"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
- Pablo Picasso
Dear Charter Families,
Two weeks underway with classes and homeschool activities! Wow! It is so exciting to see the students back again, happy and excited to be working with their teachers and fellow classmates. I have had the opportunity to talk to students, parents, teachers in all of our programs, and they are all so excited to be back and beginning their year with new projects, ideas, and learning together.
Thank you for all that you do at home and in our classroom to support your children, our students; we are grateful that you have chosen our Charter programs to educate them.
Please continue reading this newsletter for some important messages. In particular, we will be beginning a Parent Education series with Martha Kaufeldt. She gave workshops to our parents last year to great appreciation by those who attended. Martha uses humorous stories from her 35+years as a neuro-educator and a parent. She will share several key factors that can influence how young brains grow and develop as well as many practical strategies parents can use to help their children manage stress, encourage self-regulation, and avoid developing a fixed mindset.
And please read the article that our counselor Jen Sims wrote for us. We truly believe that it takes a village to raise a child and that means that we will continue to work hand in hand with you parents, who are the key to your child’s success. We believe that education works best when teachers and parents work hand in hand to support the reason we are together; your children’s education and success in becoming the best they can be. Jen will be writing about a different theme each month that ties to the annual progression of the school year.
I hope that you will enjoy these added educational elements that we have to offer our families.
Have a great three day weekend. Remember, no school on Monday; may you have added time to appreciate our wonderful environment.
~Rhonda and the Charter Admin team.
Put your smiles on and brush your hair, Charter picture days are coming soon!
FROM OUR COUNSELOR: Each month, our counselor, Jen Sims will be writing an article on a topic that we believe will help in everyone’s understanding of your student’s progress through the school year.
They are intended to help you and your child, and to give you some starters for better understanding and communication. We hope you find it beneficial reading.
Welcome to the 2016/2017 school year! It’s exciting and new to start fresh, but change – even very good change – can be difficult.
Change can have many meanings across the developmental continuum. Depending on your child’s age, you are going to have different tasks in order to help them manage and even accept change with interest and curiosity. Let’s look at some of the changes that might be occurring in your lives right now. Maybe this is your child’s first year of school, ever! Or, maybe they are adjusting to a new grade, new school or classroom. Maybe they are driving themselves back and forth for the first time, developing broader social lives, or anticipating one of the biggest changes of all - life after graduation. If any of these changes are having an impact on you as a parent, imagine the anxiety they may cause your children. When many changes happen at once, it can put pressure on your coping system. Here are some ideas for helping your kids remain resilient during times of change.
Who knows your child better than you? You may be able to figure out pretty early on how your child generally reacts to change. Are they laid back and go with the flow, or do they dig in their heels and resist? Knowing your child’s pattern will help you tailor your response in terms of timing and support you provide, whatever their age. A child that shows anxiety and fear may always need a bit more advance notice about upcoming changes, as well as supportive conversation about the feelings they are experiencing.
Starting in Middle school, you can help your child understand that changes create a need for information. The SLV Charter School has class orientations and meetings to frontload information to students and parents. This can help comfort levels while moving through transition. What other information might they need as they move through life? As they grow, teach them how and where to get information about what is happening independently from you. This will become a skill that continues to make things easier when they get to high school and changes become even more frequent.
Change situations are always great opportunities to practice self-regulation - mindfulness and breathing awareness can bring one back to the present before getting onto the roller coaster of future possibilities and ‘what if’ scenarios. Making choices while feeling panicked isn’t effective or recommended. Taking a moment to create distance is a great habit to build in early and often.
Talk, talk, talk about it! Ask your child how they are feeling. Tell them about times you have lived through change yourself. Find out what picture they may already have in their head. What do they see happening? Do they imagine that everyone will laugh at them? Are they worried about being apart from you? That they won’t be able to keep up with the academics? Hopefully, you will be able to help them clear up any misconceptions they may be holding. Use imagery to help your child envision a positive outcome.
This is also a good time to be on the lookout for catastrophic thinking. Examples of this may be, “I always get picked last,” “I will never get accepted to college,” “I’ll never be able to get this finished.” Challenge these black and white statements and you will teach your child to challenge them too.
Keep these conversations going when your child hits adolescence. By age 13 (or before), your child is going to start going through changes – hormonally driven changes – that will impact their bodies and emotions. Over the next several years, work to keep your child grounded in the reality of who they are on the inside. Their bodies are changing, as well as their friends around them. Social dynamics are becoming more important so relationships may also change. It’s a scary time, but remind them that they themselves will remain mostly the same when they come out on the other side.
One of the big changes that will take place as your child moves through to later adolescence is that they will have many more choices available. Teenagers today face increasing pressure to make choices about parties, sexual activities, and substance use – things that they may perceive as rites of passage or may make them feel grown-up. In these moments, you can help them learn that change can be risky – what information do they need to consider before moving forward? What state of mind should they be in before making choices like this? Weighing pros and cons, considering consequences and factoring in safety measures may be difficult for teenagers, but it is not impossible to instill this habit.
Be realistic. It’s true, your child could get lost on campus, someone may not talk to them, or they could trip in front of the whole school! Problem solving comes in handy here. Help your child come up with proactive responses to worrisome situations so that they can feel more in control. This will have a huge impact on how they are able to handle the world as they move through life.
For older children and adolescents, being realistic can look like managing expectations. Part of growing up is learning that change is often a broken promise – new things are often not as good or not as bad as you expect! Once again, an attitude of curiosity is helpful in this situation. Helping your teen to approach new things with inquisitive interest will prepare them for any possible outcome. What will happen today?
Time for grief. There is so much trade-off that comes with growing up, as things that were fun when we are young get cast off for new ideas, relationships and privileges. Even as they look toward the future, your child may mourn the loss of cherished childhood rituals and activities. Teaching your child that change creates loss will be a constant theme throughout their lives.
No matter the age, comfort your child and encourage them to express their emotions. Holding feelings in can lead to greater risk of anxiety and depression.
Overall, change takes courage. After any change has occurred, call attention to your child’s success. Even small changes can be daunting! Remind your child of what they may have believed before and do some reality testing – what really ended up happening? Older children will benefit from reviewing positive aspects of the change – what can you do now that you couldn’t before? Because of this change, what other changes are possible for the future? It is also great to reflect back to them the coping skills that you noticed them using during the change so they can develop greater awareness of what works.
THIS TRIMESTER I will be presenting on the topics of change, skill development and gratitude to all students at the Charter Schools. You can play along at home! Here are some conversation starters that will work with or can be adapted for most age groups:
“… Did you ever go through a change that was really scary? How did you handle it?” OR “…Did you ever read a book about someone going through a change? How did they handle it?”
“…How would you choose to act if you were not afraid of change?”
“…What is one change you would like to make by the spring? What can you start doing now to get there?
“…What are some things you feel grateful for?”
~~If you would like to contact Jen directly for any reason, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Begin with the Brain:
Three Things Parents Need to Know!
Presenter: Martha Kaufeldt
Do you often wonder what is going on inside your child or teen’s developing brain? What are some things that parents can do to encourage and motivate learning and curiosity in their children? Come and learn from a veteran “neuro-educator,” author, presenter, parent educator, and charter teacher!
No matter if your child is in pre-school or high school, you will find these ideas thought provoking and leave with several new parenting strategies. This 90 minute presentation begins with a thought-provoking overview of how too much stress and pressure can hi-jack children’s brains and minimize learning. This entertaining session will also encourage quick reflections and discussions. A short Q & A will follow the presentation.
Co-parents, spouses and partners are encouraged to come together!
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 5:30 – 7:00pm
FALL CREEK Campus – LUDLOW Center (Behind the High School)
RSVP Requested to prepare materials, childcare, snacks, and meeting space. email@example.com
This session will launch a series of future Parent Education opportunities provided by SLV Charter School
SPECIAL COMMUNItY EVENT: This is a film that shares many of the practices that the Charter programs aspire toward. Project-based, problem-based, Inquiry-based learning are elements of all of our programs.
“Most Likely to Succeed” at Louden Nelson Sept 26th at 6:30.
Most Likely to Succeed examines the history of education in the United States, revealing the growing shortcomings of conventional education methods in today’s innovative world. The film explores compelling new approaches that aim to transform learning as we know it. After seeing this film, the way you think about “school” will never be the same. Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/122502930
Here is the link to Eventbrite to reserve a ticket https://www.eventbrite.com/e/most-likely-to-succeed-tickets-27243556210?aff=ehomefriend.
I hope to see you there!
What’s Going on in Our Charter School? ..little snippets of some of our programs.
CRHS: Students are meeting with their Supervising teacher to confirm their courses for the year, and working on their Benchmark assessments in writing.
CRMS: Photography Field Day, Wednesday 9/7, 9:30am-1:30pm. This is a drop-off event, though parents are welcome to join in.
Nature Academy: Ms. Hope’s students have practiced their writing about their pet rock and have had special teacher come in for art. Grades 7-8 are beginning their physics project where they are representing how they balance their life. Grades 6,7 and 8 took a hike to Wilder today: a great opportunity for some Life Skills lessons such as perseverance, patience), respect, friendship, and Joie de Vivre! Many thanks to ALL the volunteers for their time and enthusiasm to be on this hike We could not do this without you!
Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): Students are learning their online learning programs for Math and Science and developing their collaboration skills with a touch of improv thrown in. They are beginning their introduction to the American Revolution. Thursday was their first Field Trip to the Exploratorium to view the Strandbeests. A big thanks to all the parent drivers who made this day possible for all the students! Tuesday, Sept.6 :Mt. Hermon Low Ropes Teambuilding Day.
Quail Hollow Homeschool: Their Annual Beginning of the Year Family Camping at New Brighton State Beach is coming up Tuesday, September 13 through Thursday, September 15. More information with the next weekly update. In the meantime, practice your campfire singing voices, make sure your bikes have air in the tires and scooters are ready
Fall Creek Homeschool: Lisa has been giving students many exciting links to support their Astronomy Theme. Here is one of many: For all of the budding photography enthusiasts, today is the anniversary of an historic photo - the first one taken of the Earth from near the Moon. It was an unmanned Lunar Orbiter that took the photo on August 23, 1966 - that is 50 years ago. http://earthsky.org/space/this-date-in-science-first-view-of-earth-from-the-moon
Mountain IS: It was so wonderful to see returning families at the beach last week and be able to introduce a few of our new ones to our marvelous mountaineers! On Friday September 9th at 6pm, the Parent's Club will be hosting a pasta dinner and movie night here at Mountain School.
DATES TO REMEMBER: (Please refer to your program’s newsletter for greater detail regarding dates and details specific to your program’s Field Trips and class events.)