May 13, 2020
Dear Students and Families,
We are all in this together! Stay connected. Reach out! I have noticed that the last couple of weeks have been more challenging emotionally for students and families and for myself, too. I am finding that many are experiencing ups and downs in their emotions that can change rapidly throughout the day. I, too, find this is happening for myself and try to put in place self-care activities such as drinking water, talking to a good friend, taking a walk, working in my garden where I feel a sense of purpose, and unplugging from the news as much as possible.
Sometimes I find comfort knowing that others are too experiencing grief, loss, anxiety, and uncertainty. These are not normal times. Life has been upended for most of us! It is okay to not be okay!
I have observed our teachers and staff to come together in amazing ways to reach out to students and families and maintain connections. Connection and a sense of community are essential resiliency traits to manage through this time. If you or your child are experiencing challenges, please reach out to our school community. Let us know if your child needs some extra contact, phone calls, letters, or messages. Many of our teachers and staff are writing letters to students letting them know how much we miss them and to maintain their connection with trusted adults. Maintaining connection with peers are also an important way to help manage. I know for myself that when I join a Zoom of Google Meet meeting I am instantly happier when I see the beautiful faces of our students. The students are so cute when they get together virtually and appear to appreciate the time together to reconnect.
Our middle school students appear to experiencing grief and loss about their transition to high school and change in 8th grade graduation activities and milestones. While stressed adolescents may also experience poor concentration, changes in mood, and disruptions in sleeping and eating patterns, other signs to be on the lookout for include acting out and physical health complaints. To cope well with grief, a person needs to be allowed to feel the pain of their loss. Graduations are a mourning as well as a celebration. Our staff are working hard to finalize the 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony to be held as a Drive In on Friday, June 12 from 5 to 7pm. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.
As a parent, we may feel it is difficult to be both the teacher and the parent/caregiver. You are not alone in your experience! Irritability, loss of patience, and difficulties with managing the household are normal during this time. If parents can’t juggle it all, it’s okay! We must be gentle with ourselves and give ourselves grace.
If children are stressed and worried, their learning may be impacted negatively anyway, so we need to focus on helping them feel safe and loved. Encourage children to practice self-care and listen to their feedback about what they want their days to be like. Work together to plan their days. This time of physical/social distancing may be especially tough for children with disabilities and their parents.
During this time, it is important to stay connected. As parents/caregivers, it is more important than ever to keep our kids connected to their friends, so they don’t become isolated. Encourage your child to contact someone they have not talked to in a while, make a goal to reach out to two people per day, or talk to a friend virtually. I find that the students who are connected with peers are managing our current situation with a little more ease.
Please reach out if your child needs more connection with school staff. Talk to your child’s teacher or our office staff. We are all in this together!