Well our first Mustangs Matter Monday was a success!!!!!!
You might be wondering to yourself....what the heck is Mustangs Matter Monday?! Many of your kids may have come home talking about it on Monday, so I thought I would provide a brief explanation of the program.
Mustangs Matter Monday is something we developed in order to increase a sense of belonging at school. In years past, there have been buddy classrooms that tried to meet throughout the year to get different grade levels interacting. Mustangs Matter takes that same concept only it's on a larger scale and involves everyone in the school at the same time!
Here are the logistics of the program:
I do hope your children enjoyed the first Mustangs Matter Monday and are looking forward to our next one! One way you as parents could help on that day is to avoid taking children to appointments during our activity time. Mustangs Matter begins around 10:50 and concludes around 12:15. As well, if you would like to eat lunch with your child, we would encourage you to do so on a day other than Mustangs Matter. We only get to do this activity 6 times during the entire school year and it is a wonderful way for our little's and big's to get to know one another. There are so many positives that can come from the connections the big and little buddies will make with one another on those days!
For those of you that would like to see what "family group" your child is in, I have attached a document that includes that information.
Welcome to the start of the new school year!!!! I am excited to be returning as your school counselor again this year. I will again be splitting my time between Magdalen, St. Thomas Aquinas and Resurrection. My regular schedule will have me at Magdalen on Monday's and Wednesday's, St. Thomas on Tuesday's and Friday's and Resurrection on Thursday's. You can reach me at any school, but please know I will check my Magdalen email daily so can easily be reached via email.
Last year, we introduced a new anti-bully curriculum. Feedback from the kids and teachers was positive about the program so we are going to be continuing using the web-based BlueKids program again this year. The program will not be available until after September 3rd, thus we will begin mid-September with those lessons. Last year, the online program was just for grades 4-8. This year, the program was extended and will include grades PK-8!!!! I'm looking forward to our younger students benefiting from this program as well!
As always, I'm here to serve you and your children. If you have any concerns you feel I should be aware of, please do not hesitate in contacting me.
Magdalen School Counselor
I thought it would be good to start the new year with couple of resources for parents! It's always good to stay up to date with issues that can effect kids at school and how you as a parent can help them through those situations. I received a couple of articles that I thought would be good resources for you parents. They are both written by Tara Fortner Hanna, LMSW, a social worker who works at Catholic Charities School Counseling Program.
The first article is titled Is It Bullying? and it provides information on how you as a parent can try to decipher if your child is being bullied. It provides a quiz link for you to take to test your knowledge on deciphering situations that are truly bullying. As well, it provides a link to additional strategies parents can use to help kids resolve conflicts peacefully. The second article is titled Talking to Kids About Traumatic Events. In the aftermath of the recent school shooting in Connecticut, I thought this article would be helpful for parents who are unsure about what to say to kids when they ask questions about traumatic events.
Please know that my role here at Magdalen is to help our students. If there is ever a time you have a concern about your child and would like additional resources or feel I could be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. My email is listed on the sidebar or you can leave me a message. Please recall I am at Magdalen on Monday's and Wednesday's.
Welcome to the new school year!!!!
I’m excited to share with you an updated anti-bully program we will be initiating at MCS this school year. The topic of bullying has gained national attention and is in the forefront of everyone’s minds. At MCS, we decided it was important to update our anti-bully programs and I would like to share with you what that will look like. Depending on the age of your child(ren), the program will look a little bit different.
The entire school will be using a program online that was developed by Children's Hospital and Health System in Milwaukee, WI. With this program, we will have access to not only an anti-bully curriculum but also a health awareness and nutrition curriculum. A drug and alcohol prevention curriculum is also available for grades 4-8. With the anti-bully curriculum, there will occasionally be take home activities for the kids to complete with you at home. If you would like to learn more about the programs you can visit their website at www.healthykidslearnmore.org.
For students in grades K-3, the online anti-bully program will not be available until January 2013. In the meantime, we will be utilizing a program during first semester called Virgil: The Bully From Cyberspace. The program consists of 9 lessons that follow the journey of a chameleon named Virgil who is new to earth and to school. The lessons will focus on developing friendships, tattling versus telling, how to stand up for oneself and developing empathy. The adventures of Virgil will depict common problematic scenarios for children in grades K-3. One of the components of the program is a parent letter that accompanies each lesson. I will be posting those letters on my website every 2 weeks as teachers do the lessons. Please look for an update closer to January 2013 when I get more information on the new online program the kids will be using during second semester.
For students in grades 4-5, the main curriculum they will use is the online program. The program is interactive based and each of the kids will have a user name and password. Each lesson with have a pre and post test which teachers can log on and review what concepts the kids are mastering as well as what concepts we may need to provide additional instruction on. I will be doing classroom visits to discuss topics we feel need further discussion. The program also provides classroom discussion follow up activities and classroom strategies for teachers to use that coincides with the information the kids are learning.
For students in MS, the main curriculum will also be the online program. This program is also interactive based and each of the kids will have a user name and password. Each student will have their own virtual middle school and will get to make decisions on the choices their character can make. They will then be able to see the consequences of their choices or the rewards. I will also be going into the classroom twice a month to do supplemental lessons that will support topics being taught through the online curriculum. I will rotate through all the classes so teachers will not have to give up a significant amount of their teaching time.
I look forward to implementing our new programs and watching the impact on our school. Please utilize the at home activities and parent letters as avenues to connect with your kids and encourage them to help make MCS a bully free school.
Magdalen Catholic School Counselor
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving Break! I know I certainly enjoyed mine! I thought since we were well into 2nd quarter it was time for an update on all our new programs we are using this year.
PK-3 have been using a program called Virgil the Bully from Cyberspace. It follows a story line about a chameleon named Virgil and his experiences being a new student at his school. Each story comes with discussion questions for the teacher to facilitate with the class. So far, I have received positive feedback from teachers on how these discussions are going with their classes. Please ask your child questions on the program as they will be your best source of information!!! As well, please take a look at the parent letters attached to my web page. Those letters will give you good questions you can ask your child about what they are learning. I'm looking forward to the new online program being available to us in January!
4-8th grade are well into using the online anti-bully program. The kids all reference this program as "Bluekids" so if you here that term that's what it is referencing. The teachers in 4th/5th are implementing the program in the classroom, while I am working with our middle school students every other week. We have done a combination of the online program, class discussions/activities and speakers coming in to work with the kids. I'm really please with how things are going and I have enjoyed my time in the classroom with the kids. I know the kids are enjoying the program as well, as whenever they see me in the hall they ask if I'm coming in to do "Bluekids" with them this week. Please ask your student how the program works and have them explain it to you. One of the assignments I am doing with the kids will require them to interview a parent or grandparent about their experiences with bullying growing up. Seventh grade already did this assignment and the kids had a great discussion on the differences between what they experience at school versus what their parents experienced. For those of you with a 6th or 8th grade student, please be looking for this assignment in the next few weeks!
Lastly, I wanted to comment on a speaker we had a few weeks ago. Jim Williams came and met with our 3rd-8th grade students over the course of 3 days. He does a phenomenal job with the kids and they love hearing him speak! I have observed some changes for the positive in our students since his visit and our 8th graders worked hard on posters for our school with messages they got from Mr. Williams visit. They really took to heart his message and have embraced their leadership role as the 8th graders of our school. I want to also thank you parents for the tremendous turnout we had for Mr. William's parent session. What a great showing of support from all of you!!!!