Eating Disorders Awareness Week is 02/26/18 – 03/04/2018

We wanted to pass information along to our readers about Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which is recognized this year from 02/26/2018 through 03/04/2018.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website provides helpful information on a number of topics.  Did you know that an estimated “20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives?”  More than half of teenage girls and nearly a third of teenage boys are trying to lose weight.  It’s not uncommon for them to attempt unhealthy weight-control measures, including skipping meals, fasting, smoking, vomiting or using laxatives.  

For those who want to learn more about the topic of eating disorders, NEDA has developed different toolkits specifically for parents, educators and even athletic trainers/coaches. One interesting fact we learned from the NEDA website is the link between substance abuse and eating disorders:


In addition to information about common myths, free downloadable brochures, and videos (including common warning sign/symptoms and how to help a loved one), NEDA provides a free online screening tool for those aged 13 and up.  If you are need of additional support, NEDA also offers a toll-free, confidential helpline Monday – Thursday from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at 1-800-931-2237.


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Strategies for Providing Students With Time to Think

The Edutopia website is one of our favorites.  The article “Extending the Silence” discusses the strategy of using “wait time” effectively in the classroom.  Research has provided evidence that “pausing for three or more seconds showed a noticeable positive impact on learning.”  However, research also shows us that “the average length that teachers pause was found to be 0.9 seconds.”  The author notes that, while silence in the classroom can be uncomfortable for both teachers and students initially, students need time to process new information, make connections to previous learning/experiences, and then prepare a thoughtful, organized response.  That’s a lot to ask for in 0.9 seconds!

Here are some strategies from the author for incorporating this information in the classroom:

“Provide wait time: Give students five to 15 seconds to formulate a response to a question for which they should know the answer. Not every learner processes thinking at the same speed. Quality should be measured in the content of the answer, not the speediness.

Give think time: Give students 20 seconds to two minutes to make sense of questions that require analysis to synthesize concepts into a different construct or frame. You can aid this by encouraging journaling, silent reflection, or partner discussions. 

Teach reflection: Coach students on the value and practice of reflection. 

Teach students how to manage a conversation: It’s a beautiful thing to witness students running thoughtful conversations around topics that combine curriculum and real-world connections. Establish a culture for students to engage in such conversations, and they’ll soon be doing most of the heavy lifting during the lesson.”

The author reminds us that students should always be the central focus of the learning environment if the goal is for our “students to become independent learners who can navigate challenging material and situations.”

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School Safety – By the Numbers

Yesterday, we revisited a previous blog post from 2016 that provides information on how to help children in times of crisis.

As a followup, and in light of the school shooting that just took place in Florida, we also wanted to share with you some recent information on school safety from the U.S. Department of Justice.  A November 2017 document provides a snapshot of research from this full report by the National Institute of Justice on school safety statistics.  Here is an excerpt from the report that we wanted to pass along to our readers:

Not only does the report indicate that school crime rates are decreasing, but it provides evidence that school shootings are rare, and that school officials have increased safety measures.  If you’d like to read the rest of this overview on school safety statistics, please click on this link to view “School Safety: By the Numbers.”

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Helping Children in Times of Crisis

The Psychological Services Department wanted to pass along some information to our readers in the wake of the most recent school shooting in Florida.  Each time we hear about events of mass violence, we hope it will be the last.

This post from last year provides information from several sources on helping children deal with times of stress, including how to talk with them about media coverage.  We would like to remind our readers, as we have before, that just because children aren’t talking about these events, doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about them.

We hope that you find this information helpful. If you feel that your child needs additional support, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools student services personnel are here to help.

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How Many People Influence a Student’s Life?

We wanted to pass along the opening quote from this article about the journey our students make from Kindergarten through 12th grade:

“Schools must connect the strands across dozens of teachers, thousands of lessons, and 15,000 hours of schooling to ensure that each student leaves as a well-educated, decent human being.”

This powerful graphic that shows that the average student may encounter approximately 66 different teachers from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  However, that doesn’t take into consideration a student’s interactions with administrators, coaches, counselors, volunteers, assistants, cafeteria workers, custodians, etc.

The powerful takeaway from this article is that “Everyone contributes in some small way to growing students up.”  This perspective reminds us of the power we have to be a positive influence – no matter how small – in the lives of the students we interact with.

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The Science of Kindness

In preparation for “Random Acts of Kindness Week,” which takes place 02/11 through 02/17/2018, we wanted to pass some information along to our readers.

The Random Acts of Kindness website contains information on how you can also become a RAK-tivist.  🙂  There is a section for educators that includes free lesson plans and information on how your school can form its own “Kindness Club.”  There is information to support problem-solving and conflict resolution, among other topics.  The website notes that the materials feature “developmentally appropriate, standards-aligned lessons that teach kids important Social Emotional (SEL) skills.”

This video focuses on “The Science of Kindness.”  Did you know that kindness is contagious and can reduce your levels of stress, depression and anxiety?  It can also increase your levels of serotonin, decrease blood pressure and increase confidence.

We hope that you will join us in this opportunity to focus on what unites us, rather than what divides us – not just during Random Acts of Kindness Week, but all year long.  

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National School Counseling Week 02/05 – 02/09

This year National School Counseling Week is February 5 through February 9. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has issued a photo/video challenge for the week (see below).

The ASCA has also provided the following links to help us all take part in the photo/video challenge during National School Counseling Week with these signs:

Monday: Happy National School Counseling Week
Tuesday: I love being a school counselor because … 
Wednesday: My school counselor helps me reach the stars by … 
Thursday: I wish upon a star that … 
Friday: I’ll shine bright as a … 

We appreciate our school counselors and want to highlight all that they do in the schools, not just this week, but all year. Be sure to recognize your school counselors for their commitment to supporting our students and teachers.

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