If you are here to access the handout from the Counselor's Only Conference, you may find the link here.
In the past several years, we have seen a spike in anxiety. There are many factors to a student experiencing anxiety- a genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and an increase in screen time. All of these things have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 2019-2020 school year, I obtained the Anxiety and Stress Management Specialist certification through the American School Counselor Association. This turned out to be very relevant timing, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit just as I was completing it.
I have compiled some of what I learned into short, applicable videos for parents to watch as they help their children navigate unprecedented and uncertain times. I also have several resources that are available for parent checkout if needed, so contact me if you are interested in obtaining additional resources.
These videos are under development and more will be added over time:
What is Worry?
Worry and the Brain
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Greetings NPS Parents,
I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. I want you to know that your principals, teachers and curriculum coordinators have been working incredibly hard, virtually of course, over the past few days to put together guidance for you. Today, we held virtual faculty meetings for each of our schools. They are so excited to have the opportunity to interact with their students soon through a distance learning education plan.
There are several important updates to share with you today. To better serve our students and families, we will begin providing weekly meals instead of daily meals at our school sites. This approach will be more convenient for families as they will only need to go to the school one time and also will allow us to reduce contact and better protect our students, families and the child nutrition staff.
The weekly grab-and-go meals will be distributed on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the car lines at every NPS school site. Families who cannot pick up the weekly meals on Monday may pick them up from any school Tuesday, also from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Families who cannot pick up weekly meals on Monday or Tuesday are encouraged to contact our Child Nutrition office at 405-366-5908 to make alternative arrangements.
I also want to assure you that our educators are hard at work as we prepare to resume instruction through distance learning on Monday, April 6. By the end of next week, we will launch the NPS Distance Learning Dashboard, which will be found at www.normanpublicschools.org/distancelearning. Please keep in mind that teachers will reach out to provide instructional plans that are specific to your students and the webpage will include supplemental learning activities.
We understand many parents and guardians have a variety of responsibilities and every family will adjust to distance learning in their own way. This is an incredibly difficult time, and facilitating learning at home is a challenge that even our own teachers and staff face as they attend to their school responsibilities while watching their own children. While there is no simple answer to this, our advice is to do your best to create a structured, consistent schedule that works for your family. We have provided a sample daily schedule here as a suggestion.
We know it is not realistic for students to spend the same amount of time with distance learning as they would in a traditional school day. Rather, students should be encouraged to focus on the academic activities provided by their teacher and the supplemental learning opportunities that will be posted on the NPS Distance Learning Dashboard for about 1.5 to 2 hours each weekday.
Also, please remember that we do not expect you to be the teacher. We only ask that you help facilitate learning activities for your child to the best of your ability. This might include giving your child a choice of several activities and getting them started, then turning your attention to your own work. In reality, simply providing a daily structure of some kind that includes reading and academic time is ideal. Again, this is uncharted territory, and we are empathetic to the plight of many parents.
Finally, it is very important that your contact information is up-to-date in your Parent Portal account, as this is the information our educators use to contact you. You can click here to login to your account. If you do not have a Parent Portal account, please click here to register for one.
We continue to post regular updates regarding COVID-19 and school closures at www.normanpublicschools.org/health. I know many questions remain unanswered, but please know we are working around the clock to find answers and adjust to this new reality. Remember, this will not last forever. It will not be easy, but we will get through this one day at a time.
Dr. Nick Migliorino
Norman Public Schools
Current as of March 27, 2020
Beginning Wednesday, March 25, free meals will be provided to any child 18 years and younger. The grab-and-go meals will be distributed every weekday between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the car line at every NPS school site.
Families who drive to the school are encouraged to stay in their car. The meals will be distributed in a drive-through fashion. The grab-and-go packages will include a lunch, as well as breakfast for the following day. Lunch items will consist of protein, grain, fruit, vegetables and milk. Breakfast items will consist of grain, fruit, juice and milk.
Children can go to any NPS school to pick up food. The free meals are available for any child under 18 years of age. Applications, ID and proof of income is NOT required.
If possible, please use the links located on the NPS website to indicate the number of meals needed and which school site you want to pick up from by 3:00 pm the day before meals are to be picked up. You can also call Child Nutrition at 405-366-5908. This is not required but allows our Child Nutrition team to plan adequate meals for every school site. The link can be found by going to www.normanpublicschools.org/health then clicking on Student Meals.
The McFarlin mobile food pantry has expanded their reach to our Lincoln population. Once a month, there will be a mobile food pantry at Madison Elementary and Irving Middle School. There are more spots available at Madison, so please keep this in mind. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
Red Ribbon Week begins next week. Throughout this week we will be discussing safe and healthy choices that students can make to positively impact their future and live a drug-free life. Here are our dress up days for the week:
We are so thrilled that our Great Kindness Challenge will begin next week! Each student will receive a list of kind acts that they can perform to others. We will tally how many kind acts we can accumulate as a school. At the heart of this event is promotion of a positive school climate as well as bullying prevention.
This week is always a fun week, you can walk through the school and feel the warm fuzzies. But we hope that kindness does not end after the event ends. We promote kindness as a lifestyle. I often tell students that kindness is a superpower! One act can spark so many more acts.
I will be posting pictures of the events here on the blog as well as to our Linc Lion Facebook page. One very exciting thing is if you want to include your family in the fun, there is a new FAMILY EDITION of the Great Kindness Challenge checklist! I have linked it for you to be able to download. Please post pictures to Linc Lion of you and your family performing kind deeds! We can't wait to see!
During the months of September and October, we focus on respect and empathy. I teach the Second Step Bullying Prevention unit with grades K-5th. There are four focuses of each lesson of the curriculum.
1. Recognizing Bullying
The first lesson focuses on recognizing bullying. Bullying is defined as when someone keeps being mean on purpose. It happens over and over again. It is unfair and one-sided, meaning that the person it is happening to isn't being mean back and hasn't been able to make it stop. Now, let's be clear, we are not okay with any form of unkind or mean behavior at Lincoln. We just respond differently to bullying than other forms of conflict. Recognizing bullying is the first step in addressing the problem, which leads us to our next focus.
2. Reporting Bullying
Reporting bullying is the next step. We discuss why telling a trusted adult is so important. I have them identify a trusted adult that they feel safe to report the bullying to. We encourage them to report the bullying to their parents, as well as ensuring that an adult at the school knows. We will immediately take action to stop the bullying and provide support to the student. If the student hopes to address the problem on their own, we still like to help them practice words to say and keep an eye out if the bullying doesn't stop.
3. Refusing Bullying
The 3rd of the "3 R's of Bullying" (recognize, report, refuse) is refusing bullying. Refusing bullying involves using a strong and respectful voice to tell the bully to stop. The voice must be strong in order to be taken seriously, and respectful in order to keep from exacerbating the problem.
4. Bystander Power!
I have the students say "Bystander POWA" in their best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice (although some kids don't know who he is anymore, wow!). We discuss how bullying is everyone's problem and if they see something, they need to say something!
What can you do as a parent? Let us know if your child reports any instances of bullying. Talk to your child about the importance of telling someone if they see anything going on. We strive to be a kindness-filled school at Lincoln, and it takes all of us to get there.
We are gearing up for Red Ribbon Week. During this week, we will explore a multitude of factors that contribute to a drug free life. We will have dress up days to amp up the fun, but will also have important conversations of good decision making and healthy choices.
This summer I was lucky enough to attend the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. I was able to network with the best and brightest minds in the profession, gain and share ideas, and learn, learn, learn!
I heard keynotes by Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of Gabby Giffords. He spoke of the importance of grit and effort. One quote that he said in particular has stuck out to me: "How good you are at the beginning of anything you start is not an indicator of how good you will become." How important for all of us to remember, especially as we teach and parent our amazing Lincoln students. I also heard a fabulous keynote by Carol Dweck, the developer of the growth mindset research. I took a lot of notes on that, but they will be saved for another post!
Needless to say, I am so excited to get the year started, implement what I have learned, and have the best possible program for our Lincoln students. LET'S GO!