Student reopening chats
Next week, ACPS is hosting three student community chats on Tuesday July 28th for elementary, middle and high school students. The elementary school chat will be at 9:00 am. Questions need to be submitted in advance by this Friday, July 24. Questions will also be answered live at the session.
Students, submit your questions around the reopening planning and take part in the reopening chats!
Please click the link below to submit questions and for details on how to join the session:
A message from our PTA President
This past winter (doesn’t that seem like a lifetime ago?), my children and their friends asked me to take them to the ice skating rink. I did not seem to want to, but gave into the pressure of earnest pleas! I entered the rink with reluctance because I believed the evening would be frustrating; I do not skate and I do not like being cold! However, I did ask the question as to whether or not the evening could be kind to me. Actually, it was more than kind to me because a paradox appeared right in front of me. I learned a lesson I shall never forget from something I observed about these children time and time again: no matter how many times they fell down, they got up with a smile and moved with joy to their next fall. This put me into deep reflection and I left the experience asking myself, can I have the courage and will, the resilience, to stand up with a smile every time life puts me down? There have been many questions, and not so many answers, swirling about us during COVID-19. But the question I posed to myself at the rink has not been in the mix of the questions on my mind. It should be. As a community we are now faced with the immediate question as to whether we will be returning to school this Fall two days per week or if we will commence with an all-virtual learning platform. We are also faced with a volcano of additional questions erupting from that question - questions about how our households will adjust to either scenario. And beyond that, there are many, many more questions, extending to the national and world-wide levels about how best to weather life under the cloud of a pandemic. Depending on the day we are having - this cloud rains, sprinkles, showers, storms, thunders, or (on a good day), merely threatens. But the cloud is always there - looming. Decisions agonize us so often because we do not know their outcome. Whether there will be a rainbow ... or just more winds carrying seemingly endless storms. “You have power over your mind but not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” - Marcus Aurelius, 1st Century This week I came across this quote and decided to promote the ice skating question - questioning my resilience - to front of the line of my questions. I recommitted anew to having power over my mind, despite outside events, despite the unknowns. To not get discouraged about life being interrupted; to not let the anxiety and sadness surrounding COVID-19 prevail. Thus, now erupting from the question of resilience, is a whole new set of questions. What can we learn from all this? What are the good things that can come from it? How can we see social distancing as an opportunity to uplift, edify, and reconnect our families? How can we turn this atypical school year into something positive and make it work for our families? How can we show gratitude even when things are not exactly how we want them to be? How do we show generosity, compassion, and empathy for those around us? And finally, what messages are we sending our children through our own behaviors and attitudes? Our children will follow our example and adopt the attitudes we are displaying - positive or negative, stressed or calm. Our balanced emotional state and well-being, as parents and caregivers, will protect our children from stress long term. Faiza Jackson, LCSW and ACPS mental health specialist, spoke to our PTA community last week about resilience parenting and guiding our children through their emotions. This time can be an opportunity for our children to learn resilience and to discover in themselves that they have the ability to overcome challenges. We can talk to our children about the emotions they are experiencing, help them understand that these emotions are not right or wrong, and guide them on how to productively regulate their feelings. For more information about Ms. Jackson’s presentation, Social Emotional Academic Learning click here. I will be sitting down with my children this week and asking them for their input and their leadership on how our family can make the most of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Yes, this school year will not be the traditional one they have come to expect and love, and there is real disappointment in that. But, it is okay. It will be okay. We will weather it together, as a family and as a community, and in fact we can be better for it. I will ask them what things we can do because of this pandemic that we otherwise would not be able to do. (I simply must share here an example of this that is already in motion: we have “taken under our wing”- until they can survive independently - seven baby ducklings who lost their mother. So here we are ... duckling baths, naps, feedings, waddling and playing! They are resilience in action: these babies are going on two weeks of survival without their mother! Well, this is something I never could have taken on in our faster paced life...) And then we will continue to wait for answers to all our other questions. Those external ones that we have little or no control over. I have reassured my children that with regards to school, we are in good hands - that our school and district administrators and teachers will make wise, considered decisions and take thoughtful action for the best possible outcome for the collective whole. While in the waiting room, let’s work daily at getting back up with every fall and setback. Let’s carry forth with a smile, patience, goodwill, and even joy, and perhaps we can shed light on one of the world’s dark hours. In so doing we will be able to answer at least one question: despite it all, there can be a rainbow.