Friday, February 9, 2018

February 9, 2018

Good afternoon & happy Friday!

It was a busy week at AHS.  Students are learning to find their Term 3 classes if they are new. The Add/Drop period for new classes ends on February 16.

Next week the 9th grade will participate in SBIRT. Please review this letter for information on the upcoming screenings being conducted with the entire 9th grade and feel free to call our nursing staff or me with any questions.
SBIRT- Español
SBIRT- Português

Below are resources from Decisions at Every Turn to help you further understand the screening:
Decisions at Every Turn (DAET) SBIRT Parent Resource Guide (English)
    DAET SBIRT Guía de recursos para padres (Espanol)
    DAET SBIRT Guia de recursos para pais (Português)
    DAET SBIRT Руководство для родительских ресурсов (русский)

We were so happy to see Jake Silver and have the Dana Farber Clinic speak to the 10th & 12th grade students about Jake's cancer and what he is going through on a day to day basis.  He is so strong!  The presentation will air on WACA for anyone else who would like to see it.  #SilverStrong

Dear Parents, 
Each term, teachers at AHS nominate students who have embodied our school’s Core Values throughout the term.  Last term, we held our first Student of the Term Breakfast and it was a huge success. Our breakfast for Term 2 nominees is next Friday, February 16th.  We are still in need of a few donations to complete the breakfast. If you would like to donate, please add your name and email to the google doc at the following link:
Thank you for your continued support of our students!
Lisa Dunn & The PBIS Team

We will begin presentations on Opioids in Sophomore wellness classes following February vacation.  Look for important information on this presentation coming next week.

Parent-teacher conferences:
Conferences are scheduled this year on Wednesday, February 28 from 6-8pm. Given that teachers
have limited time that evening, with approximately 12 open slots, we ask that parents who need to
discuss an academic concern or an override request schedule an appointment.
Teachers are always willing to schedule a meeting, in person or via phone, at any time if this evening
is not convenient for you.
As we start course registration for the 2018-2019 school year I encourage you to trust teacher
recommendations. However, if you and your child feel you would like to override a recommendation
you must schedule a time to discuss this with the teacher as the first step of the override procedure.

Student Course Selection:
Teachers spent the last two weeks making course recommendations for students in their classes.
Class meetings were held this week to review the student process for course approval and selection
of electives.
On Monday, February 5 the iStudent Course Recommendation window will open for students.
All students must go into iStudent to approve teacher recommendations and choose their electives. Our Unified Arts department has redesigned several of their courses and added some exciting new ones.  Check them out here!

Directions for course selection are on the AHS website (linked here).  Students must use their iStudent account to make their selections.  We encourage students to prioritize their electives using the comment boxes next to each course number.
Course registration for students will remain open until Friday, February 16.

The iParent course approval window will be open on Monday, February 26 and will remain open for two weeks.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to your students guidance counselor or administrator with any questions!

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
In her book iGen, Jean Twenge, PhD describes today’s kids as “less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood”. Each chapter of her book theorizes on the “why” of this, backed up by research comparing the current generation with past generations. Since every child currently in the Ashland schools is part of this generation, a few weeks of this column will cover each of Twenge’s chapters which she cleverly titles beginning with the letter “i”. These will be very general, broad overviews. I encourage you to read the book for more in-depth information.
In Person No More: I’m With You But Only Virtually  As I write this my son is on the PS4 playing a video game with four school friends and my daughter is FaceTiming a friend. This is how today’s kids socialize. Today’s generation is less likely to attend parties and socialize in person than previous generations. As one teen stated, “The party is constant, and it’s on Snapchat”.  iGen teens are less likely to go to movies, hang out at the mall (my daughter seems to be the exclusion), drive around aimlessly together, or get together one-on-one or in small or big groups. Instead they communicate electronically.
At first glance this change seems positive - kids are not driving around with each other getting into accidents and are not partying (drinking) as much as previous generations did. Unfortunately, the rates of depression, loneliness and suicide have skyrocketed.  Teens who spend more than three hours a day on electronic devices are 35% more likely to have at least one suicide risk factor. Forty six percent more teens killed themselves in 2015 than in 2007. One factor that is likely contributing to this rise in teen suicide is cyberbullying. Teens who are cyberbullied often say there is no way to get away from their tormentors - unless they give up their phones entirely.
Teens who visit social media sites every day are more likely to agree “I often feel lonely”, “I often feel left out of things”, and “I often wish I had more good friends”. They see kids doing things without them and they base their popularity and self-esteem on the number of “likes” or views on their posts.  In contrast, those who spend more time with their friends or play sports are less lonely. It’s non-screen activities that help teens feel less alone, not social media.
There are certainly other factors that contribute to depression and suicide in teens (genetics, trauma, etc). And it is unrealistic to completely ban your teen from his/her phone and social media, after all this is how kids today socialize and we do not want them cut-off from their friends.
What can we, as parents, do?

  1. Encourage your kids to have friends over, even just to “hang out” in person. When they do this, try to get them to spend at least some of that time off screens.
  2. Offer to drive your kids and their friends to the mall or the movies or bowling or ice skating.
  3. Make sure your kids have activities or sports that involve being with other kids in person.
  4. When interacting with others, remind your children to look people in the eyes and put away their phones. They have less practice with social skills since so much of their socializing is virtual. Twenge writes, “In the next decade we may see more young people who know just the right emoji for a situation - but not the right facial expression”.

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