Thursday, November 19, 2015

Youth Suicide Prevention

by Stephanie Worthley

Recently, I attended a conference, the School Administrator's Role in Youth Suicide Prevention. One of the speakers, Dr. Scott Poland, Co-Director Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University, provided staggering data about teen suicides, school shooters, and bullying. Dr. Poland spoke about best practices for schools, including implementing the SOS Signs of Suicide program. SOS is the only universal school-based suicide prevention program for which a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts has been documented. In a randomized controlled study, the SOS Program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40%. 

On November 18th and 19th, the Guidance Counselors presented the SOS Program to all of our freshman during their Wellness classes. The goals in participating in this program are straightforward:
  • To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression.
  • To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that can occur as a result of untreated depression.
  • To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in a friend.
  • To impress upon our students that they can help themselves or a friend by taking a simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns.

In addition to the SOS Program curriculum, the Guidance Counselors showed the students a short video created by Mayo Clinic. In this video, teens describe common signs that a teen is considering suicide and provide encouragement for communicating directly and immediately for support and safety. It also includes suggestions for what to say to a teen who may be at risk for suicide and ways to keep them safe. 

"Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Responsibility." - Dr. Poland

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Three Simple Words to a Happier You

by Kathy Mahoney

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the New England Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (NEACRO) annual Reverse College Day in which the keynote speaker focused on gratitude. My biggest takeaway was the power of three simple words used to create a positive mindset. Oftentimes around the dinner table, we ask our family members “How was your day,” an innocuous question that can actually hinder our positive mindset. This question allows varied responses, both positive and negative. “What went well,” on the other hand, forces us to focus on positive happenings throughout our day. When first trying this out, teens might laugh at the idea and respond “nothing” or “I don’t know.” However, with a little prodding, they can think of even the smallest thing that brightened their day. Practiced each day, this method of focusing on the positive can nourish a positive mindset that will make us happier over time. So let me ask you, “What went well today?”

Monday, November 9, 2015


by Amanda Grillo

I recently attended an open house at Dynamy Gap Year in Worcester, MA. Dynamy offers students a year or semester long gap year where they explore hands on learning in the real world. Students will participate in internships and live independently with other Dynamy students. Students can intern in many different career fields including Animal Care, Business, Marketing, Education, Culinary, Media, Athletics, and Craftsmanship. Each week students intern close to 30 hours a week and have opportunities to participate in community service, social activities or take seminars taught by professors from Clark. I had the opportunity to hear from Dynamy students who shared that Dynamy has helped them become more confident, find their career passion and learn how to be an adult by cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping for themselves. Some students came to Dynamy because they needed a break from the typical classroom setting or because they had no idea what they wanted to do after high school, while others deliberately decided to come to Dynamy in order to build their resume and find their passion before attending college. One of the open house attendees asked a Dynamy student if they felt behind compared to their peers who immediately attended college. They said it was hard to explain at first since GAP years aren't a popular choice, but now their friends are jealous of their experience! I was very impressed by the internships offered, the staff and how positively the students and alumni spoke of the program. To learn more visit

Friday, November 6, 2015

7th Grade Parent Coffee

On Wednesday, November 4th, Mrs. Dondero had coffee with the 7th grade parents. Mrs. Dondero presented the parents with information about Emotional Intelligence, Stress and Anxiety Management, Self-Discipline and Motivation, 7th Grade specific information, and App Awareness. The parents in attendance seemed most interested in learning more about the Apps that their children are using, and the Apps they should stay away from. Here are some potentially dangerous apps that are popular among kids:
1. Tinder
2. Snapchat
3. Blendr
4. Kik Messenger
5. Whisper
7. Yik Yak
8. Poof
9. Omegle
10. Down

To learn more about these Apps, please click here: