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Cliff's Corner - 3/15/2018

posted Mar 15, 2018, 6:13 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner - Hi everybody,

With Spring Break just around the corner, here is where we are going in counseling this week and next.  I’m a bit bad at predicting the future, so think of this as more setting the course of a sailboat in a storm than a roadmap.  I have to adapt to the winds of the school and they sometimes take me in new places that I wasn’t expecting.

One such place was brought up in last week’s lesson about secrets.  A very wise second grader brought up that there are secrets that need to be told, especially if it involves someone touching them in ways that make them uncomfortable.  We ended up talking about this briefly in all of the K-4 classes with some having more awareness of this than others. Please take the time to have that conversation with your kids.  None of us want to have that be anything to worry about, but it is something we, as parents, need to be proactive about. To their credit, all of them handled it with maturity and seriousness. I used the phrases “where your swimsuit covers” and “private parts” to illustrate what I was talking about and was pretty brief.  This took a bit more time and in most classes, we didn’t get to communication styles so that is the plan for the next couple weeks. Fourth and fifth grade rocked it. It’s good to see them remember something from last year so clearly. If you wanted to support this at home, we broke it down to Aggressive, Passive, Passive-Aggressive (aka Portland Normal) and Assertive. Perhaps observing when people around us are communicating in those styles, and letting kids see how they work and how others feel when those happen could be a good exercise? We will watch the video by Lexie Wilson about it as well as a couple other options of learning with it, including some role-playing.  

In 6th grade we are continuing our Suicide Prevention stuff, looking at Depression this week and making a sheet of warning signs so that the kids can have it to help them recognize depression in themselves and their peers.  Next week we start our Sex Ed unit from the state curriculum My Future, My Choice  There’s ten lessons. I’ll be giving them in order, for the most part.  We will be doing this until the end of the year. Expect worksheets to come home and discuss with you every week.  The goal is one lesson per week, but reality is some lessons will take longer than that. Scary to think that the end of the year is planned out and approaching that fast!

8th graders should be done forecasting their classes for next year!  Woo hoo! Cleveland’s counselor should have met with everyone today and confirmed their schedule hopes.  Also, if you could let me know if your student is accepted into private school or another PPS school such as Benson, that would help us know where to send the paperwork at the end of the year and how I can support them until then.

Marisha Childs and another community member visited us at our staff meeting last week to educate us on the Persian/Zoroastrian New Year’s celebration called Norooz.  You hopefully saw Nancy’s invitation for Oaks Park around that as well.   I’ve been spending some time thinking about all the different ways people of the world celebrate the new year and how wrapped up in tradition each celebration is, including our own.  I think we tend to think about January 1st as “The New Year” and the others as “Chinese New Year” or “Russian New Year” and think that our Gregorian Calendar is the only one with merit and the others are quaint traditions, unrooted in modern times. Especially so when they are so far chronologically removed from the time we celebrate the same thing in the US.  Here’s link to the Wikipedia rabbit hole of worldwide New Year celebrations:  There are plenty of world traditions for us to be aware of and, if appropriate, celebrate.  As the Wade Davis quote goes: “The world you were born into is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you.  They are unique manifestations of the human spirit.”

Which brings us to our question:  With our ideas of “normal” for celebrations, how can we make sure that we kindly accept people from all over the world and value their traditions also?  What work do we have to do within ourselves to allow that?


Cliff Shaw
School Counselor
Winterhaven School