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  • Support for Students

    Margaret Paul & Allison Isbell
    Dear families,
     
    We are off and running . . . the school year has started well, we had a wonderful curriculum night on Tuesday and will have our 11/12 curriculum night next Tuesday. Sports teams are working hard, play rehearsal has begun and students are experiencing their first week of X-Block classes.

    You have successfully launched your students into the school year, so what comes next?
     
    SUPPORT

    How do you support your high schooler this year? And what does support look like as your students build independence? As teachers who spend our days with teenagers, we have a few thoughts that might be helpful as you navigate the year with your students.
     
     
     
    1. Ask, but don’t interrogate. It is important that we ask our kids about their day.  Many times, all we may get back is “fine,” but if we keep asking, at some point they will have something they want to talk about, and we will be present for them when that happens. As you 
    know well, our kids are sensitive to being mined for information, versus being asked because we care about them. If you have questions about school, a teacher, homework, please feel free to reach out to your student’s advisor for answers, which can help reserve your conversations with your kids for truly listening to their experiences as they want to share them.
     
     
     
     
    2. Narrow the scope. Asking a teenager a question like “How was your day?” is a good starting point, but often yields “good” or “fine” with no further detail. For us (as teachers and advisors) we often follow up with “I would love to hear something you found interesting today” or “How’s it going in ### class?” Providing students with a more focused question most often yields a better conversation where they start to share their experience. This is also important to do when students make big statements like “Everything is hard!” or “NO ONE knows what is going on in this class!” Following up these big statements with specific questions can help you start to break into the frustration and overwhelm.
     
     
     
    3. Offer support. Often, kids share about frustrations at home because it is the safe space for them to do so. As parents, it’s easy to jump to solutions and try to fix the problem, but many times our kids just want us to listen and to validate their feelings. Useful responses that we often use as teachers and advisors are “Thanks for sharing that with me-that does sound frustrating” or “I’m so glad you told me about this–how can I help?” No matter the direction you go in the conversation, the “How can I help?” question is  critical. It helps us value student autonomy and ability to problem solve for themselves, while recognizing that they are still developing and refining these skills, and may want some back up. Asking this, rather than jumping to offering solutions keeps students, and their agency, at the center of the conversation.
     
     

    And finally, remember that the best help you can offer high school students is to partner with them in working out a problem, rather than solving it for them. Helping them learn to read through their email so they aren’t missing information, or craft an email to a teacher to discuss an issue, or set up a meeting with their advisor are all important skills for them to develop. 

    Navigating high school with your children will inevitably involve highs and lows, and if we can all be present to partner with them in these cycles they will have all that they need to learn and grow during these years.
  • Welcome Back!

    Margaret Paul & Allison Isbell
    Dear High School families,

    The excitement that is running through the high school this week might be at an all time high! Our staff and students have returned with so much energy and enthusiasm for this school year, and these past few days have been SO MUCH FUN! Our hallways are filled with students and teachers catching up, students running arm in arm to meet up with friends they haven’t seen, and . . .  they are filled with squeals of delight at our new, 2nd floor bathrooms (yes, come take a look)! It has been such a wonderful return to school!

    Below are some photos that attempt to capture all the ways our students are re-engaging with school this week, but can’t possibly come close to reality. Your kids are amazing, and we are so excited to begin our year together!

    9th graders are at Camp Ramapo for orientation, and being led by our amazing Senior Peer Leaders, as well as their Faculty Advisors.
     
     
     
     
     
    10th graders re-connecting with each other through activities at Pier 45. Today they are at Wild Play, a high ropes course at Jones Beach.
     
     
     
     
    Juniors are tackling the Junior Trip Lab with impressive focus and engagement . . . we can’t wait to see what issues they will study and where they will go to study them. More to come on this throughout the trimester.
     
     
     
     
     
    Seniors, the Class of 2023, are working hard to ramp up for the college admissions season, as well as beginning to think about their Senior Projects. 
     
     
     
     
     



     
  • Summer Health & Wellbeing

    Margaret Paul
    Families, 
     
    Congratulations on the successful completion of the school year! 
     
    Please read the message below from our wellness team:
     
    Since we will be apart, we wanted to share few strategies to keep mental health a top priority over the summer break.
     
    Start with the basics and get outside often! Exposure to the natural sun increases vitamin D and serotonin levels, which can help boost our mood. Choose an activity that allows you to spend at least thirty minutes outdoors. Whether you are gardening, paddle boarding, or bike riding, spending time outside is an essential element of self-care. Just because school is out for summer and your children can stay up late and sleep in does not mean they should. No matter the time of year, obtaining eight to ten uninterrupted hours of sleep is essential for our mental health. Finally, keep your children busy! Get them involved in an internship, a job, a summer class, or a volunteer position. In addition to providing a sense of structure, this work can help them apply knowledge learned in the classroom, meet peers with similar interests, and gain valuable experience and networking contacts. 
     
    While your child's schedule might look vastly different in the summer than during the school year, please do not discontinue care with your child's mental health provider unless the provider deems the summer a healthy time for a short break. Consistency is essential, and having a session once or twice a month is better than an absence of care. Please be mindful that if you discontinue working with your child's provider now, you may not be able to reestablish care during the summer if a crisis should arise or in the fall if there are no open spots. Since the High School Wellness Team will be on vacation, please keep your child's providers (therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists) updated on their needs. At the end of the summer, a mental health and wellness form will be sent via Magnus to update our team on new medications, changes in providers, hospitalizations, etc. 
     
    If there is a medical or psychological emergency over the summer, please call 911 immediately. For less urgent matters, collaborate with your child's providers. If your child does not have a provider, but you are interested in connecting with a counselor, or you need resources, please get in touch with one of the following: 
     
    NYC Well is a resource that connects you to free, confidential mental health support. The platform allows you to speak to a counselor via phone, text, or chat and access mental health and substance use services in more than 200 languages, 24/7/365. You can text WELL to 65173, call at 1-888-692-9355, or visit the website at https://nycwell.cityofnewyork.us/en/
     
    The Trevor Project specializes in supporting young LGBTQIA+ youth and has The Trevor Lifeline, a 24/7 confidential and secure support service that connects you to a counselor. You can text START to 678-678, call at 1-866-488-7386, or visit the website at https://www.thetrevorproject.org.
     
    Finally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and prevention and crisis resources. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or visit the website at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
     
    Please reach out to us if you have questions or need support. 
     
    With care,
    The Wellness Team
     

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