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Cliff's Corner - 1/25/2018

posted Jan 26, 2018, 5:36 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner  Hello again,

Here’s what’s happening in the world of counseling at Winterhaven.

For the classroom visits, we are shifting into celebrating the diversity of the world. For K-5; I’m planning on using a series by the Southern Poverty Law Center called Different Colors of Beauty. I likely won’t be doing all of them, but I’ll do most.  Before we get into this, we will watch Dr. Seuss’ Sneetches and do a quick situational role-play around that. The future lessons are here:

Different Colors of Beauty | Teaching Tolerance

The overall goal of these lessons is to help students develop their racial or ethnic identities in a safe and open classroom environment. Each lesson capitalizes on a ...

6th grade will also be looking at lessons around diversity, starting with looking at our own biases with Project Implicit, a study done by Harvard.  After this, we will be doing some lessons from Teaching Tolerance as well.   

Forecasting for the majority of our 8th graders is just ahead.  Franklin will be here the 2nd and Cleveland will be here the 16th. Each of them will send paperwork home to be signed. Franklin is on a tight schedule after that, I’ll need them back in under a week.  

Speaking of middle school, we have a couple events in the near future for them.  First is a play by the Children’s Theater and Kaiser on bullying called Above, Between, Below on February 1st.  After this, on the 28th, the middle school will be watching the movie Screenagers.  If you are interested in seeing Screenagers yourself, look for information from the PTSA soon.  

And our question: What makes talking about race and racism uncomfortable? What can we do to continue those conversations and push through? How can we encourage our kids to do this work also?

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 1/18/18

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:57 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner  Hello again,

This week is No-Name Calling Week and all of our classroom activities are centered on this theme.  In the upper grades we are continuing to try to figure out the difference between kind teasing and hurtful teasing.  In the lower grades we have focused mostly on choosing the words we use with each other and making a habit of only calling people by their given/chosen names.  Kids will have had the opportunity to have a piece of yarn tied around their wrist as a reminder to speak kindly to each other. I wish we could make this nationwide and all ages.

8th graders forecasting for Grant and Roosevelt should turn in their forms to me ASAP.  I need to get those back to the schools very soon. Lincoln will send me their forms soon and Franklin will be here on February 2ndCleveland is scheduled to be here on the 16th of February.  In the meantime, here’s info on Cleveland’s open house:  

Cleveland High School’s Annual Open House
Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 7 p.m. - CHS Auditorium Please attend Cleveland’s annual Open House, where parents and their 8th graders can learn about "bridging the gap" between 8th grade and high school. You will meet CHS teachers, students and parents who will share their experiences and answer questions while you take a guided tour of the campus. Learn about class offerings, freshman Academies, student activities and resources, athletics and student organizations, as well as the International Baccalaureate and Mandarin Chinese Immersion programs. This is a once-a-year event for 8th graders and their parents. We look forward to seeing you there! Parents with questions about Bridging the Gap should contact Jan Watt at 503-916-5120 x75029.

If your 8th grader is hoping to go to a private school, please get the recommendation paperwork to the teachers (and Mr. Sandilands and I) as soon as possible.  It does take us some time to complete.  

We have a middle school theater production called Above, Between, Below focusing on bullying coming to us February 1st.  It’s a collaboration between Kaiser and the Oregon Children’s Theater.  

On February 28th, the middle school students will be watching the movie Screenagers, focusing on the role screens are playing in our lives.  A public screening will be shown at Cleveland that night.  Look for more info from the PTSA soon.  

And our question of the week:  What role does/did race play in your family’s choice of schools?  This is going to be more of a self-journey for the adults in the room, but also one that middle schoolers can be more aware of as they start to think about high school.  Some of this may be really uncomfortable for all of us.  I encourage us all (I do these with my kids as well) to dodge this discomfort, we have to embrace it in order to change things.  The easy answer, of course, is “none”; but that’s missing the deeper complexities.  We all took the time and effort (and luck) to get into this amazing place called Winterhaven.  Why?  How did race play into that decision?  

Have a good week!

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 1/11/18

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:56 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner – Hello again,

In K-5 counseling we continue to prepare for No-Name Calling Week; January 15-20.  We will be looking at names and spending lots of time trying to differentiate between kind, harmless teasing and hurtful teasing. We are spending a lot of time looking at impact vs. intent and context vs. words.  

A counselor from Grant was here last week helping our kids headed their way.  Students who were there should have brought home their forecasting sheets for you to go over and sign with them.  I need those back this Friday (likely tomorrow for you).  Franklin will be here in February and Cleveland sometime as well.  I’ll be pulling the other public schools in and doing the forecasting with them, starting with Roosevelt this week.  

If you are applying to private high schools, please get the recommendation forms to us as soon as possible.  We get a lot of them and it takes a considerable amount of time that staff would like to plan for.  

Another article on teenage mental health from the Oregonian this week.


Oregon teens struggle with mental health more than ever ...

Compared with 2015 and particularly 2013, more eighth- and 11th- graders reported they have unmet mental health needs on the biennial Oregon Healthy Teens ...

It always is one thing to read about national trends, but it is another to see it playing out among us.  Please take the time to practice mindfulness, art and exercise with your students.  These are the best three things we can do for our kids for both anxiety and depression.  If they are showing signs of more intense mental health related issues, please talk to your insurance provider or me about further counseling help.  

For this week’s question, I’m remembering a book I once read called “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” where Hmong immigrants viewed epileptic seizures as someone communicating with the divine where the US doctors had their Western medical opinions.  We used to diagnose slaves who repeatedly ran away as being mentally ill (!).  Other diagnoses have come and slipped away over the years as well, after they were found to target minorities, women, etc.  

Which brings us to the question: What are our stereotypes of mental illness and how do race and culture play into them?  

Have a good week!

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 12/14/2017

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:55 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner – Hey folks,

We are wrapping up this last week of the year in the K-6 classes by reflecting on our learnings of mindfulness.  How is it useful to each student as an individual?  How does it help?  What are things it can’t help with?   What gets in the way of making it a regular practice?  What are other ways we can be mindful?  This then becomes a mindful eating exercise, which will likely be very difficult for the kids.  Hopefully it will be fun also.  If you could continue to reinforce mindfulness at home throughout the year that would be instrumental to helping our school be the amazing place it is.   

You may have heard in the news about a big spike in youth anxiety levels.  We were a very anxious school before this spike, so it is really hitting us hard.  Please take the time to check in with your kiddo (and yourself) to see where their stress levels are.  Taking the time to really relax at least a couple days this vacation is especially necessary for many of our kids, particularly the more introverted ones who really just need some alone time, as do we introverted adults also!  Sometimes the pace of the holidays can interfere with this.  Try to make the time for some mindful down time and allow them to be in the moment of “now” rather than thinking of the future.  

A reminder that Grant High School will be here the first Friday in January (the 5th) to speak to the half dozen 8th graders headed their way and Franklin will be here in February to speak to their dozen.  Cleveland will follow at some point.  Other public high schools will send me the materials as they become ready and I’ll be choosing the classes with the students as needed.  You’ll need to sign off on your student’s class choices so be expecting paperwork to come home after each of those meetings.  

And to our equity question of the week: “What do our portrayals of the holidays speak about our ideas of race and class?  How can we improve this for future generations?”  You’ll have to break this down some for the wee ones


Happy Holidays.  

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 12/7/2017

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:52 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner 

Hey everyone!

I love stealing that line from Ms. Cooke.  Here’s what has been happening (and what I’m predicting will be happening as of Wednesday morning) for this week in counseling at Winterhaven.

Overall, our focus remains on mindfulness in the K-6 classrooms.  We will be wrapping Mindfulness up next week and moving into some acceptance and anti-bullying topics in January.  This week, in all but the K-1 classes, we will be watching this video and practicing a mindful body scan.


The Scientific Power of Meditation - YouTube

How exactly does meditation affect your body? GET THE BOOK! SUBSCRIBE: Written by: Rachel Salt, Gregory ...


We will be just be doing the body scan in K-1 and a quick reading.  

8th grade had our whole class meeting Monday.  It went well.  If you could continue to reinforce the ideas of treating each other kindly and respectfully and speaking up if someone isn’t, that would be very helpful.  A larger lesson looming is the one around “snitching”.  

Both Grant High School and Franklin High School will be here shortly after Winter Break to have students choose classes.  Cleveland will be here sometime after that.  I’ll let you know.  

And our Equity Question of the week:  What does “fair” mean?  How are the words “equal” and “equitable” different?

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 11/30/2017

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:51 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner -

Hey all,

It’s been a busy few days since Thanksgiving here.  This is what we are (hopefully) up to:

In K-6 classrooms we are finishing up our last three weeks of mindfulness training.  This week, instead of using our breath as an anchor to keep our “Monkey Minds” busy, we spent some time with some coloring books with themes from all over the world.  We worked on just returning our focus to the drawing every time we felt our minds wander.  The kids who struggled the most with keeping track of their breath have done wonderfully with this so far. Sometimes a little motion is what is needed, underlining that mindfulness is very much an individual experience.  Again, supporting our students through this at home is building a very useful skill for them and hopefully relaxing them as well.  

I spent some time in both 7th grade classes talking about the objectification of other humans.  Some innocent ratings of each other turned hurtful.  If you could reinforce how we should try to see every human on the inside, deeper self that would be helpful.   

In 8th grade we are having a series of community meetings looking at how we are interacting and treating each other and hopefully find a consensus on what is appropriate and what is hurtful.  The goal is to increase the cohesion in that class and heal some of the fractures that have been happening.  

8th grade is also easing into forecasting for high school.  Before I forget, Grant will be here Friday, January 5th and Franklin will be here Friday, February 2nd.  The only other school I expect to come to Winterhaven is Cleveland.  I’ll keep you posted when we get them scheduled.  

Also, a last reminder for 8th grade parents looking at Jefferson, MLC or Benson - the lottery closes December 1st.  Likely that is tomorrow from when you get this.  

Our equity question for the week:  How are stereotypes harmful?  What about positive stereotypes?  How are they harmful as well?

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 11/16/2017

posted Jan 19, 2018, 3:50 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner Hey all,

Thanks to all of you who came to conferences.  It is always nice to see our families and students together.  I especially want to thank those of you who fed us!  It was a rare chance for all of us, as a staff, to sit together and eat.  

I’ll be doing more mindfulness stuff with all the kids this week.  We will be working on this until Winter Break.  There is loads of research about the benefits of mindfulness in a school setting as well as in our personal lives.   However, mindfulness is most effective if it is done daily, so I need your help.  Here is an article on how to add some in slowly at home.  Again, both students and parents reported high levels of stress and anxiety in the needs assessment that went out earlier this year.  The unfortunate truth is also that if we, as parents are stressed, so are our kids.  Sometimes the best thing we can do for them is take care of ourselves alongside them.  

The lotteries for high schools are now open until December 1st.  If your student is thinking of going to Benson, Jefferson or MLC, the time to apply is now. Benson also has its own additional application process on their website. We’ve got a dozen students going there for Shadow Day this Friday (tomorrow).   If your student wants to go to a different neighborhood high school than the neighborhood one, there is a little more flexibility in time, but a lot smaller chance in making it happen. Jefferson is having their Shadow Day the 29th.  I’ve got the forms you’ll need to fill out if your student is thinking of that as an option.  Contact the Enrollment and Transfer Center for more information.  

As the days darken and the rain is a constant companion, something that always seems to come up more around this time of year is our relationship with technology.  Here’s an article from The Atlantic that caught my attention:

Also, should this start looking like a deeper issue in your home, there is this resource in town (among others) to help: .  As always, I find my words to my kids about technology to be most effective if I practice what I preach.  As hard as it is, limiting our own screen time is both a good example as well as a good framework for us to be present with our kids during our short times together.  

The Question:  How do you think race influenced our first Thanksgiving?  How accurate does our portrayal represent this?

Be well and Happy Thanksgiving to you!  

Cliff Shaw

Cliff's Corner - 11/9/2017

posted Nov 13, 2017, 3:34 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner - Hey everyone, Here’s what’s happening in counseling this week.  

I only came to half of the 6th graders for guidance lessons this week, thanks to our schedule. I’ll make up the other 6th graders Thanksgiving week so they will get the same information. All the other classes are scheduled for Wednesday-Friday so I’ll have to wait to see everyone else until next week. We will continue our mindfulness studies (4 more lessons) until Winter Break. The video for 6th grade was this one:

Again, mindfulness is best done as a daily practice. Doing it with your kiddos sets the example for them and opens the door for you to share some of your challenges with them as well as show them ways to work through it. Here is a decent read about how Anxiety and Mindfulness work together:

Please remember to gently process conferences with your students. Some are pretty worried about them, especially middle schoolers who have to lead the whole meeting. Talking through that anxiety and maybe sharing a time you had your own nervousness around being graded or reviewed can be helpful.  

Our Question: “How did issues around race affect the events in a movie you watched together recently?”  

Thanks again! Cliff Shaw,

Cliff's Corner - 11/2/2017

posted Nov 3, 2017, 4:05 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner Hey all,

I want to share a Marshmallow Test story that really illustrates our quirky school. Last year, I gave the Marshmallow Test to all the kids and the vast majority were quite successful and got two marshmallows. A week later, one of them showed up at my office holding both of his still uneaten marshmallows. They were a little crusty and bordering on nasty, but I laughed and gave him a third marshmallow. Last week, during the marshmallow test, he still had his three marshmallows from last year! Disgusting, but so very Winterhaven!

Otherwise, we are continuing to work on mindfulness, the non-religious branch of meditation. I sometimes hear from students “I tried it once, it didn’t help” and I try encouraging them by reminding them that practicing mindfulness is like growing a tree. You can’t see it grow day to day, but if you look back after a month of growth, you will see the difference. Ideally, these mindful moments would be supported at home. Here’s a quick article on how to fit mindfulness into our already busy lives.  

Using an app on your device is also a popular option. There are many including Breathe, Calm, Headspace, Flowing, Smiling Mind (We use a lot of their videos in class) and my personal favorite, Insight Timer. It’s important to start small and not jump into a 20 minute meditation, but it also important to do this regularly.  


How to Incorporate Mindfulness Into Every Day | Brit + Co

At this point, it’s pretty safe to say that mindfulness is more than just a passing trend among millennials. In the past few years, mindful practices have gained ...

We used this video in the 5th and 6th grades.



Buddhist Monk shares his Secrets of Meditation

Meditate anywhere, anytime!

 And this one in K-2


"Just Breathe" by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh ... - YouTube

The inspiration for “Just Breathe” first came about a little over a year ago when I overheard my then 5-year-old son talking with his friend about how ...

I don’t get to see 3rd and 4th this week, they’re my Friday folks.  

I finished up the first of four kindergarten small groups this week. I get to meet with every kid sometime this year to play games and build the relationship between us. We also do some problem solving skills and sportsmanship stuff as well as introducing the talking monkey, a stuffed monkey that we use to let us know whose turn it is to talk.  

Our Question:

When we talk about cultures, what is the difference between Acknowledging, Affirming and Promoting? How can we make sure we are at least affirming all people?

Thanks again!  Cliff Shaw,

Cliff's Corner - 10/26/2017

posted Oct 27, 2017, 12:02 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner Hey all,

Here’s what’s going on in the counseling world at Winterhaven.  

Last week in the K-6 classrooms we did the Marshmallow Test. I had to attend to some crises and had to miss 2nd and 5th, so we will get them this week. For the rest of the classes, we will move into mindfulness training using some basic lessons from Mindful Schools and Mind Up! Together, we will watch this introduction video:

The older grades may also watch this TED Talk:

6th grade will also get our district Pocket Directory handed out and explained to them. It is a small pamphlet with resources for them that every middle school student in the district gets. I’ll go over it quickly with them as well. 7th and 8th had them handed out in their core classes already.

Be sure to hug your kids this week. There is a lot of depression, stress and anxiety in the building. I keep encouraging our kids towards the trinity of relaxation: exercise, art and mindfulness. Together they work exponentially and best if done daily and together as a family. Don’t we all need a little help with letting go of the stresses in our lives? In a few weeks, you can ask your students to teach you about mindfulness, which will help you talk together as well as solidify their learning.

Our question of the week:  What makes talking about race difficult?  What can we do to overcome this?

Thanks again!  Cliff Shaw,

Regarding 8th grade transitions to High School:

8th graders heard from Benson Tech last Friday.  Many of them sound interested. Benson also has a shadow day on November 17th if your student is thinking of going there, permission slips should have already gone home. If they didn’t, replacements are hanging outside my door or on Benson’s website. They need to be back to me by November 1st so we can have the details figured out. 

Speaking of high schools, here is the link to the district page with all high school Open Houses and other activities each high school puts on.  

Every year there is a family or two who are surprised by which high school neighborhood they are really in. The west side changed pretty drastically recently with a few subtle changes on the east side as well. Double check your neighborhood schools here:  

The lottery for the high school choice system is super early this year, November 13th - December 1st.  Fair warning: it will be extremely difficult to transfer somewhere other than Benson, MLC, or Jefferson.  

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