Principal Newsletter

Holiday Edition

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Please stress these tablet cable issues with your child.

· If you are traveling,

  • the tablet should always be packed in a way that it won’t get crushed.
  • it is wise to store the charger in the same place (preferably in the bag it’ll be carried home in) when it is not in use. That way it doesn’t get overlooked when it’s time to return home. Replacements are $30, which is a painful price for simple forgetfulness.
  • it is wise to double check that the tablet and charger are packed before leaving on the return trip so that they don’t get left.

· Leaving the tablet in a car is a bad idea as it could attract someone to break into the car.

· Avoid extreme temperatures. The tablet can be damaged if left in a car, a garage, or outside when temperatures drop. Fireplaces, space heaters, and furnaces are places to avoid with a tablet as the high temperatures can damage it.

· Watch out for liquids – they are not friendly to the tablet.

· Keep the tablet off the floor and steps – especially if the floor is littered with boxes, wrapping paper and gifts that can hide the tablet and cause it to get accidentally stepped on.

Santa said Mrs. Brown is on the Nice List.

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Principal Brown Experience- At a Glance

1998-1999 3rd grade teacher
1999-2000 3rd grade teacher
2000-2001 3rd grade teacher
2001-2002 Curriculum Facilitator
2002-2003 Curriculum Facilitator
2003-2004 Full-time Principal Intern
2004-2005 Assistant Principal- High
2005-2006 Assistant Principal- High
2006-2007 Assistant Principal- Elementary
2007-2008 Principal- Elementary
2008-2009 Principal- Elementary
2009-2010 Principal- Elementary
2010-2011 Principal- Elementary
2011-2012 Principal- Elementary
2012-2013 Principal- Middle
2013-2014 Principal- Middle
2014-2015 Principal- Middle
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Holiday Reading Incentive Program

Once again, we would like to encourage students to continue reading during the winter break. Attached is the log students can use to keep track of their minutes – 20 minutes a day for at least 15 days during winter break, December 20, 2014 – January 5, 2015. Students must read a total of 300 minutes or more to be eligible for the prizes.

For the second straight year, GCS is offering several exciting incentives for students!

* To be eligible for incentives all reading logs should be turned into Media Specialists by January 16, 2015.

* Media Specialists should then turn in the names of eligible students to Tammy Gruer by January 21, 2015.

* Winners will be announced the week of January 26, 2015.

Elementary and Middle School Incentives:

Please note: We will need a list of names of all elementary and middle students eligible for the UNCG games from each school. UNCG will provide an electronic certificate to be distributed to students.

300 minutes All elementary and middle students who read at least 300 minutes during Winter Break can receive a complimentary ticket to the UNCG men’s basketball game on February 28th against Chattanooga. Family members of qualifying students can purchase discounted tickets for $5.00 to the game. All tickets must be secured through the UNCG ticket office by Wednesday, February 25. Information about how to secure these tickets will be included on the certificate, which will be given to the students who qualify.

Elementary, Middle and High School Incentives:

300 minutes All elementary, middle and high school students who read at least 300 minutes will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of the following giveaways: 1. 4 iPad minis 2. 72 $25 Barnes & Noble gift cards

Did you Know?

School Mascot: Lion School Colors: Orange and Black Number of students : 621 Number of teachers: 55 School Board Member: Deena Hayes


American Indian - less than 1%
Asian - 8%
Black/African American- 65%
Pacific Islander- less than 1%
White- 10%
Hispanic/Latino- 12%
Multiracial- 5%

Your Voice Counts! - Parent Survey Data (Fall 2014)

Aycock Middle School provides respectful and responsive service.

  • 54% Agree
  • 3% Disagree
  • 43% Neutral

Teachers communicate regularly and effectively about my child's academic progress.

  • 52% Agree
  • 18% Disagree
  • 26% Neutral

I feel informed about school events and parent involvement opportunities.

  • 84% Agree
  • 6% Disagree
  • 10% Neutral

Aycock Middle School has a welcoming environment.

  • 72% Agree
  • 4% Disagree
  • 24% Neutral

I feel the Aycock Middle School staff members care about my child.

  • 63% Agree
  • 10% Disagree
  • 27% Neutral

Survey Comments:

  • I feel that the connect ed messages are a great way to keep me informed of current events happening at the school. I appreciate that fact that my child's teachers were prompt in addressing concerns and how supportive they are. I don't have any concerns at this time. Thank you for helping my child have a good transition to middle school.
  • I believe that the Spanish Immersion program is working. I like the free lunched this year.
  • Spanish Immersion, Music program, and Campus Life are all impactful effective programs that enrich the Aycock experience.
Check out the Winter Sports Schedule

Click here to see the Aycock Middle School Calendar. Sports and much more.

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Congrats Aycock for receiving Model PBIS School

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Join the Aycock PTSA

We have a 300 member goal and we are almost halfway. We just need you.

9 Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try By Renee Jain, MAPP

As all the kids line up to go to school, your son, Timmy, turns to you and says, “I don’t want to take the bus. My stomach hurts. Please don’t make me go.” You cringe and think, Here we go again. What should be a simple morning routine explodes into a daunting challenge.

You look at Timmy and see genuine terror. You want to comfort him. You want to ease the excessive worry that’s become part and parcel of his everyday life. First, you try logic. “Timmy, we walk an extra four blocks to catch this bus because this driver has an accident-free driving record!” He doesn’t budge.

You provide reassurance. “I promise you’ll be OK. Timmy, look at me… you trust me, right?” Timmy nods. A few seconds later he whispers, “Please don’t make me go.”

You resort to anger: “Timothy Christopher, you will get on this bus RIGHT NOW, or there will be serious consequences. No iPad for one week!” He looks at you as if you’re making him walk the plank. He climbs onto the bus, defeated. You feel terrible.

If any of this sounds familiar, know you are not alone. Most parents would move mountains to ease their child’s pain. Parents of kids with anxiety would move planets and stars as well. It hurts to watch your child worry over situations that, frankly, don’t seem that scary. Here’s the thing: To your child’s mind, these situations are genuinely threatening. And even perceived threats can create a real nervous system response. We call this response anxiety and I know it well.

I’d spent the better part of my childhood covering up a persistent, overwhelming feeling of worry until, finally, in my early twenties, I decided to seek out a solution. What I’ve learned over the last two decades is that many people suffer from debilitating worry. In fact, 40 million American adults, as well as 1 in 8 children, suffer from anxiety. Many kids miss school, social activities and a good night’s rest just from the worried thoughts in their head. Many parents suffer from frustration and a feeling of helplessness when they witness their child in this state day in, day out.

What I also learned is that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anxiety, there are a plethora of great research-based techniques that can help manage it — many of which are simple to learn. WAIT! Why didn’t my parents know about this? Why didn’t I know about it? Why don’t they teach these skills in school?

I wish I could go back in time and teach the younger version of myself how to cope, but of course, that’s not possible. What is possible is to try to reach as many kids and parents as possible with these coping skills. What is possible is to teach kids how to go beyond just surviving to really finding meaning, purpose and happiness in their lives. To this end, I created an anxiety relief program for kids called GoZen. Here are 9 ideas straight from GoZen that parents of anxious children can try right away:

1. Stop Reassuring Your Child Your child worries. You know there is nothing to worry about, so you say, “Trust me. There’s nothing to worry about.” Done and done, right? We all wish it were that simple. Why does your reassurance fall on deaf ears? It’s actually not the ears causing the issue. Your anxious child desperately wants to listen to you, but the brain won’t let it happen. During periods of anxiety, there is a rapid dump of chemicals and mental transitions executed in your body for survival. One by-product is that the prefrontal cortex — or more logical part of the brain — gets put on hold while the more automated emotional brain takes over. In other words, it is really hard for your child to think clearly, use logic or even remember how to complete basic tasks. What should you do instead of trying to rationalize the worry away? Try something I call the FEEL method:

• Freeze — pause and take some deep breaths with your child. Deep breathing can help reverse the nervous system response. • Empathize — anxiety is scary. Your child wants to know that you get it. • Evaluate — once your child is calm, it’s time to figure out possible solutions. • Let Go – Let go of your guilt; you are an amazing parent giving your child the tools to manage their worry.

2. Highlight Why Worrying is Good Remember, anxiety is tough enough without a child believing that Something is wrong with me. Many kids even develop anxiety about having anxiety. Teach your kids that worrying does, in fact, have a purpose.

When our ancestors were hunting and gathering food there was danger in the environment, and being worried helped them avoid attacks from the saber-toothed cat lurking in the bush. In modern times, we don’t have a need to run from predators, but we are left with an evolutionary imprint that protects us: worry.

Worry is a protection mechanism. Worry rings an alarm in our system and helps us survive danger. Teach your kids that worry is perfectly normal, it can help protect us, and everyone experiences it from time to time. Sometimes our system sets off false alarms, but this type of worry (anxiety) can be put in check with some simple techniques.

3. Bring Your Child’s Worry to Life As you probably know, ignoring anxiety doesn’t help. But bringing worry to life and talking about it like a real person can. Create a worry character for your child. In GoZen we created Widdle the Worrier. Widdle personifies anxiety. Widdle lives in the old brain that is responsible for protecting us when we’re in danger. Of course, sometimes Widdle gets a little out of control and when that happens, we have to talk some sense into Widdle. You can use this same idea with a stuffed animal or even role-playing at home.

Personifying worry or creating a character has multiple benefits. It can help demystify this scary physical response children experience when they worry. It can reactivate the logical brain, and it’s a tool your children can use on their own at any time.

4. Teach Your Child to Be a Thought Detective Remember, worry is the brain’s way of protecting us from danger. To make sure we’re really paying attention, the mind often exaggerates the object of the worry (e.g., mistaking a stick for a snake). You may have heard that teaching your children to think more positively could calm their worries. But the best remedy for distorted thinking is not positive thinking; it’s accurate thinking. Try a method we call the 3Cs:

• Catch your thoughts: Imagine every thought you have floats above your head in a bubble (like what you see in comic strips). Now, catch one of the worried thoughts like “No one at school likes me.”

• Collect evidence: Next, collect evidence to support or negate this thought. Teach your child not to make judgments about what to worry about based only on feelings. Feelings are not facts. (Supporting evidence: “I had a hard time finding someone to sit with at lunch yesterday.” Negating evidence: “Sherry and I do homework together–she’s a friend of mine.”)

• Challenge your thoughts: The best (and most entertaining) way to do this is to teach your children to have a debate within themselves.

5. Allow Them to Worry As you know, telling your children not to worry won’t prevent them from doing so. If your children could simply shove their feelings away, they would. But allowing your children to worry openly, in limited doses, can be helpful. Create a daily ritual called “Worry Time” that lasts 10 to 15 minutes. During this ritual encourage your children to release all their worries in writing. You can make the activity fun by decorating a worry box. During worry time there are no rules on what constitutes a valid worry — anything goes. When the time is up, close the box and say good-bye to the worries for the day.

6. Help Them Go from What If to What Is You may not know this, but humans are capable of time travel. In fact, mentally we spend a lot of time in the future. For someone experiencing anxiety, this type of mental time travel can exacerbate the worry. A typical time traveler asks what-if questions: “What if I can’t open my locker and I miss class?” “What if Suzy doesn’t talk to me today?” Research shows that coming back to the present can help alleviate this tendency. One effective method of doing this is to practice mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness brings a child from what if to what is. To do this, help your child simply focus on their breath for a few minutes.

7. Avoid Avoiding Everything that Causes Anxiety Do your children want to avoid social events, dogs, school, planes or basically any situation that causes anxiety? As a parent, do you help them do so? Of course! This is natural. The flight part of the flight-fight-freeze response urges your children to escape the threatening situation. Unfortunately, in the long run, avoidance makes anxiety worse.

So what’s the alternative? Try a method we call laddering. Kids who are able to manage their worry break it down into manageable chunks. Laddering uses this chunking concept and gradual exposure to reach a goal.

Let’s say your child is afraid of sitting on the swings in the park. Instead of avoiding this activity, create mini-goals to get closer to the bigger goal (e.g., go to the edge of the park, then walk into the park, go to the swings, and, finally, get on a swing). You can use each step until the exposure becomes too easy; that’s when you know it’s time to move to the next rung on the ladder.

8. Help Them Work Through a Checklist What do trained pilots do when they face an emergency? They don’t wing it (no pun intended!); they refer to their emergency checklists. Even with years of training, every pilot works through a checklist because, when in danger, sometimes it’s hard to think clearly.

When kids face anxiety they feel the same way. Why not create a checklist so they have a step-by-step method to calm down? What do you want them to do when they first feel anxiety coming on? If breathing helps them, then the first step is to pause and breathe. Next, they can evaluate the situation. In the end, you can create a hard copy checklist for your child to refer to when they feel anxious.

9. Practice Self-Compassion Watching your child suffer from anxiety can be painful, frustrating, and confusing. There is not one parent that hasn’t wondered at one time or another if they are the cause of their child’s anxiety. Here’s the thing, research shows that anxiety is often the result of multiple factors (i.e., genes, brain physiology, temperament, environmental factors, past traumatic events, etc.). Please keep in mind, you did not cause your child’s anxiety, but you can help them overcome it.

Toward the goal of a healthier life for the whole family, practice self-compassion. Remember, you’re not alone, and you’re not to blame. It’s time to let go of debilitating self-criticism and forgive yourself. Love yourself. You are your child’s champion.

Simple tools can help alleviate your child’s anxiety. Start teaching your child coping skills with two animated lessons from