building four days a week and our Pre-K students with their established routine. Next week, we will welcome our 3rd and 4th graders back four days a week as well. We realize that this has meant a lot of shifts and adjustments for individuals and families over the last six weeks. But each day brings new successes, new understandings, and a few small steps towards certainty. I am sure we won’t erase all the worries this year, afterall, it is an important part of our protection and working through our worries builds resilience. But I do believe that, together, we can begin to recognize and understand it as well as learn some strategies to regulate ourselves when those anxious feelings come around (Brackett, 2019).


I do want to acknowledge that anxious feelings, while expected, can be severe. For some individuals, the severity of their anxiety may result in a diagnosis of anxiety or other mental health disorder. Often, this will include management techniques through the support of a medical professional or therapist. The strategies listed above may not be effective to the same degree for those individuals. If you are concerned about the severity of anxiety for yourself or a member of your family, please reach out to your healthcare provider or our guidance department for additional resources. For crisis support, First Call can be accessed at 802-488-7777.


References

Brackett, Marc A. Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive. Celadon Books, 2019.

Cole, Cynthia, MA. District Psychologist, Champlain Valley School District.

McKibben, Sarah. “Helping Ease Student Anxiety.” ASCD, 2017, www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/aug17/vol59/num08/Helping-Ease-Student-Anxiety.aspx.

National Institute of Health Resources for Stress and Anxiety

1st and 2nd grade Transition Notes - 4 Days / week

Details about 1st and 2nd graders retuning to school 4 days / week.

Picture Make up Days Scheduled

Photographers will be back in the schools to take pictures of staff and students who didn't have their pictures taken yet, and those who need a retake.


Allen Brook School: Friday, October 23, from 8:30 to 10:30 am.


Williston Central School: Tuesday, October 20 between 8:30 and 9:30 am, and Friday, October 23 at 11:30.


Remote VLA students are welcome to have their photos taken at whichever date and place works best for them.

Important message from the Health Office

We kindly remind you to please submit your child’s Informed K-12 health form. This week we will be sending email reminders to those families who did not complete the form. If you receive a reminder - can you please take time to complete this form about your child’s health.

You will receive an email from: WSInformedK12@cvsdvt.org with Williston Schools via Informed K12' via WSInformedK12 in the subject line.

This form needs to be filled out every year and this information is needed to care for your child when they visit the Health Office.

Thanks so much!!

Williston Schools Health Office


Allen Brook School Morning Drop Off

Student drop off at ABS can begin as early as 7:50 am. Families are welcome to arrive for drop off between 7:50 and 8:10 am. Thank you for driving slowly and cautiously through the parking lot. Please ensure your child is able to exit your car quickly on their own to ensure traffic does not build up behind you.
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CVSD Community Budget Forum - Share What is On Your Mind

Tuesday, October 27, 2020, 6:00pm

Online via Zoom

  • Discuss what you value most in our schools

  • Gain an understanding of our budget process

  • Engage with school principals

We will start all together in one Zoom meeting for the overview and then divide up by school into separate Zoom meetings. The links to the separate school meetings will be posted on the district website and all school websites that day.

Topic: CVSD Community Budget Forum
Time: October 27, 2020, 06:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting
https://cvsdvt-org.zoom.us/j/92218271427

Meeting ID: 922 1827 1427
Passcode: CVSDbudget (required to join)

Third and Fourth Grades Transition to Four In-Person Days

Now that we have successfully opened schools in the hybrid model, our hope is to incrementally transition elementary students to more in-person school days. Kindergarten and first and second grade students are now in school for four days a week of in-person learning.

Third and fourth grade students are expected to return to four days of in-person learning on Monday, October 26.

ABS and WCS Team/Teacher Assistant’s Roles Have Changed

We have begun our transition to incorporate the teacher/team assistant into a blended role that incorporates paraeducator responsibilities. Beginning this year, teams have a part-time teacher/team assistant to support them. In the past these have been full-time positions. During the other half of their day, teacher/team assistants are working with students in the paraeducator capacity. As a result, please be aware of the following:

  • Messages for students that come in during the day will not be as fluidly and as quickly delivered as in the past.

  • The response time for teacher/team assistants to return emails and calls will not be done in the same timeframe as in previous years.

Thank you for your patience as we work to combine these roles together within our system!


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Details: Saturday, October 24th, from 3:00-4:30 pm via Zoom, and all parents, caregivers, and educators are invited.

Event Description: ParentIN, a program of the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community has invited Positive Directions: The Center for Prevention and Counseling to facilitate a virtual Hidden in Plain Sight presentation for adults and parents to raise awareness of signs that may point to risky adolescent behaviors. This event is intended to assist parents and caregivers on what to look for in their teen's bedroom and what to say if an item linked to substance use is found. This event has been altered to fit a virtual format.


Prevention Specialists will introduce a series of objects to attendees, explain various substance use trends, and identify signs and symptoms of risky behaviors to look out for. It can be hard to know what to do or say about substance use. At the workshop, we'll share a few suggestions for starting difficult conversations with your teens about these issues.


We hope to see you there!

register

WCS West Entrance (Tennis Court/Bell Tower/After Hours) Drop-Off Updates (10/14/20)

  • Drop off begins at 8:00 am and ends at 8:20 am for these entrances; If your student arrives after 8:20 am, please use the front drop off temperature check station.

  • For efficiency, cars should pull up to the volunteer(s) for the temperature check and then pull forward before letting their student exit the car.

  • Bikers and walkers should go to the nearest person checking temperatures before entering the building.

  • If you have more than one student, please drop all students in your vehicle off in one location after having their temperatures checked.

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Four Winds

We are continuing the Four Winds partnership to encourage scientific learning and hands-on, outdoor exploration whether you are learning in the classroom or remotely.

The theme for the year is Structure and Function. Our focus for the month of October is Tremendous Trees. The embedded links will take you to the resources provided by the Four Winds Nature Institute.

We have put together an amazing Google Slides Tremendous Trees Presentation. You will find fun facts, diagrams, photos, activities, and even a video of the beloved puppet show!

Feel free to email, visit our website, or share your findings and photos on our Padlet.

Be curious!

Deb & Amanda, Your Four Winds Williston Coordinators

Link to September - Spider Presentation

Link to the Williston Four Winds Padlet to share findings

Visit the Williston Four Winds Website

Visit the Williston Four Winds Blog

From the Health Office

What Families can Expect When a Student is Sick

Symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and upset stomach can be caused by many different germs or health conditions. This fact sheet from the VT Dept. of Health can help you prepare in case your child gets sick. Click here for full document.

COVID-19 Health Resources

CDC recently released a COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit to help support parents, caregivers,
and other adults in identifying children and young people’s social, emotional, and mental health challenges and helping to ensure their well-being.
The resources kit has age-group specific web pages that provide a glance at some of the challenges faced by young children (0-5 years), children (6-12 years), adolescents (13-17 years), and young adults (18-24 years) during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as

  • changes in their routines
  • breaks in continuity of learning
  • breaks in continuity of health care
  • missed significant life events
  • lost security and safety (including violence).


Check out the new VHD video How Contact Tracing Slows the Spread of COVID-19.

Here are three different visual timelines to the contact tracing that show important dates for cases and close contacts:


Maria Kapetanovic, RN, BSN, MSN/Ed

Williston Health Office

802-871-6170

Child Find Notice

Champlain Valley School District is required by federal law to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities. The process of locating, identifying and evaluating children with disabilities is known as child find.


Champlain Valley School District schools conduct Kindergarten screening each spring, but parents may call to make an appointment to discuss their concerns at any time. As the school district of residence, CVSD has the responsibility to identify and provide services to any child with special needs who may require special education and related services in order to access and benefit from public education.


If you have, or know of any CVSD resident who has a child with a disability under the age of 21 or a child who attends a private school located in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George or Williston, Vermont, we would like to hear from you. Sometimes parents are unaware that special education services are available to their children.


Please contact the School Principal (Charlotte Central School – 425-2771, Hinesburg Community School – 482-2106, Shelburne Community School – 985-3331, Williston Central/Allen Brook Schools – 878-2762) or the Director of Student Support Services, Meagan Roy at 383-1234 or mroy@cvsdvt.org.

Welcome to CVSD IT Help Desk Portal

Please use this ticket process for technical support. As tickets come in, one of our technicians will be assigned to work that ticket and will reach out to you within 24 hours either by telephone or email.

Virtual Learning Academy Website

click here to access the VLA site

VLA Tips and contacts

Troubleshooting your Device:

When questions arise about the device you are using (won't start, camera doesn't work, etc.), please fill out this Helpdesk Form and someone will be in touch with you soon. Please do NOT directly email anyone in IT to request help as the department all works together and uses the Helpdesk system to respond to requests and needs.


Troubleshooting Digital Tools & Resources:

When questions arise with the accounts you are using (Google, IXL, Seesaw, and others), please reach out by email to Tim O'Leary, Virtual Learning Academy's Digital Learning Leader: toleary@cvsdvt.org.

Box Tops Reminder

Please send clipped Boxtops for Education in with students to ABS or WCS. The first submission is November 1st. Thank you. Also check out the Box Tops App.
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ABS Arrival and Dismissal Time

Students being driven to ABS in the mornings can now arrive between 7:50 to 8:10 am (all grades). Walkers are welcome as early as 7:40, when the buses are arriving. Click here for full document.

School Meals

Please visit the Food Service website for the remote learning days order form and more information.


We are excited to be able to serve your children hot food at school once again as well as continue to offer grab and go and delivery of meals for those students who are learning remotely. CVSD will be able to continue to offer free meals for all children 18 years of age and younger as we start school.


If your student has special dietary requirements please let us know. We will be happy to make reasonable accommodations (prepare a vegetarian version, substitute gluten free grain, bread or crust, soy milk or offer an alternate meal) to make sure they can have something nutritious and delicious to eat.

October Menu

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Upcoming Events

Fri, Oct 23 - Photo make up day - ABS 8:30-10:30, WCS 11:30-12:30

Mon, Oct 26 - 3rd & 4th graders transition to 4 in person days/week

Tues., Oct. 27 - CVSD Community Budget Forum, 6 pm

Tues, Nov 3 - No School

Nov 23-27 - No School / Thanksgiving Break

Access to School Buildings

Access to the school buildings this year is by appointment only for contract tracing reasons, please contact the person you would like to meet with to schedule an appointment.
School Handbook

The school handbook for 20-21 is under construction.