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All-Stars Almanac for 11/19/21

All-Stars Almanac - 9/17/21
Posted on 11/19/2021

All-Stars Almanac



Principals Corner

From Mr. Reider 

I know I have said it before, but as we head into our second trimester, it is worth repeating. Our SBA students have done an amazing job. This first trimester they have adjusted to a full day, homework, a combination of pencil/paper and Google Chromebook work, fluctuating pandemic rules, quarantines, and all with a mask! I am always impressed with students’ ability to rise to expectations and the occasion. SBA students are All-Stars.

 

One area that needed further attention, understanding, and patience was recesses and the free choices that come with it. If you recall when we returned last year, it was a shorter day due to no recesses or lunches. We knew it had been a while since our students had unstructured time with so many of their peers present. We also understood that many of our students (kinder through second) had never really had recess. As a staff we talked about this, prepped, and planned for it, but once the year began, we realized it would take a bit more time than we had expected.

 

We realized that it wasn’t just socialization, but also about making choices, as well as not knowing what to do at a recess. Many of the games that are naturally passed on from student to student during recess didn’t happen for our younger students especially. Many didn’t know what handball was, for example, or how SBA students play it, due to never experiencing recess. All these elements called for further refreshment.

This prompted empathy, understanding, and patience from our teachers, but also presented a learning and teaching opportunity for us and our staff. Many teachers took their students out for P.E. and taught them games/activities they could play at recess, as well as lessons on the 5C’s. Noon supervisors also worked with students regarding various recess activities, individual discussions about student choices being made, and positive or negative consequences. Recess and lunch, at our school, is just another classroom. It presents some natural and effective situations for learning and 5C application. Learning to make the right choices is always our goal for our students.

 

As adults, we sometimes forget that children are still developing the abilities to think critically and problem-solve. We sometimes forget that we make decisions based on years and years of both successes and failures (mistakes) and it is a large part of childhood to make mistakes and learn from them with a caring adult’s guidance. *Whenever students are sent to me for any issue, I always try to approach it with the goal of what guidance do the students need to do better and to learn from.

 

Earlier this year, I received a higher number of calls that expressed a concern of bullying. Honestly, one call in this regard would be more than usual at SBA, but what it told me was that school staff and students weren’t the only ones transitioning in terms of the experience of recess, but parents and families were as well.

 

The term bullying has become a catchall phrase that is often overused or misused.

 

Bullying is not a single or limited episode(s) of social rejection or dislike. It is not a single or limited episode(s) of nastiness or spite. It is also not random acts of aggression or intimidation or mutual arguments, disagreements, or fights.

 

 

Bullying is:

 

  • An imbalance or misuse of power or perceived power in a relationship
  • Deliberate
  • Repetitive/ongoing

Even when the above criteria is met to be labeled ‘Bullying’, we need to be careful in doing so. When we label as such, the child(ren) involved can become that behavior. One is bully, while the other is a victim. One has all the power, while the other is helpless. If these labels are used often enough, children begin to limit how they see themselves and how others see and judge their behaviors. The messages can be received as you have permanent traits instead you are a developing, growing person that I am interested in helping. Neither a bully nor a victim is a positive label, as they limit who they are, how they see themselves, and diminishes their potential. Our goal is to focus on the behavior, not the label.

 

We want our students to be reflective individuals who can problem-solve. So, what can we do to support them along the way?

 

Strategies for kids to help defend themselves:

 

  1. Assert Yourself: stand tall and use a strong voice to name the behavior and demand it to stop. “That’s mean, stop it,” “Stop making fun of me, it’s mean.”
  2. Question the Response: respond to the insult with a non-defensive question, “Why would you say that?” “Why would you say I’m dumb and hurt my feelings?”
  3. Use, I Want: say firmly and clearly what you want. “I want you to leave me alone”, “I want you to stop teasing me.”
  4. Agree with the teaser or make fun of the teasing. Many times, agreement or humor toward the teasing, not the person doing it, often stops the behavior.
    • “You’re dumb”…
    • Responses: “Yeah, but I’m good at it” or “You don’t say”, “And your point is?”, “Thanks for telling me.”

5. Ignore it: this sends the message that the teasing/aggression has no impact:

    • Pretend they’re invisible.
    • Walk away without looking at them.
    • Quickly look at something else and laugh.
    • Look completely uninterested.

 

Many times, students don’t inform any adult at school of an incident and will bring it home. It is difficult for a school to help solve issues if we are unaware. Thank them for letting you know, and you will support them, but if the problem does not stop their first step is for your child to inform the school. They have several options starting with their teacher, noon-supervisor, counselor, or an administrator.

 

A good way to start with your kids when they bring an incident to you is to ask them:

 

“How do you want to handle it?”

 

Asking these questions communicates to your child that you trust in his or her decisions and ability to problem-solve. It can also prevent or empower him/her to stay or move out of a victim mentality and develop a sense of competence and control. It is not a good idea nor supportive in the long term to take over and fix things for our kids. It’s more powerful to focus on supporting him or her to explore their different options with the situation and then provide support for those options. Possible support is practicing one of the above listed strategies.

 

This was message was a bit longer than I had planned, but just seeing some of the various decisions on the playground early on, I thought it necessary. I wanted to share that our ultimate goal is for our students to be Critical Thinkers and apply all the 5C’s in all aspects of their day. SBA knows you are a large part of our team that helps our students reach this goal of being their own problem-solvers and best citizen possible.

 

Thank you for your time and support.

 

Resources:

Michele Borba:  micheleborba.com

Stopbullying.gov
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Counselors Corner

From Mrs. Lewis

Just about every week this school year, I have been able to visit every classroom on our campus.  During this time, I have been teaching various skills in the area of Social Emotional Learning (SEL).  We have learned many coping strategies - triangle breathing, mindfulness, and even some simple yoga moves - just to name a few.  We have learned about the Emotional Thermometer, which is a scale from 1-10 that identifies when our brain switches from ‘thinking brain’ to ‘emotional brain’.  These skills all fall under the umbrella of self-management, which is essential to managing one’s emotions and responses to stress.  Recently, we started learning about worry.  This is often called ‘anxiety’, although they are not synonymous.  If your child is experiencing strong emotions, such as worry or frustration, please encourage them to try some of the strategies we’ve learned together this year.  Practicing these skills in real-life situations will only make them stronger, more resilient human beings, able to deal with whatever life sends their way. 

 

Thank you for your continued support!

 

Mrs. Lewis, SBA School Counselor

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break All-Stars! 

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