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Cliff's Corner - 4/5/2018

posted Apr 5, 2018, 6:40 PM by Admin at Winterhaven

Counselor’s Corner - 

Welcome back!

Before I start in on what I’ll be teaching / have taught, I wanted to give you all a heads up about something rising up here: If you could please let me know if your student is on crutches/walking boot or has a head injury (or other major injury) so I can make sure we have some structures in place to keep them safe, that would be appreciated. These structures can range from a very informal heads up to a 504 plan for something that will last more than six weeks. I mention this because we seem to be having a rough year for both concussions and leg injuries. We currently have at least six kids wearing the dreaded boot and five of them are in seventh grade! A big shout out to Cindy and Nelly for jumping in to spot some of them up and down the stairs every period, every day.


Parents of K-5: Heads up about something new coming on line this year. The state of Oregon passed Erin’s Law in 2015. Winterhaven needs to get into compliance. “Erin’s Law” requires that all public schools implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program that teaches students in grades pre-K—12th grade age-appropriate techniques to recognize child sexual abuse and tell a trusted adult. There are also staff and parent education components to this law.

For basics on the law see I’ll be giving between 3-5 lessons on this to each grade level, starting in May-ish. The curriculum the district has encouraged us to use is called Rights, Respect, and Responsibility. You can download the curriculum here: or just see quick summaries of the topics there, further down the page. (NOTE: You might need to use Chrome to download this correctly).

If you have questions about opting your child out, my understanding is that you can opt out of the sex part, (not present in the K-5 lessons at any rate) but not the anatomy/social-sexuality/safety part. Some lessons focus on bullying and diversity, some on safety with your body. One of the benefits of Winterhaven is that we are a container that seems to preserve our student's innocence a little longer than most schools. We really want to nurture that, but of course want to also ensure that we provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe. I know this is a heavy topic. Perhaps we should host a parent night where we can provide the parent education part of it as well as brainstorm ways to make it work for us here? Please let me know if this is something you are interested in doing.


Whew.  Before we get there in the K-5 classrooms (we are already doing this in 6th with My Future, My Choice - ) we will be re-centering ourselves with another round of mindful coloring before finishing up with “I messages” in all grades next week.  6th will be deep in health curriculum.


For our equity question of the week, I have been sitting with both the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and the death of Winnie Mandela and pondering how differently we view the two of them and why.  I think the willful taming/forgetting/rebranding of Dr. King’s later philosophy from anti-capitalism and anti-Vietnam war to his earlier easier to digest, less threatening “non-violence” views has helped him gain broader acceptance.  Winnie Mandela however never tamed her message and to her death remained “controversial”. I’m guessing a large part of this is because she is a woman, but also because she refused to compromise her ideals for the sake of easy accessibility or harmony, famously critiquing her former husband during the Truth and Reconciliation days of South Africa. King also compromised very little, but we somehow seem to have forgotten that.  Good articles abound on either of these people this week if you need more background. Our question: How does race and the stereotypes of race affect our perceptions of what leadership looks like? Beyond race, think of what we would term as “white culture” and how that has been equated with “normal” vs. “other”. Using this as a springboard to talk about different cultures’ thinking and approaches might be a way to go for younger kids.  

Cliff Shaw
School Counselor
Winterhaven School