Thursday, September 29, 2016

Financial Aid in a Nutshell

by Stephanie Worthley

As students are visiting colleges, filling out college applications, and writing college essays, it is important to explore the world of college costs and financial aid. Financial aid can be based on financial need or merit, and is provided by federal and state governments, colleges and universities, and local and national private organizations. 

For more information, please join us on Thursday, October 13, 3016 @ 6:30pm in the High School Auditorium. All junior and senior parents interested in learning more about the college/financial aid process are welcome to attend. A financial aid expert from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) will present topics including: financial aid application process, completing the FAFSA, information on scholarships and loans, and resources for families. 

In addition, these videos produced by Planet Nutshell can help students and parents understand the FAFSA and the financial aid process. Here are a few to check out: 

Understanding Federal Student Loans in a Nutshell  from Planet Nutshell
Not all federal student loans are created equal. This video explains the key differences between Subsidized Direct Loans, Unsubsidized Direct Loans, and Direct Plus Loans. 

Choosing Financial Aid in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell
Once you have filed out your FAFSA and have been accepted to college, you will receive a financial aid award letter that outlines what financial assistance is available to you. This video explains how to add up your school expenses and choose the financial aid package that's right for you. 

Borrow Wisely: FAFSA in a Nutshell from Planet Nutshell
When it comes to your financial future, it is important to plan ahead before you take out student loans. 


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Mind of a Middle Schooler

by Jen Dondero

This graphic adequately describes what many parents and teachers face when working with adolescent students. Their brains are processing so much information academically, socially and emotionally and it’s our job as their supporters and cheerleaders to find the best ways in which to support their growth and development. In order to help them, we need to understand how they process information and then use our knowledge to set them up for success. This is a time for rapid growth especially between the ages of 10-15. It is the greatest time of brain growth in human life. In addition to a rapid growth of neurons in the frontal lobe, puberty unleashes a hormonal wave, resulting in increased cognitive abilities and new and far more intense emotions. This may be way adolescents misinterpret 40% of emotions and instructions. Their brains are overwhelmed with taking in information, processing it and deciding how to act upon it and in dealing with all of that confusing information they make mistakes. Middle school students (and most people) retain 5-7 bits of information at a time. I remember this from my time in psych 101, which is why phone numbers are typically 7 digits long. We need to remember this when giving instructions and presenting information for note taking. It is important to allow time for them to process those 5-7 bits of information and then present the next task or set of information. So the next time you ask your son or daughter to take out the garbage, put their dinner dishes in the dishwasher, finish their homework assignment, take their laundry to their rooms AND put it away in the appropriate drawers, they may be overloaded with information and misinterpret your directions. The key word to adolescence is patience. Middle school is the learning ground for making better choices. Students are going to make mistakes, but mistakes provide the opportunity to grow and to learn. Middle school is a place to fall down, learn to take responsibility and to learn to get back up.

Which of these blurbs stands out the most to you? Are you surprised by any?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Conversations About Sexting

by Russ Becker

Sexting, Noun
Definition: The topic that strikes fear into the hearts of parents and school counselors alike.

As I’m sure by now, the term sexting is all too familiar to parents of high school and middle school students. Various news reports, criminal cases and national conversations seem to be popping up daily on a topic that can make even the most unyielding individual uncomfortable. The reality of the situation however, is that while sexting may be a parents worst nightmare it is a reality that our kids have likely become familiar with. The topic itself is often times glossed over, ignored or simply disregarded due to the potential awkwardness and unpleasant nature of the conversation, and who could blame you? How exactly does one talk to their son or daughter about sexting? Entering this dialogue without a proper tool kit can be difficult to say the least making parents consider hurling their child’s phone out of the window to avoid any inherent embarrassment. Due to the importance of the topic the conversation is more imperative than ever and thankfully there are resources to help us navigate these murky waters. Below you will find three links aimed at helping parents facilitate these conversations and giving families relevant information on what sexting means in today’s day and age. While this is a great place to start, any concerns you may have can also be discussed with myself or your child’s guidance counselor. Cybersafety is of utmost importance and we can all work to ensure that right for all of our students.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Welcome Ms. Warner!

We are pleased to introduce our new full time Guidance Counselor at the Dale St School! We are thrilled that Ms. Lindsey Warner has joined the Guidance Department.  Ms. Warner was a counselor at Saint Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton for five years. She earned both her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts in School Counseling from Boston College. Ms. Warner loves working with 4th and 5th grade students! We are excited that she is joining us at Dale St.