Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy New Year!

As we begin a new year, we would like to take some time to look back at the different opportunities we have had to expand our knowledge base.  We hope to be able to bring new thoughts and ideas to colleagues and parents in an effort to work collaboratively to address the needs of our students.  Here is a recap of the various conferences and other activities we have attended. We have included links to articles and other resources for your information.

“Wired Differently"The counseling staff of the middle school and high school attended this workshop in November. This training addressed the different needs of students who present at school with mental illness and behavioral disorders. Topics included Anxiety, Bipolar disorder, Oppositional Defiant disorder, and Asperger's Syndrome. We learned a variety of successful strategies for reaching these students along with assisting teachers and staff to deepen their understanding of how these disorders affect our students.

Dr. Ross Greene and Lives in the Balance
  • The counseling staff of all three elementary schools and the middle school attended this conference in Portland, Maine on November 7th
  • Lives in the Balance is the non-profit organization founded by child psychologist Dr. Ross Greene, originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.  Their mission is to advocate on behalf of behaviorally challenging kids and their parents, teachers, and other caregivers and to provide web-based resources on Dr. Greene's model -- now called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions -- as described in his books The Explosive Child and Lost at School
  • The keynote speaker, James Garbarino, provided insight and knowledge regarding children with behavioral challenges and new approaches to addressing them.  His book, Lost Boys, is another great resource.
  • For our 2nd Olweus class meeting, we talked with the students about stress and different ways to cope when they become overwhelmed.  We also had the entire school participate in a 5 minute guided meditation.  It proved to be a very rewarding experience for all involved and the Olweus committee received a lot of wonderful feedback from the faculty and students.
  • Here is the link to the exercise we did as a school: 5 Minutes Off
  • Moving forward, we want to look into the practice of mindfulness and possibly incorporating different stress-reducing strategies into our day to day lives here at Miles River.
  • To give you some background, mindfulness is
‘a state of active, open attention on the present.When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience’ (as stated in Psychology Today)
  • We have also found a great article about using mindfulness practice in schools: Click Here
  • There are also many different websites with guided meditation audio downloads and an app called “5 Minute Relaxation” that can be downloaded on your iPad or iPhone.  We encourage you to try some of these activities with your children at home.

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