Friday, October 30, 2015

Anxiety & Oppositional Defiance

by Russ Becker

Accept Education Collaborative

Throughout the school year I will be attending a series of workshops and conferences focusing on various mental health issues prevalent in our schools. Yesterday I attended the first workshop in the series which centered around the connection between students anxiety and oppositional defiance. The conversation was led by Jessica Minihan, M.Ed., BCBA, and it provided a wealth of information. Often times when a student’s behavior is called into question their anxiety leading up to this physical manifestation is ignored. Symptoms and warning signs of anxiety can be very subtle or completely invisible which frequently makes them unaccounted for when attempting to correct a student’s negative behaviors. By viewing oppositional defiance as a possible side effect of anxiety, teachers and administration may now be able to prevent the root of the problem rather than retroactively dealing with the consequences of behavior. The link between these two seemingly separate mental health issues is both fascinating and very important to the way we view their treatment going forward. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

6th Grade Parent Coffee

This morning, October 28th, Ms. Allen welcomed parents to 6th grade and to Blake Middle School! Topics of the morning included what middle school is like for students socially, physically, academically, and technologically. If parents have any questions about what is going on with their 6th grader, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Ms. Allen.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

8th Grade Parent Coffee

by Stephanie Worthley

This morning, October 21st, Mr. Marenghi presented to the parents of the Class of 2020 (!) on 8th Grade Specific Information, Academic and Social/Emotional Developments, Self-Discipline and Motivation, Stress and Anxiety Management, and Future Planning/Transition to High School. 
Of the many interesting topics discussed, here are two highlights:

Executive Function:
According to Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child, “Adults can facilitate the development of a child’s executive function skills by establishing routines, modeling social behavior, and creating and maintaining supportive, reliable relationships. It is also important for children to exercise their developing skills through activities that foster creative play and social connection, teach them how to cope with stress, involve vigorous exercise, and over time, provide opportunities for directing their own actions with decreasing adult supervision.”

Mobile Social Device Use:

What are our students doing on their phones?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nature's Classroom

by Jen Dondero

I just returned from a wonderful week at Lake George with our 7th grade students. We had a great cross section of teachers attend the overnight trip; which provided an opportunity for students and staff to get to know each other on a more personal level in a relaxed and serene environment. All our meals were eaten together as a community and that provided another opportunity for students and staff to sit with people they normally would not dine with and allowed them to get to know their classmates better. One of my favorite games to play during meal time was "Two truths and a lie," where each person had to say two true things about themselves and one lie and everyone else has to guess the lie. It allowed for a lot of laughter as some of the lies (and some truths) were so outlandish. We learned little known facts about each other and I hope students learned that they have somethings in common with their peers that they may not see on the surface. The trip was not without its struggles or hardships for students and staff. On some level we all missed the comforts of home (especially our beds and food) and our loved ones, but we all made it through the experience together and hopefully was a positive learning experience for all of our students.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Collegeboard Workshop at Assumption College

By Erik Ormberg

Last Thursday I attended a collegeboard Fall counselors’ workshop.  The biggest takeaway revolved around the newly redesigned PSAT and SAT.  Our juniors will be taking the new PSAT on October 14th.  In December they will receive a comprehensive score sheet.  At that point they can connect this score sheet with Khan Academy and receive direct skill development in any areas of weakness that show up on the PSAT.  The Khan Academy support is free.  As of right now Khan Academy has four practice tests for the new SAT which rolls out in March of 2016.

A lot of people were asking about when colleges will accept the new SAT.  A representative from Assumption mentioned that they would be superscoring the old and new SATs during the fall of 2016 admissions season.  They also mentioned that it will take “three years to play out.”  Anticipate the new SAT to be the only assessment accepted in the fall of 2017.

Some other takeaways from the conference:
  • 3 readers will grade the new SAT essay on a scale of 1-8.  A perfect score on the essay will now be a 24.
  • College Quickstart, a service provided by Collegeboard is now obsolete.  BIG FUTURE is the new initiative being rolled out by Collegeboard.  Medfield students had access to this last year.
  • More information is coming in December about the new SAT.

Welcome Russ Becker!

The Guidance Department has a new addition to the office. Russell Becker has been hired as the Adjustment Counselor for Blake and Medfield High School.  He will be sharing time between the two buildings. Russ earned his undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston, and his masters degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania. Russ has an exuberant amount of knowledge, energy, and enthusiasm, and is a welcome addition to the department.

Welcome Kathy Mahoney!

I am pleased to introduce your new Guidance Counselor! We are thrilled that Kathy Mahoney has joined the Guidance Department. Mrs. Mahoney comes to us from the Basking Ridge School District in Basking Ridge, NJ. Mrs. Mahoney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Villanova University, and her Master of Arts in School Counseling from Seton Hall University. I am confident that she will bring a wealth of knowledge, perspective, and enthusiasm to our office.