Wellness Wednesday

Your Counselor - Ms. Mutter, & PBSES Coach - Ms. Kusunose

From Ms. Kusunose

Hello Newcastle Community. This week, the counselor and I are taking a look at providing resources to help our children, our families, and our teachers. So much unrest is in the air around CoVID19 and distance learning, the protests and riots happening in our communities, and the school year ending in less than a month. There are steps we can each take to have Courageous Conversations (see the award-winning book by Glenn E. Singleton) in our homes, our communities, and in our schools. Here are two lessons to think about. The first one is more geared for primary grades and the second one is more for intermediate grades. The resources are for parents and teachers. Please reach out if you would like to talk more about having courageous conversations or any of the lessons around teaching tolerance.


Objective: Understand how students’ cultures can affect their lunch room experiences.

Questions to consider:

  • How do students’ cultural backgrounds affect them at school?
  • What dietary rules do different cultures and religions have?
  • How can school cafeterias accommodate and respect students from diverse ethnic, religious and other backgrounds?
  • How can students participate in making schools more culturally relevant?

To Do:

  • Write down what you often eat for lunch.
  • Look at our school menu.


  • Look up 3 cultures different from yours to see what kids eat at home for lunch. If you need ideas, try the following link for ideas:

  • Talk with an adult about one or more of the questions above.


Objective: To learn more about ourselves and others.

Questions to consider:

  • When have you heard someone make an assumption about a person based only on their name?
  • What can you do or say to support someone being teased for their name?
  • How do you think it feels to be teased about your name?

To Do:

  • Create an identity poster about yourself. Ask as many questions as you can from below:

Who named me?

Was I named after someone? Tell me more.

What does my name mean? What is its origin?

Who chose my name?

  • Add photos or draw pictures of you, your family, or of your favorite things.
  • What makes you unique? Add it to the poster.
  • Share your poster with your family, friends, and teachers.


(Free subscription and organized lessons to teach to children around teaching tolerance.)

Big picture

From Ms. Mutter

This week, we are focusing on something that is on many of our minds and hearts right now as we watch the news and witness the national conversation around the injustices within our society. Like many of you, we are looking for ways to bring these conversations around race and racial inequities into our homes to help foster change within ourselves and our families. This is an ongoing discussion that will not be solved by one conversation but rather is an ongoing process of exploration. Look for progress rather than perfection! Because of this, it can also be hard and exhausting in many ways. Break it into chunks, acknowledge the fatigue that you and your family may feel, take breaks, and continue on. If you are unsure where to begin, know that you are not alone, and here are some tips for getting started with this lifelong work:

  1. Find out what they have heard or know. "Tell me what you heard about that." Repeat to be sure you've understood.
  2. Be honest and direct in addressing their comments or answering their questions. Be careful about saying too much. It's okay to say you don't know in answer to a question -- you can tell your child/student you need to research that question and you will let them know what you find out.
  3. Give the basic facts as you understand them. Please reach out to me if you want a sample script of these facts.
  4. When in doubt, read a book. A great place to start could be with a family read-aloud. This offers a structured way to take in a related experience and start off your family discussion as the book brings up things that spark something within you and your kids. I’ve listed some here that are very pertinent to this discussion (all you can find for free in youtube format!). Please review before reading/viewing with your kids to ensure it is a good fit for your family and you are ready to answer questions that may come up from the text.

If you are a family who is directly impacted by these injustices and are feeling emotionally exhausted by this conversation, please take time for self-care and healing. Here are some tips from a recent article for people, specifically those who identify as a person of color, who are struggling with the news and recent events.

There are so many resources for discussing this important topic with our kids. You can find a whole collection here.

Sesame Street will be hosting a town hall addressing racism, June 6 - find out more here. (Update: If you missed it, here is a follow-up quiz with excerpts from the town hall)

And here is a helpful video from Commonsense Media:

Helping Kids Process Violence, Trauma, and Race in a World of Nonstop News

Lastly, we are here to support all families in any way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to help.

** Note: If you have complications with accessing our available district food supports (or know someone who does), or if you are needing school supplies, please reach out to Ms. Mutter and she will assist in finding a solution that best meets your needs**

Nami Kusunose, PBSES Coach

If you would like support with being at home, emotion-regulation, behavior/motivation, or structuring your day/week please reach out to Ms. Kusunose, the PBSES Coach.

Kailey Mutter, School Counselor

If you would like support with coping with anxiety, processing emotions, mindfulness, mental health, talking to your kids about COVID-19, and accessing emergency resources please reach out to Ms. Mutter, the Counselor.