Weekly Address

March 16-March 20, 2015

District Updates

  • Dignity Reports - Where to begin this week?!? On Monday, a list will be developed of any student/s that we should be watching carefully for signs of stress, depression, etc...This list will be shared so that many eyes and ears can monitor our students to ensure they receive the supports they need. Here are a few specific issues to keep an eye on: Darren Rockefeller and Shawn Clay as well as Caitlyn Belcher and Lexie Filley have experienced issues this week which required my involvement. Please watch carefully.

  • Please pass along news or celebrations to post on our Facebook page.

  • Don't forget that our students will be starring in The Powder Monkey on tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. Please come out to show your support!

  • Sources of Strength Week is planned for this upcoming week. Please see the details below and encourage students to participate.

  • Monday - Mental Health Awareness Monday - Students will participate in the Semi-Colon Project. Students show support for ending the stigma of mental illness by drawing a semi-colon on their wrist or hand. The purpose of the semi-colon is to allow the writer to continue on with his or her sentence rather than end it. The semi-colon is a symbol to represent not giving up. Those who choose to participate are showing that they are empathetic and encouraging to those who experience mental illness.

  • Tuesday - Trusted Adult Tuesday - Students will invite their "trusted adult" to lunch and get their picture taken in a photo booth which will be located in our lunch room.

  • Wednesday - Healthy Activity Wednesday - Students will be encouraged to dress in a way that represents their healthy activity.

  • Thursday - "Pass it on" Thursday - This day represents the strengths of positive friends, family support and generosity. Students will be encouraged to do something kind for a friend, family member and engage in a random act of kindness.

  • Friday - Sources of Strength Door Decorating Contest - Homerooms can opt ton decorate their doors in a way that represents the Sources of Strength message. Doors will be judged and the winning homeroom will receive a breakfast treat!

All Teachers

  • As promised, here is the information Mr. Hall spoke of at our Staff Meeting on Thursday: For Schools: Students Returning to School After a Suicide Attempt: Students who have felt so helpless and hopeless to have made a suicide attempt have many challenges to face. The problems that led to their suicide attempt are still there, and now on top of that they have to deal with having been hospitalized for the attempt. Peers are not often kind to those who return to school following a psychiatric hospitalization. Although we are trying hard to reduce the stigma around mental illness, it is still a stigma for many who get admitted into a psychiatric hospital as opposed to a drug or alcohol rehab. The school faculty and staff may also not know how to be supportive to the returning student. Many staff can be insensitive and say thoughtless things that other students may overhear in the office or hallways. Many staff hold outdated beliefs about mental health treatment which may not lead to the most positive climate for the student. Still other staff, who are knowledgeable about mental health issues and who themselves may have or know others in their own life with mental illness, may be the most compassionate. How school staff can help: Coming back to school after a traumatic absence is difficult for students, but returning after a suicide attempt is quiet challenging, especially if everyone knows. Try to give the student as much control as possible over the situation. Meet with the student before her return to school, plan together what she does and doesn't want you to say and to whom. Practicing role playing so that she can try out different responses to different situations that may arise will help lower her anxiety. Teaching her to say, "I don't want to talk about it" gives the student permission to be as private as she would like to be about the circumstances regarding her absence as needed. You may want to ask the student (and parents) for permission to let some of her teachers and some students (that may be in clubs or sports )with her, to know how she wants to be treated. It is also important that the student's counselor gets consent to read the student's discharge plan and recommendations as well as to speak with the outside therapist. This helps the student by building a safety net for her.
  • The return to school requires individualized attention and regular follow up. If the attempt isn't public knowledge, not everyone in the school needs to know the details around the student's absence. Faculty and staff who have direct contact with the student, should be part of her safety net that monitors continuing risk. Giving instructions to those members of the staff about how they can be most helpful to the student will benefit both the student and staff. Here are some ideas:
  • Treat the student's return to school as you would had the student been out sick for a few days.
  • Let the student know you are glad they are back, "Good to see you".
  • Please respect the student's wishes for the way in which his absence is discussed. If the attempt is common knowledge, help the student prepare by role-playing comments and questions from peers or faculty or staff. If no one is really aware, help the student create a short response to explain her absence. Being prepared helps greatly reduce anxiety and helps the student feel more in control.
  • Discuss missed classwork and homework and make arrangements for completion. Adjust expectations for the first days and weeks. Let her know that she can come to you for help with the work or assign a student to help her catch up. Some teachers will give a project or a take home assignment for the student to do instead of trying to make up all of the missed homework.
  • Keep an eye on the student's academic performance as well as her social interactions. If you see that she is isolating or being shunned by peers or is falling further behind in assignments you can follow up with the students and other teachers as well.
  • Pay close attention to further absences, lateness and requests to be excused during classes. If you are concerned please alert the appropriate staff resource at your school.
  • Encourage the student to use the school resources for additional support (school counselor).
  • Always provide regular feedback to school resource staff.

Elementary Teachers

  • Reminder: The next round of RtI Meetings will be held on March 26th (1/2 day afternoon) and on April 10th (all day). The schedule will be shared next week.


Make Your Week Great!