According to a New York Life Foundation survey, nearly 70% of teachers have at least one grieving student in their classroom. The survey, which was conducted in conjunction with the American Federation of Teachers, also shows that on average teachers interact with eight grieving students each school year.
In keeping with a whole child educational philosophy, members of the Episcopal faculty seek to support and assist students in all aspects of life, including loss. Recently, the school earned the Grief-Sensitive School designation through New York Life’s Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. Initiative organizers seek to prepare teachers to support grieving students by providing access to teacher resources and training opportunities. To earn the designation, Episcopal Middle School teachers participated in a training in which they were introduced to the information available to them as a participating school. Middle School counselor Alicia Kelly says the training was a helpful refresher on empathy and compassion. “The training we received was a valuable reminder of the ongoing struggles our students may deal with, related to loss,” says Kelly. “Every child we teach is dealing with things that we cannot see. Being aware and sensitive to our children’s family lives helps us connect with them, and support the whole child, leading to better educational outcomes.”
Kelly says teachers now have access to resources to help them better communicate and understand students who have experienced a significant loss. She says offering the training during a Middle School staff meeting so that the entire division could attend highlights the school’s commitment to supporting students and families. In addition she says because of Episcopal’s small size, teachers and staff have the ability to reach out to families one-on-one to rally around them and offer meaningful support.
The Episcopal community is known for providing a strong support system. School counselors Alicia Kelly, Sara LeBlanc, Jodi Manton, and Robin Talamo work with students in each division in age-appropriate ways. Faculty and staff also offer a range of services for students and families, including the following:
As part of the Grief-Sensitive School designation, Episcopal received a $500 grant to support additional resources. The grant allowed the Episcopal school counselors to host a viewing of the documentary Screenagers, which explores the pressures and realities that today’s students face in a digital world. The documentary was shown this week to students and families. For more tips on dealing with children and technology, read this post by Upper School Counselor Jodi Manton.
Helping teens navigate the digital world is a challenge all families face. Episcopal’s Jodi Manton provides valuable tips to help families manage. Make plans to attend Episcopal’s screening of Screenagers on Thursday, January 24th from 8 – 9:30 am or 6:30 – 8:30 pm.
Snapchat. Instagram. iMessage. YouTube. Fortnite. These media and gaming platforms are all part of daily life for many teenagers, readily accessible at any time, day or night, from smartphones, laptops, and other devices. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey indicated that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone. 45% reported they are online “almost constantly,” and another 44% said they are online “several times a day.” Teens reported using Snapchat (35%), YouTube (32%), and Instagram (15%) most often, and 97% of teenage boys reported playing video games (Anderson & Jiang, 2018). How has technology and media use become so pervasive for teens?
One reason may be the aspects of social media platforms and games designed to “hook” teens. For example, Snapchat has a feature called “Snapstreaks,” which requires Snapchat friends to exchange photos daily for three days to start a “streak.” They must then continue to exchange a picture daily, or the streak will expire. Maintaining Snapstreaks has become important to many teens and even has some sharing their passwords with friends or parents to maintain their streaks for them if they won’t have access to the site or their device for some reason.
Fortnite is a gaming phenomenon that has gone viral. While there is some debate about how violence in video games may impact teens, there is no question that these games are designed to keep players coming back. The graphics and fast pace of the game draw players in. Fortnite also capitalizes on elements of luck that keep teens playing. As their skill in the game improves, teens may get drawn in by the “near miss” phenomenon - “Instead of feeling as if they’ve lost, players may feel as if they’ve nearly won,” and they keep playing with the belief they will win the next game (Damour, 2018). This is similar to the experience of gambling, which was recently added to the DSM-5 as a potential type of addiction.
As technology and social media have become more ubiquitous in the lives of teens, it has become an ever-increasing topic in my conversations with students and their parents. How can parents help their digital natives navigate the potential pitfalls and capitalize on the benefits of a connected life?
For more information about this important topic, attend Episcopal’s screening of the documentary, Screenagers, on Thursday, January 24th at 8:00 to 9:30 AM and 6:30 to 8:30 PM. RSVP to your division counselor:
Anderson, M. & Jiang, J. (2018). Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018. Pew Research Center Internet & Technology. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/.
Damour, L. (2018). Parenting the Fortnite Addict. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/well/family/parenting-the-fortnite-addict.html.
Rennert, L., Denis, C., Peer, K., Lynch, K.G., Gelernter, J., & Kranzler, H.R. (2014). DSM-5 Gambling Disorder: Prevalence and Characteristics in a Substance Use Disorder Sample. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 22 (1), 50-56. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4019046/.
Jodi Manton has served as the Upper School Counselor since 2015 where she provides academic and social/emotional services to Upper School students and their families. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and Certified School Counselor. She has a master's degree in education with a concentration in mental health counseling and a Certificate of Education Specialist with a concentration in school counseling from Louisiana State University.
Working and Saving. Dorm room cooking. Dorm/Apartment Safety.
These are just a few of the life skills Episcopal faculty are passing on to this year’s graduating seniors as part of the College Block experience.
College Block is a weekly time slot set aside for Upper School students to prepare for college admission. Students in ninth through eleventh grades focus on test prep and college readiness skills. Using materials provided by MasteryPrep, Upper School faculty members teach lessons in ACT prep, while Episcopal counselors lead sessions on college admission and readiness. Students also have the opportunity to take timed practice tests, watch test prep videos, and participate in test prep boot camps. Dr. Alan Newton, College Block Coordinator, is thrilled to have the entire Upper School faculty involved in this program. "When our students see that their teachers are willing to put forth extra time and effort to teach lessons and lead sessions, this reinforces Episcopal's commitment to successful college admissions," he says.
College Block test prep is comprehensive and students are seeing great results. To read more about Episcopal’s successful college test prep click here.
Building upon this success, College Counseling Director Justin Fenske and his team had a different vision for the senior year of College Block. With college early decisions announced in the late fall, many seniors are nearing the end of their admissions journey. Now that students have narrowed their college choices, the process transforms to one of preparation for life. With this in mind, the senior College Block idea was born.
The college counseling team solicited their colleagues for suggestions on skills that would help students easily make the transition to life on their own. Fenske says faculty members enthusiastically responded with a range of ideas and suggestions. “The faculty viewed this as an opportunity to ensure that our students were fully prepared for life after graduation. We hope students gain life skills and take something from their teachers that wasn’t from class,” says Fenske.
One recommendation came from Thesis Director Katie Sutcliffe who suggested a presentation on dorm room cooking. In her presentation, Sutcliffe offered tips on affordable, healthy and easy cooking options. Sutcliffe not only guided students through the process of preparing no-bake energy bites, but she also provided them with supply lists and shopping tips. In another recent presentation, Upper School art teacher Kate Trepagnier offered students stress relief tips from an artistic standpoint. Trepagnier walked students through stretches and exercises to help them relax after a long day of studying. In addition, she demonstrated how creating art, and even doodling, can aid relaxation.
Senior College Block topics vary widely. Over the course of the year, faculty members will offer advice on everything from how to jump start a car to how to determine whether studying abroad is a valuable option. The presentations are interactive and engaging, with topics that resonate with a range of audiences.
It is widely known that Episcopal’s approach to college preparation is working, with students gaining admission to highly-selective institutions, scoring in the top ranks on admissions tests and earning National Merit recognition. This new approach to the College Block experience is a complementary, meaningful commitment to educating the whole child.
As students across the nation prepare for the October 27th ACT testing date, the organization that distributes the ACT test has released the 2018 Condition of College & Career Readiness Report. This annual report provides state testing data and the latest testing trends among students. According to ACT, the national average composite score dipped in 2018 from the previous year. The same downward trend was also seen among Louisiana’s Class of 2018.
At Episcopal, that trend does not hold true.
Episcopal students have consistently performed better on the ACT over the last four years with a 9.38% improvement. Upper School Division Head Tom Forti says this is thanks in part to the solid academic foundation that students are provided every day in every division in every class. According to the ACT College Readiness report, research has shown this to be true, with the rigor of coursework having the greatest impact on ACT performance and college readiness.
opportunity to prepare tomorrow’s leaders to make a difference in the world. “Our teachers are some of the most caring individuals, always providing support and encouragement while also pushing students to be their best academic self,” he says.
Episcopal teachers provide students the opportunity for a personalized, advanced education. Click here to read more about personalized options at Episcopal. Teachers know when a student is ready to advance to a more challenging course and they are there to support students along the way. Learning at your own pace has its benefits. According to ACT, “students who take Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry typically achieve higher ACT Mathematics scores than students who take less than three years of mathematics. In addition, students who take more advanced mathematics courses substantially increase their ACT Mathematics score.” At Episcopal, it is common for students to take advanced math courses, such as Honors Geometry or even Calculus BC, when they are ready, regardless of any predetermined track.
In addition to strong academic support, students also receive tremendous social/emotional support, beginning as early as Lower School. “You’re not going to fall through the cracks here,” says Forti. “You’re always on someone’s radar.” Being on a teacher’s radar means that teachers know and care when a student is struggling. Teachers are aware of when students need additional support, such as an extension, a study hall or even just a listening ear.
Supportive teachers, accessible College Counselors and a network of families and alumni, together create a strong school community committed to mission-appropriate students. Perhaps Episcopal’s greatest strength is this sense of community and a passion for excellence and exploration. Episcopal students have the opportunity to pursue their interests and push their limits, thanks to the unrelenting support and guidance of faculty and staff.
Episcopal students are performing at high levels on national tests, with consistent improvement every year despite national trends. Tangible examples of the strength of the Episcopal community are reflected in improving ACT scores, consistent high performance on the PSAT resulting in significant National Merit recognition and high numbers of AP Scholars. Recent success points to a community not only healthy, but flourishing.
While test scores are impressive, the numbers cannot accurately tell the story. The Episcopal story is witnessed and felt as students take the stage for the first time in Lower School, or as an athlete earns extra playing time or even as the list of colleges and universities accepting Episcopal students grows. The Episcopal legacy is strong, as evidenced by the alumni who continue to enroll their children at their alma mater and by the community that continues to entrust the school with the hopes of the next generation.
We often struggle to find the right balance of protection and independence when it comes to our teenagers. The nineties saw the rise of the “helicopter parent,” hovering over their child. This has evolved to the “lawn mower parent,” swooping in and “mowing over” any adversity or struggle their child may face. While this is well-intentioned, loving and motivated parents can inadvertently stunt the growth of adolescent independence by stepping in and “helping” each time their teen is in need. Parents often struggle with how much support is too much. Should I bring my tween their missing homework? Should I let my teen attend that late night party? Striking the right balance of protection and independence requires thoughtful consideration and knowledge of your individual child. How do parents navigate the tween and teens years? How much independence is the “right” amount? Here are some suggestions for knowing when to step in and when to let go.
As part of healthy development, adolescents become more peer-focused beginning around middle school. This also means that they rely less on adult guidance. Rather than parent facilitated “play dates,” adolescents make their own plans - movie nights, mall outings, sleepovers, concerts, dances, parties. These are all common activities for teens. Some ways you can foster social independence while also considering your child’s safety include:
As children approach middle school, teachers often encourage parents to step back and allow the student to take charge of her school work more independently. Parents should carefully consider how to empower their children to allow them to feel successful in school. Some ways you can foster independence academically include:
While many adolescents have a full schedule with school and extracurricular activities, it’s important for them to gain an awareness of their ability to contribute to their family and community. Being responsible to another adult, through a task such as mowing lawns, babysitting, or a summer job, empowers teens to feel competent. Some ways you can foster independence with work skills are:
Watching your child develop into a competent and confident adolescent is a rewarding experience. Episcopal’s mission includes preparing our students for “purposeful lives”. By motivating and encouraging responsible independence, parents and educators can partner together to help all of our students meet their full potential.
National Physicians Center for Families: Building Independence in Adolescents
Psychology Today: Teaching your Adolescent Independence
USA Today: Meet the ‘lawnmower parent,’ the new helicopter parents of 2018
Self-Sufficient Kids: 7 Ways Parents can Encourage Teens to be Self-Sufficient
Mark your calendar for the next Lunch and Learn with the Episcopal counselors.
Thursday, October 25th
11 am - 1 pm
The discussion will be based on the book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World by Michele Borba. You do not need to have read the book to attend. Please RSVP to your division counselor.
Alicia has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping pre-adolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.
Nationwide, more than 2 million students in the Class of 2017 took the ACT and more than 1.8 million took the SAT. According to the most recent reports from ACT and the College Board, college admissions tests are still a part of life for the majority of high school students in the country. In fact, the report shows that 60% of the Class of 2017 sat for the ACT and that the class of 2017 was the largest ever to take the SAT.
With many college admissions decisions, scholarships and National Merit status depending on these exams, it may be overwhelming for some as they prepare for their opportunity to test. Episcopal College Counseling Director Justin Fenske offers tips to make test preparation more manageable.
1. Start with the foundation.
Fenske says it is important for students to remember that even though test prep is important, everything starts with a solid academic foundation. This foundation is what Episcopal students are learning every day in class. “Doing well and working hard in classroom subjects is key to testing success,” says Fenske. “Ultimately these exams are seeking to determine whether subject information has been gained and whether the student is ready for college-level course work.” Students who want to score well on admissions tests must commit themselves to doing well on day-to-day classroom activities. This means maintaining a strong GPA and fully understanding classroom concepts.
2. Understand the test.
Once a student has acquired a solid foundation in academic subjects, test preparation can truly begin. Episcopal students have a range of resources available to help them in this area, including three dedicated college counselors. Fenske, Shandi Fazely and Jody Kennard work one-on-one with students throughout the college admissions journey. Counselors provide guidance on everything from Episcopal class schedules and college admissions essays to getting the most from a college visit and meeting the application deadlines. Counselors can advise students regarding what score they need to qualify for admission into the college of their choice and they are there to motivate students and keep them on track to achieve that score.
College prep truly is a team effort at Episcopal. In addition to the counseling team, Dr. Alan Newton serves as the school’s College Block Coordinator. In College Block students brush up on the foundational skills that they have learned in class. College Block is also where students begin to think in terms of how to take the test. For example, as they are reviewing writing tips they will practice marking up a paragraph the way they would be required to do for the ACT. Students also take timed practice tests, watch test prep videos and work on ACT lessons.
here to help students determine why they got a question wrong,” says Fenske, encouraging students to check in with classroom teachers regarding challenging concepts or questions.
Once the learning, practice and preparation are complete, it is time for testing. Fenske says the general recommendation is that a student take the test three times. “Our goal is for students to have a score they feel good about by the end of their junior year,” he says. As far as which test to take, Fenske says the subjects covered by the ACT and SAT are the same and the test prep should be as well.
Episcopal’s approach to test prep is getting results. Episcopal graduate Emily Knight ʼ18 was one of only 2,760 students nationwide to earn a perfect ACT composite score. In addition all Episcopal juniors take the PSAT, which determines National Merit recognition. The Class of 2018 had eight National Merit Finalists and four Commended Scholars, representing 13% of the overall class. National Merit Finalists are students who rank among the top half of the top one percent of the qualifying test scores in their state.
Class of 2018 National Merit Finalists top left: Shannon Ahmad, The University of Texas, Austin; Charles Barksdale, Texas A&M University; William Bodron, University of Kentucky, Lewis Honors College; Emily Knight, Fordham University. Second row left: Chima Mbagwu, Harvard University; Rachel Posner, Princeton University, Elliott Rotenberg, Vanderbilt University and Kenny Schafer, Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Not only are students earning National Merit status, but they are also being accepted into the most competitive universities and colleges in the country. One third of the total members of the Class of 2018 were accepted into selective institutions, such as Georgetown, Harvard and Princeton. Students also earned scholarships to a range of universities and colleges throughout the country.
While not all universities require an admissions test score, Episcopal students receive tremendous support to help them achieve their testing goals and position themselves for long-term success.
Good luck to students taking the ACT this September!
Meet the Episcopal College Counseling Team
Shandi Fazely has been a member of the Episcopal College Counseling team since 2016 after having served since 2011 in the Episcopal admission and advancement department. She is also a certified Highlands Ability Battery consultant. Shandi graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary science education. She spent four years in the classroom teaching high school biology, AP biology and human anatomy before relocating to Louisiana. Shandi and her husband Michael have two daughters, Ella an Episcopal kindergartener and Norah, a future Knight.
Justin Fenske joined Episcopal as the Director of College Counseling in 2014 and has been in the field since 2008. Justin graduated from the University of Michigan and earned a master’s in education from Boston University. During his time at Episcopal, his team has implemented a comprehensive high school program priding itself on individual attention to students in all grade levels. Justin is a certified Highlands Ability Battery consultant and has also spent time developing and implementing online career and college tools for high school students in the state of Michigan and as an administrator at Boston University.
Jody Kennard has been a part of the Episcopal community since 2005, serving first as Director of Advancement before joining the college counseling team in 2010. After graduating from Morristown Beard School in New Jersey, she earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Vermont with a double major in English and French. In addition to full-time college counseling, Jody is a certified Highlands Ability Battery consultant and a coach of Episcopal’s Girls on the Run program. Jody’s two sons are Episcopal graduates, Kenny Sheldon ’07 and Ricky Sheldon ’09.
Netflix premiered the second season of its controversial series 13 Reasons Why on Friday, May 18, 2018. As you may recall from our communication last spring, there are many concerns about tweens and teens watching this series. Considering the timing of this release, the potential for binge-watching and isolated viewing is more prevalent during the summer months.
Parents should become informed about the show’s content before deciding whether this show is appropriate for your child. The actors expressed that the show may not be right for everyone, especially if you are or have struggled with depression, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts. Additionally, Netflix has created a resources page with links to social/emotional supports, information about the show, and a discussion guide with tips for watching the show and ways to talk about the show with your child.
Below are some resources you may find useful. If at any time you or anyone you know shows signs of mental distress or suicide risk, you should contact emergency services and/or a mental health professional immediately. Your division counselor is also available to support students and their families.
Resources for Suicide Prevention and Intervention
Research has demonstrated many benefits associated with a regular mindfulness practice including:
Mindfulness is Not:
It’s often helpful to consider what mindfulness is not:
Mindfulness is simply being present and attuning to internal and external stimuli in that moment without placing value or judgment on those experiences. This sounds easy enough but is actually a skill that develops over time and requires practice. Below are some suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your life:
Try meditation. Happify, an organization that uses positive psychology, science, and technology to help individuals “lead happier, more fulfilling lives,” has an excellent video on their website to introduce mindfulness meditation and how to begin your practice. Often, when I introduce the idea of meditation, the response is, “I can’t sit still for that long” or “I just can’t focus my mind like that.” There are many different types of meditation, including prayer, focused breathing, guided meditation, and yoga nidra. Find one that’s right for you. It’s also important to remember that meditation is a practice, meaning that it takes time to develop and to reap the benefits.
These are a few ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. And remember, there is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness. There is only your way.
Bowen, S. et al. (2014). Relative efficacy of mindfulness-based relapse prevention, standard relapse prevention, and treatment as usual for substance use disorders: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 71 (5), 547-556.
Davidson, R.j., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rozenkrantz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S.F., … Sheridan, J.F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(4), 564-70.
Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M.S., et al. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal
Medicine, 174 (3), 357-368.
Greater Good Science Center. (2017). What is mindfulness? Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/mindfulness/definition.
Heffner, K.L., Crean, H.F., & Kemp, J.E. (2016). Meditation programs for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: Aggregate findings from a multi-site evaluation. Psychological
Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(3). 365-74.
Jacobs, I., Wollny, A., Sim, C., &
Horsch, A. (2016). Mindfulness facets, trait emotional intelligence, emotional
distress, and multiple health behaviors: A serial two-mediator model. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57, 207-14.
Kuyken, W. (2016). Efficacy of
mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in prevention of depression relapse:
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Loucks, E.B., Britton, W.B., Howe, C.J.,
Eaton, C.B., & Buka, S.L. (2015). Positive associations of dispositional
mindfulness with cardiovascular health: The new england family study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 22, 540-550.
Lutz, A., Slagter, H.A., Dunne, J.D., & Davidson, R.J. (2008). Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Science, 12 (4), 163-9.
Marchand, W.R., (2012). Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice, 18 (4), 233-52.
Mindful Schools. 2017. Research on mindfulness. Retrieved from https://www.mindfulschools.org/about-mindfulness/research/.
Modessto-Lowe, V. et al. 2015 Does mindfulness meditation improve attention in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? World Journal of Psychiatry, 5 (4), 397-403.
Morin, A. 2015. 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. Retreived from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude.
Neff, Kristen. 2017. What is self-compassion? Retrieved from http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/.
Tomfohr, L.M., Pung, M.A., Mills, P.J., & Edwards, K. (2015). Trait mindfulness is associated with blood pressure and interleukin-6: Exploring interactions among subscales of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire to better understand relationships between mindfulness and health. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 28-38.
Wagner, W. G. (2008). Counseling, psychology, and children. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Wong, S.Y. et al. (2016). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy v. group psychoeducation for people with generalized anxiety disorder: Randomized controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 209 (1), 68-75.
Bullying behaviors have received a lot of publicity in recent years, and for good reason. There have been laws passed against bullying, which can hold parents, children, and school systems accountable for a child’s aggressive acts. This is motivated by findings that repetitive aggressive actions can cause significant emotional distress, depression, trauma symptoms, and suicidal thoughts. Parents have fears that their child may be a victim or aggressor in a bullying situation and often feel ill-equipped to address the outcomes. However, parents and schools can partner to increase knowledge about bullying and lead prevention efforts in their home and school community.
An important first step in prevention is helping students understand what bullying is. Episcopal Middle School students are taught the acronym RIP to define bullying - unwanted, aggressive behavior that is Repetitive, Intentionally harmful, and involves an imbalance of Power, such as size, age, or social status. Bullying behaviors can take several forms, including:
How can we tell if a child is the victim of bullying? How do we distinguish typical adolescent “moodiness” and a desire for independence from something more serious? Below are some warning signs that your child may be experiencing bullying:
Below are some suggestions for supporting your child as he or she navigates their social world. Remember that while our older children may appear as if they have everything under control and don’t want our support, the truth is that they often are MORE in need as they get older.
friendship retreat, service learning experiences, and class field trips. In our Upper School, student vestry members speak in chapel on topics such as inclusivity and building community. Advisory lessons about choosing kindness, effective communication, and being an upstander continue in high school at a developmentally appropriate level.
Bullying is not a rite of passage and should not be viewed as a normal part of childhood. At Episcopal, we’d like to partner with parents and students to keep our school a safe and healthy community where all are welcome.
has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping pre-adolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Master’s in Health Sciences- Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor.
I remember back when I was a preteen and enjoyed using three way calling - yes, a high tech feature - to connect with multiple friends. We rode bikes to the nearest playground to hang out, and our main video game systems were Atari and then Nintendo, with two player options if your friend was right beside you. Today's preteens are finding their playground online - it's called instagram, Snapchat, twitter, and a variety of other venues. Video gaming is now digital, connecting teens all over the world. Times and interests for adolescents haven't changed but the WAY they connect has shifted. The online world available to teens brings a host of new challenges in parenting.
As an adult, I enjoy technology, browsing Pinterest and Facebook in the grocery store line or while relaxing after work. The dangers that those leisurely activities present are few. But what dangers do I worry about for our children online? As a middle school counselor, my primary concerns are the physical and emotional well being of our students. Cyberbullying, online predators, and exposure to violence and pornography can be damaging to their physical and emotional well-being.
How can we, as parents, help our children navigate their digital world safely? Here are some suggestions:
For more discussion on safety in the digital world, join the Episcopal Counseling Team for a book study of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and survive) in their Digital World by Devorah Heitner, PhD on October 19th at 10 A.M. in the Alumni House Parlor Room.
Common Sense Media- https://www.commonsensemedia.org/
Teen Safe https://www.teensafe.com/
Bailey, Tricia “Talking to Your Kids About Social Media Safety” retrieved from https://identity.utexas.edu/id-perspectives/talking-to-your-kids-about-social-media-safety
Heitner, Devorah (2016) Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. New York, NY: Bibliomotion, Inc.
Alicia Kelly has served as a School Counselor at Episcopal since 2001. As the Middle School Counselor, she has a passion for helping preadolescents reach their potential, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. Alicia holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, Masters in Health Sciences - Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified School Counselor.