Park City School District Statement on Today’s Events
“A time to help, a time to model, a time to teach”
As the nation and our children read, hear and watch about the riots at the U.S. Capitol building, we are reminded just how important it is for school systems to teach about and model civility and respect for our democracy.
Civic engagement is the foundation of our democracy. PCSD respects and supports the right to demonstrate and peacefully protest. We strongly condemn all attempts to incite violence and do not tolerate acts of hate that counter our shared democratic principles.
We know that it is sometimes difficult to find the words to talk with children about these events.
Below are some suggestions for talking to your children about today’s violence.
This is a time for our Country to stand together and promote peace, hope, and optimism for the future. We encourage everyone to use this moment to remember the foundational values that our Country was built on and what we stand for as a Nation.
I encourage all to remain kind and supportive of each other as we continue to navigate what has been an incredibly challenging school year.
We are pleased to announce the release of the PCSD Covid Dashboard. This resource provides our staff and our families with daily, updated information. Data will be updated nightly. The data originates from each school site’s point of contact and via the HealthAttend portal.
The information that you will see on this dashboard includes positive test results shared over the past 72 hours, active covid cases, total covid cases since August 20, and absences related to the virus. The entire press release can be found here
The Association of School Business Officials International has recognized Park city School District for excellence in budget presentation with the Meritorious Budget Award for the 2020-2021 budget year. To read the entire document, please click here
Dual Language Immersion Lottery information available Thursday, January 7 at 5:30 via Zoom. More information can be found here
Family Mental Health Night – Park City School District is offering a new resource for parents and families to better support their children with mental health and wellness. ParentGuidance.org is free to all parents and families in our district. Register here
By Elias McQuaid | Psychologist, Park City Learning Center
Children of all ages may have strong feelings and emotions during or after disasters or emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak. Some children may react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty much later. Reactions will also be unique to each child depending on their exposure and their history or experiences.
Children react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with a disaster calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.
The emotional impact of an emergency on a child depends on a child’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the family and community, and the availability of local resources. Not all children respond in the same ways. Some might have more severe, longer-lasting reactions.
The following specific factors may affect a child’s emotional response:
– Direct involvement with the emergency
– Previous traumatic or stressful event
– Belief that the child or a loved one may die
– Loss of a family member, close friend, or pet
– Separation from caregivers
– Physical injury
– How parents and caregivers respond
– Family resources
– Relationships and communication among family members
– Repeated exposure to mass media coverage of the emergency and aftermath
– Ongoing stress due to the change in familiar routines and living conditions
– Cultural differences
– Community resilience
As a school district, we want to help our students and families as best we can during these stressful times. There are several things we can do to help our students and they include:
– Stay calm and reassure your children.
– Talk to children about what is happening in a way that they can understand. Keep it simple and appropriate for each child’s age.
– Provide opportunities to talk about feelings and practice relaxation strategies.
– Engage in whole family stress relief activities.
– Don’t neglect regular exercise and movement. Regular exercise has many benefits—it builds strength and cardiovascular health, releases endorphins, and improves sleep, all of which lead to decreased stress and anxiety. Even short bursts of movement offer benefit, and moving as a family offers a feeling of connection, which has also been linked to reduced stress. So, join your children in a quick game of tag or a living room dance party when you’re short on time; and shoot hoops, take the dog on a long walk, or find a family-friendly bike trail when you have more time for longer stress-relieving outdoor recreation.
What Not To Do
– Expect children to be brave or tough.
– Make children discuss the event before they are ready.
– Get angry if children show strong emotions.
– Get upset if they begin bed-wetting, acting out, or thumb-sucking
The common reactions to distress will fade over time for most children. Children who were directly exposed to a disaster can become upset again; behavior related to the event may return if they see or hear reminders of what happened. If children continue to be very upset or if their reactions hurt their schoolwork or relationships then parents may want to talk to a professional or have their children talk to someone who specializes in children’s emotional needs. Learn more about common reactions to distress:
For infants to 2 year olds: Infants may become more cranky. They may cry more than usual or want to be held and cuddled more.
For 3 to 6 year olds: Preschool and kindergarten children may return to behaviors they have outgrown. For example, toileting accidents, bed-wetting, or being frightened about being separated from their parents/caregivers. They may also have tantrums or a hard time sleeping.
For 7 to 10 year olds: Older children may feel sad, mad, or afraid that the event will happen again. Peers may share false information; however, parents or caregivers can correct the misinformation. Older children may focus on details of the event and want to talk about it all the time or not want to talk about it at all. They may have trouble concentrating.
For pre-teens and teenagers: Some preteens and teenagers respond to trauma by acting out. This could include reckless driving, and alcohol or drug use. Others may become afraid to leave the home. They may cut back on how much time they spend with their friends. They can feel overwhelmed by their intense emotions and feel unable to talk about them. Their emotions may lead to increased arguing and even fighting with siblings, parents/caregivers or other adults.
For special needs children: Children who need continuous use of a breathing machine or are confined to a wheelchair or bed, may have stronger reactions to a threatened or actual disaster. They might have more intense distress, worry or anger than children without special needs because they have less control over day-to-day well-being than other people. The same is true for children with other physical, emotional, or intellectual limitations. Children with special needs may need extra words of reassurance, more explanations about the event, and more comfort and other positive physical contact such as hugs from loved ones.
The December issue of “Counselor Connection” offers important information on how to cope with stress. Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. Stress is any demand placed on your brain or physical body. People can report feeling stressed when multiple competing demands are placed on them. The feeling of being stressed can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can occur in people who are unable to identify significant stressors in their life.
Learning and emotions are connected. But how? According to Yale Professor Marc Brackett, “How we feel – bored, curious, stressed, etc. – influences whether we are present, in ‘fight or flight’ mode, or able to process and integrate information.”
The holidays in particular can be stressful. The end of a school semester or trimester, along with “extra” holiday demands can put students as well as parents on overload. Learning to manage stress is an important skill that once learned, will serve us well.
Here are some strategies that may help:
– Keep a positive attitude.
– Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
– Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
– Exercise . Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
– Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
– Set limits; learn to say no to requests that lead to stress.
– Make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation.
– Get enough rest and sleep.
– Seek out social support and spend time with friends.
The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) has recognized Park City School District for excellence in budget presentation with the prestigious Pathway to the Meritorious Budget Award (MBA) for the 2019–20 budget year. The budget is prepared annually by Business Administrator Todd Hauber.
ASBO International’s MBA and Pathway to the MBA promote and recognize best budget presentation practices in school districts. Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.
Districts that successfully demonstrate they have met the necessary program requirements may earn either the MBA or Pathway to the MBA, an introductory program that allows districts to ease into full MBA compliance.
“Districts that apply to the MBA or Pathway to the MBA programs recognize the importance of presenting a quality, easy-to-understand budget internally and to the community,” ASBO International Executive Director David J. Lewis explains. “Participating in the MBA and Pathway programs provides districts with important tools and resources they need to communicate the district’s goals and objectives clearly and illustrates their commitment to adhering to nationally recognized budget presentation standards.”
Founded in 1910, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) is a nonprofit organization that, through its members and affiliates, represents approximately 30,000 school business professionals worldwide.
Park City School District promotes digital citizenship
and internet safety in a variety of ways. Please
contact your school’s counselors or administrators if
you have questions.
According to Cyber Savvy Kids:
– The average age for a child getting their first smartphone is now 10-years-old.
– 64% of kids have access to the internet via their own devices, compared to 42% in 2012.
– 39% of kids get a social media account at 11-years-old.
– On average, children in the 4th and 5th grades have their hands on a powerful device that leaves them unsupervised and open to a whole lot of trouble. Whatever trouble they can get into, you can be sure that a phone will magnify that trouble 100x.
Phones have become a ubiquitous part of ours and our childrens’ lives, providing instant access to the internet. And while they are incredibly convenient for staying connected, there are some potential negative impacts we can’t overlook. Cell phones impact learning, relationships, and overall well being in ways that none of us could have predicted before cell phones (BCP.) And because they’ve never been without phones and internet access, digital natives are challenging our parenting and teaching in dramatic ways.
So how can we help our children develop healthy cell phone and online habits? How can we keep them safe, gain that all-important sense of belonging and prevent them from developing substance abuse or mental health problems? How can schools and parents partner so students can benefit from the innovative technological and educational opportunities an online world provides?
There are terrific resources for parents in our second issue of Counselor Connection. In addition, we want to share what counselors and social workers in our schools are doing related to each Connection topic to promote academic, social, emotional, and behavioral wellness.