Executive Function in the Middle School Years

Thank you to everyone for coming to our Parent Coffee to discuss what executive function, or executive skills, are and how they develop/fluctuate through the MS years. 

As I prepared for this presentation I was very please to find some of the research presented by Dr. Zelazo who asserts that increases in frontal lobe activity (which can be correlated to growth in the frontal lobe which occurs during puberty) can have a negative impact on executive skills. As he says in the article linked below, “…more is not always better; sometimes too much communication can create confusion (just as too many chefs can spoil potentially good broth), and fewer synapses may be associated with more streamlined and more efficient communication among neurons.”

Click here for the 4 part series on executive function.

Here is the presentation if you would like to review it. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. If you have any suggestions for future parent coffee topics you can share them using this form.

171117 Parent Coffee – Executive Function

Mindset, as examined by Yale researchers

 

This is a very engaging talk and while it is not specifically about children Dr. Crum does sight the work of Carol Dweck regarding Growth Mindset in schools. Changing our mindset regarding intelligence and learning from something that is fixed to something that is malleable and influenced by our mindset.

As Dr. Crum contends, we are just beginning to discover the power that mindset has in the way that we respond to learning, stress and even aging.

Our mindsets matter!

Parent Coffee Sept. 31, 2017


Click here for Parent Survey 
Thank you very much for your time and attention

Upcoming Parents Events
Sept. 14th / WoW Parent Coffee
Sept. 27th -29th / Parent Teacher Conferences
Nov. 16th / Parent Coffee w/ Counselors
For a complete view of upcoming parent events please consult the Master Calendar and look at weekly Tiger Tales.

Additional Resources

Concerns about back to school

Discussing Violence in Media 

Discussing News and Media 

Calculator Recommendation for HS

As per the Course Catalog, all students in an Integrated Math class in the high school are required to have their own graphing calculator for use in class and on homework. If families would like to purchase these while traveling during the summer, they should follow these guidelines.

RECOMMENDED for IM (Integrated Math) courses:

TI-nspire CX  (Be certain that it is NOT the CAS version as this version is not allowed for use on IB examinations.)

These will be for sale in the AES store in August, but are cheaper if purchased in the US at about $125.

Also acceptable:

TI-84 Plus (or TI-84 Plus c  or  TI-84 Plus Silver Edition)  For students who already have a TI-84, this model is also suitable for the IM courses. A limited number will be available in the AES store in August.

  

 

Transition info Repost

This is a repost of some of the information shared regarding transition to HS. 

Today in Advisory, course selection forms went have been handed out. Starting to fill out these forms now provides our HS with the necessary information to start developing their master schedule (the same process is true in the MS)

In order to assist you with the process please find the HS Course Catalog below:

Course Catalog 17-18

Additionally here is the presentation given by our HS counselor on February 14th.

Grade 8 Parent Night 2017

Below are some frequently asked questions that may provide some clarification.

If you have questions that you would like answered please fill out the google form HERE

  1. I’m currently enrolled in MS as an EAL student. Does that mean I should select EAL on my course selection form?

While it is general practice for students enrolled in EAL Humanities (EAL 1 Support) to continue in the EAL program in HS, placement will be determined later in the school year by your child’s EAL teacher, by looking at a number of different assessments. The HS Counselor will meet with the EAL teachers later in the spring to make these decisions. As enrollment in EAL class takes the place of enrollment in a World Language we would ask that your child select the World Language choice that they would like to take if they were not recommended to continue on with an EAL class. Their placement will be communicated with home in the spring.

2. I see Dance in two places. Why is that? Can I take two semesters of CPE (comprehensive physical education) and Dance?

Dance can be considered a PE elective or a Fine Arts elective but not both. This means that to complete your CPE requirements you can take two semesters of Dance (or one semester of Dance and one of CPE) but if you want your Physical Education credits to be fulfilled with two semesters of CPE then enrolling in Dance will be a credit (0.5 credits / semester) towards your fine arts electives.

3. I’m currently in Math 8. What do I sign up for regarding a Math course?

It is important to know that Math 8 and Integrated Math I (IM I) involve similar content and are both considered a prerequisite credit for Integrated Math II (IM II). The typical track from Gr. 8 Math is IM II but in some cases MS teachers will recommend that a student in Gr. 8 Math take IM I when they enter HS in order to review further increase their foundational understanding of key concepts. While this recommendation is made to support students as they continue to develop their understanding it does have implications future courses that they will be able to take and should be discussed with their HS counselor.

Please refer to page 30 in the HS Course Catalog for more information regarding the HS Math Sequence.

4. Do I need to get teacher’s signatures in the places that it says “teacher agrees / teacher disagrees”?

No. These grey areas on your child’s course selection form are to be completed by your child’s teachers and counselor at a later date. The HS Counselors will complete a process where all student’s course placement sheets are reviewed. It is at that time that teachers will discuss any recommendations that do not align with the courses selected by your child.

17/18 Peer Facilitators Applications

Peer Facilitators will function to facilitate several different school activities such as Leadership Seminars and Orientation but also have a large contribution to the AES steering committees. Becoming a Peer facilitator will also put you in a position where you will be asked to assist with student matters, planning of events and presenting to various audiences.
The time commitment will require you to meet with the PF group twice monthly, and also attend all Leadership Seminars, functions where you act as a school ambassador (ie. Back to school night, orientation). If you frequently take trips, travel with sports or miss school for any other reason, you may not be able to commit the appropriate amount of time. Please consider this before you apply.

Please apply to be a part of the Peer Facilitators Student Leadership program by filling out the online application form here.

Discussion Regarding 13 Reasons Why

Below is a note that has been shared with families at AES through email regarding recent concerns over a netflix series titled 13 Reasons Why.

Dear Parents of Middle and High School Students,

This is a special note to bring to your attention a new series on Netflix, 13 Reasons Why.  This series, based on the young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, tells the story of a high school student who commits suicide—leaving behind audio tapes aimed at people she believes have had a role in her death. While we are aware that some students have already watched the series, we do not recommend it. The graphic depiction of death by suicide is disturbing, and the message the series sends—which can be interpreted to romanticize suicide—has raised alarm among many youth-oriented organizations. On the other hand, it is important for caring adults to be sensitive to the discouragement, sadness, and hopelessness that may lead some students to consider suicide as an option.

 

We have listed resources, including the warning signs of suicide and student distress, on the blogs of the high school and middle school counselors. In addition, please know that the counselors at the middle and high schools,  Mr. Doug Asher (dasher@aes.ac.in), Mr. Jonathan Webster (jwebster@aes.ac.in), Ms. Cristina Alcoz (calcoz@aes.ac.in), Ms. Anna Sattler (asattler@aes.ac.in), Dr. Justin Walker (jwalker@aes.ac.in), and the AES school psychologist, Dr. Jan Cantrill (jcantrill@aes.ac.in), are resources for you and ready to help.

 

Resources

U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 001-800-273-TALK (8255)

India Suicide Hotline (Aasra): 022-27546669  

South Korea Suicide Helpline: +82-2-715 8600

Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators

Preventing Youth Suicide: Brief Facts

Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide

Step Up Program (Depression and suicide awareness and prevention)

 

Suicide Warning Signs (source: http://www.nasponline.org/):

  • Suicide threats, both direct and indirect. For example, “I’m going to kill myself” or “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up”). Threats can be verbal or written, and are often found in online postings.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.
  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.
  • Emotional distress.

 

Guidance for Families (source: http://www.nasponline.org/):

  • Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them that if they do want to watch it, that you want to watch it with them and then discuss the movie.
  • If your child exhibits any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plan the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  • As your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk to them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  • Listen to your child’s comments without judgement. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  • Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

 

13 Reasons Why Talking Points (adapted from https://www.jedfoundation.org)

  • You may have similar experiences and thoughts as some of the characters in the series. People often identify with characters they see on TV or in movies. However, it is important to remember that there are healthy ways to cope with the topics covered in 13 Reasons Why and acting on suicidal thoughts is not one of them.
  • If you have watched the show and feel like you need support or someone to talk to, reach out. Talk with a friend, family member, a counselor, or a therapist. There is always someone who will listen.
  • Suicide is not a common response to life’s challenges or adversity. The vast majority of people who experience bullying, the death of a friend, or any other adversity described in the series do not die by suicide. In fact, most reach out, talk to others and seek help or find productive ways of coping. They go on to lead healthy, normal lives.
  • Suicide is never a heroic or romantic act. Hannah’s suicide (although fictional) is a cautionary tale, not meant to appear heroic and is more appropriately viewed as a tragedy.
  • It is important to know that, in spite of the portrayal of a serious treatment failure in the series, there are many treatment options for life challenges, distress, and mental illness. Treatment works.
  • How the school counselor in 13 Reasons Why responds to Hannah’s thoughts of suicide is not appropriate and not typical of most counselors. If your experience with a school counselor is unhelpful, seek other sources of support such as a crisis line.
  • When you die you do not get to make a movie or talk to people any more. Leaving message from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood and is not possible in real life.
  • Memorializing someone who died by suicide is not a recommended practice. Decorating someone’s locker who died by suicide and/or taking selfies in front of such a memorial is not appropriate and does not honor the life of the person who died by suicide.
  • Hannah’s tapes blame others for her suicide. Suicide is never the fault of survivors of suicide loss. There are resources and support groups for suicide loss survivors.

 

Class Council Elections

Congratulations again to Shaila Prasad for being elected Grade 9 Executive Council Representative for the 2017-20018 School Year.

Now we have to elect 5 members to the Class Council for the 2017-2018 School Year. Nominations are due Thursday, April 27th, so do not delay in getting the form in. Campaigning will begin next week with speeches on Friday, May 5th.

CCNominationGr82017

Upon submitting your nomination form you will be given instructions regarding campaigning and speech guidelines.

For your reference, below is a link to the presentation given in March that has more information regarding the ASC Class Council position

HS ASC Presentation

ASC Elections

Thank you all for meeting during advisory top learn more about the Associated Student Council. Also big thanks to Grace for leading us in a morning practice of yoga.

Please note: This blog post is strictly concerning the nominations for Executive Council for which there is one position. There will be an additional post after spring break that will include information regarding the 5 available positions for Class Council.

Below is the nomination form that you have to print off and complete. This needs to be handed in on Thursday, April 6th at lunch.

ECMSNominationform201617 (1)

If there was any information in the presentation that you missed that you would like review please refer to the PDF copy of the presentation below.

HS STUCO PRESENTATION FOR GR 8