5 days to go until Spring Break…but, hey, who’s counting?!
Insight from Student Wellness Focus Group
A couple of weeks ago the Associate Superintendent for High Schools, Dr. Craig Shapiro, held the three wellness focus groups. Each one gave us interesting and thought provoking feedback. There was one specific part of the conversation with students, however, that I would really like to share with you. As Dr. Shapiro was asking them about their reactions to general stress, he noticed that they did not, for the most part, mention interacting with parents. It was not this I thought you would find interesting, but their answer to why aren’t parents at the top of the list.
According to the students, when they talk to their parents about stressful situations the parents immediately go into “fix it” mode. They turn the conversation to everything the student or parent can DO to make the situation better. But really what the students want at that time is just someone to listen. They want to come to their parents to vent, to be heard, to be validated, to be reassured, but not necessarily for any particular action to be taken. When we asked students specifically what they wanted parents to say, they quite easily gave us answers. Here are a few sentences they said they wish they would hear:
“It will be alright”
“I know you can handle this”
“I agree that does sound stressful”
When we asked how parents are supposed to know the difference between the times students just want them to listen and the times students want them to act, they gave us the quintessential “duh” teenager look and said, “Parents can ask”.
Since listening to the students at the focus groups I have put some of this in place with my own kiddos. Phoebe (who is 9) has been in the middle of Destination Imagination practices and when she came home frustrated I heard myself trying to help her “fix” what went wrong in practice. I stopped mid sentence and instead just asked her to tell me more about it. After she finished her vent, I validated her frustration and asked her if she wanted me to do anything. When she said no I told her that if that changed at any point, to just let me know.
There is a lot of talk amongst students about participating in different protests regarding gun violence in schools. If you hear your student talking about this, it would be helpful to me if you remind them of two things. First, if the protest is to take place on a school day, on school property (like some of the walk outs being planned), let them know to come to me ahead of time so that I am in the loop. What I can promise them in these conversations is that I will not make any attempt to dissuade them from the protest. However, I do see this as an opportunity for a very meaningful learning experience and will ask them planning questions to help them think about the way s in which they can make their protest most effective. I will also walk them through any potential negative consequences so they can put things in place to mitigate the ones they can and help people accept and understand the ones that cannot be avoided.
Second, if your student is planning to take part in a demonstration that is either not on a school day or is off campus, remind them that, depending on what they are wearing, they are representing a larger group and their behavior should reflect that. For example, if they are protesting at the capital and are wearing a LASA t-shirt, or their boy scout uniform, or their club soccer shirt…etc, then their behavior will not only reflect on them as an individual, but on the group whom they are consciously or inadvertently representing. This isn’t to say they shouldn’t represent those groups. Students are welcome to wear their LASA shirts – I actually love the idea of students showing they are civically engaged and politically active - however, I do want them to know that their specific behavioral choices at those events matter.
LASA in the news
If you are a person who follows school rankings then you probably saw that Business Insider put out its list of the best public high school in each of the 50 states. LASA was listed as the number one school in Texas. Yeah! For those of you who have heard me talk you know we do not do anything specific or different in order to get a higher place in any particular ranking, but good publicity is always nice – so I’m happy to let you know when we have it. You can see the full article here. http://www.businessinsider.com/best-public-high-school-every-state-2018-2
Wicked Problem Project – Request for Donations
We are JOIpax (said joy packs), a program run by three LASA seniors, Olivia Dudley, Ingrid Kinney, and Justyce Williams, for the purpose of promoting feminine hygiene amongst the homeless population of the Greater Austin area. We need your help in order to do this! We are asking for donations of tampons, pads, travel size body wash or bar soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, and shampoo. Please consider donating to JOIpax as we try to reach our goal of creating 50 to 100 JOIpax. Every pax will contain each of the items listed. You can find donation boxes in the main office, near the purple hallway, and near the library entrance.
Parents of Underclassmen - Registering for next year
I know you have heard from our registrar, Ms. Cindy Dwinells, that it is time to go online and register your child for next school year. Thank you to the just over 50% of parents who have already gone on-line and completed this. I cannot stress how helpful it is when creating the master schedule to have this information. If you have not already done so, I have copied the information of how to complete the process below.
It’s time to register your student(s) for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. Please take a quick minute and log on to the AISD Online Registration site (see link below) and review any information already provided from last year and finalize your students registration. The AISD Online Registration link below will give you all the information you need to locate the site and complete the registration. Follow the information located at the right column of the page under QUICK LINKS – student registration. If for some reason you did not register online last year, please follow the information provided at the link to set up a parent cloud prior to completing registration. AISD Online Registration
PARENT HELP HOTLINE 512-414-9187
Parents of Seniors – Cap and Gown reminder
On February 21st there was a senior assembly that covered a few different topics. One was information on how to order a cap and gown for graduation. Just in case your child is not the best at communicating time sensitive information to you, I wanted to give you a heads up that these orders are due this Friday March 10th. I will attach a scan of the back page of the brochure to this principal message so you have more details.
This is the first year that graduating seniors will be buying their gowns instead of renting them. When I started seven years ago there was a big push from some families as well as the LBJ community to move to buying over renting. At the time I decided we would continue to rent because the quality of the gowns for purchase was, in my opinion, very poor. Earlier this year the company met with Ms. Henry, the LBJ principal, and I to show us a mock-up of what new “to buy” gowns would look like. It was night and day compared to what they showed me seven years ago. The material quality is very good; they still have some piping and the embroidered crest. From a quality standpoint there didn’t seem to be any reason to continue renting. From an economical standpoint, the cost of the gown to rent and buy is within two dollars of each other. One of the complaints families had was that with renting they spent more money since the gown could not be passed down to siblings, friends or neighbors. The final reason I agreed to go with purchased gowns this year was to help out the families who REALLY want to take after graduation pictures at the Erwin center. Every year parents would contact us frustrated that we collect the gowns the second the kiddos come off the Erwin Center floor so there is no time to take pictures with family members who attended the event.
The big downside to buying gowns is for the families whose last LASA child is walking across the stage. If you or your child does not want the gown as a memento of their graduation (and many do not) then it can feel wasteful to not give it back to be used by someone else the following year. Issue noted! It is my understanding that, through PFLASA, one of the junior parents will be putting a donation drive together to collect the gowns people do not want and distribute them to students in the next graduating class who would most benefit from not having to pay for a gown.
I have attached a sneak peak of the emboridery on the gown so you can get an idea of what they will look like.
Have a great spring break! The next principal's message is scheduled to come out the weekend after we return.
Cap and Gown info.pdf