Raising Awareness One Student at a Time

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

The topic of mental health has become very prominent in today’s society. People of all ages, races, and backgrounds are becoming more and more vocal about their mental health conditions and the everyday battles they are facing. The question is, how can we help those struggling around us continue to find their voice and feel comfortable to do so? How can we foster suicide prevention starting at a young age? 

A stigma has developed over the years towards mental health, causing people to feel shame towards their conditions and in return not wanting to share their challenges with others. When those challenges are not or cannot be communicated, that’s when suicidal thoughts start to creep their way in to someone’s life.

At St. John’s we believe in supporting the whole child, and that includes their social and emotional well-being. We understand that suicide prevention comes in all different forms, especially when working with such a broad age range of students. Educating students on how to express, understand, and control their own feelings is one of the main ways we do this. Instilling problem-solving skills, communication strategies, and fostering resiliency are also crucial life skills that we understand play major roles in student success. And finally, having a Christ-centered environment where unconditional love is practiced, and where students feel safe and confident to turn to the trusted adults around them. 

St. John’s families, we love our students and only want the best for them. We are taking the appropriate steps for each grade level to make sure their social-emotional well-being continues to flourish. If at any time you need a referral for outside resources or additional support, please feel free to email me at sdoyle@stjohnsorange.orgor call the school office and ask for Sara Doyle. 

Blessings, 

Miss Sara Doyle

School Counselor 

Question of the Day

2nd grade is now deep into the curriculum and the “honeymoon stage” of the first couple of weeks has worn off.  Things are starting to get busy and the pressures mount to get everything done and pack learning into the day.  While this stress may have good intentions behind it, it is important for teachers and parents alike to remember to slow down and take time for what is actually important, not just what we think is important.  For Mrs. Morner’s class, this includes spending positive moments together as a class.

Mrs. Morner has created “Question of the Day.”  It is a simple presentation filled with simple questions, but the result has been wonderful.

In addition to beginning our morning with the pledges, a devotion, and prayer, we now also open with the “Question of the Day,” which ranges from questions as common as “What is your favorite food?” and as creative as “If you were given 1,000 acres of land, what would you do with it?”  None of the questions are academic (on purpose) and it has so far allowed everyone to start the day in a relaxed way that also allows knowing each other better as a class.  It’s a period of five minutes where students can talk about their interests and use their imagination a bit.  It opens us up on a positive note and reminds us that, while the day may get busy and our work is incredibly important, spending some time together as a class is just as important and we can still make some time for the fun stuff too!

Mrs. Morner, 2nd grade

Five Bags

QOTD

COUNSELOR’S CORNER – September 2019 Edition: A Message From Miss Doyle

Teaching organizational skills from a young age

Have you ever thought about your own organizational style in comparison to your student’s? Are you more of a list person, while your child tends to have a photographic memory (at least they think they do)? Or maybe you’re more of a go-with-the-flow type of personality, while your child is more concrete with their routines? Whatever your style may be, organizational skills play a large role in our everyday lives, so starting to develop those abilities at a young age is important. 

Below you will find some helpful tips on how to foster your student’s organizational dexterities:

  1. Routines are key – Morning routines, nighttime routines, after school routines, and the list goes on. Children thrive off of routines because it allows them to feel safe and unwavering. Even though at times they may push back and want to adjust their routine, they more than likely will resort back to what they’ve been originally taught. 
  2. Sorting/Categorizing – Something so simple, but incredibly beneficial. Sorting can include anything from their toys or clothes at home, to their school papers and supplies. Sorting gives students the chance to arrange the things they use most often and take ownership of those items. A lot of the time this skill comes in the form of completing chores or organizing their school binder or locker. 
  3. Checklists – Introduce checklists early on. Keep it basic and start with a checklist that focuses on things like their nightly routine before bed or what to pack for a family vacation. And eventually when students get older, checklists can be used to help them prioritize their time with school, sports, social outings, etc. Checklists may even start to take the shape of a planner. 
  4. Letting them clean-up after themselves – This may be easier said than done sometimes, especially if you are like my mom who liked her household in a specific order.  However, something as simple as putting their clothes in a hamper, their shoes by the front door, washing their plate after dinner, or putting their toys away in their room is teaching them how to be responsible. That responsibility leads to independence and eventually the drive to complete tasks on their own without being asked.  
  5. Cook together! 🙂 Adventures in the kitchen are memories children never forget. Learning techniques like measuring ingredients, kitchen safety, making a grocery list, and healthy eating habits are essential. Organizational skills are needed in the kitchen, and what better way to teach those techniques than to have a little fun baking or meal prepping with your student 🙂

Of course, there are many more tips than just those listed above. Each household is different from the next, so find the strategies that work for you and your family. In fact, comment below about some of the organizational techniques that work for your family or even those that you have tried and didn’t work. 

COUNSELOR’S CORNER – August 2019 Edition: A MESSAGE FROM MISS DOYLE

“Life is Like a Comic”

When growing up, one of my favorite days of the year was my first day back to school after summer break. A new school year meant a clean slate, vibrant Lisa Frank folders, a pencil pouch filled with brand new gel pens, and of course a first day of school outfit that my parents needed to film from every angle.

As your student begins another school year at St. John’s, I ask you to ponder the following statement from Kid President himself, “Life is a like a comic”. Comic strips are made-up of a variety of boxes; each box telling a story connected to the box that comes before it and follows after it. And, just like I am asking your student(s) this week, let me ask you, what does your comic look like? Who are the main characters in your story? How do those people affect your life and how do you affect theirs? What conversations are being had from one word bubble to another? Are you taking bold chances in your comic or letting those courageous moments pass you by?

As the 2019-2020 school year begins, I encourage you to hold tight to our theme verse from Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” The beginning of the year can be a mix of emotions, but the Lord has placed your family at St. John’s for a reason and at the right time. Hold tight, stay strong, take bold chances with God at the center of your story and teach your student to do the same.

As your student continues to write their own comic, and as you continue to write your own as well, know that the faculty and staff at St. John’s are here to play an important role in your story. That may be the role of teacher, coach, administrator, pastor, nurse, and the list goes on. No matter the role we may play in your story, know we are here to support your student and your family.

So, remember, “Life is like a comic”. May God bless each piece of your comic strip as your own story continues to be written, and as your student’s story continues to be written as well.

Kid President + Peanuts | Life is like a comic-  https://youtu.be/u5vClAseXBk

Blessings on the school year ahead,

Sara Doyle

St. John’s School Counselor

School Counselor – At the Heart of Student Success!

Over the past few months, it has become clear that God is leading St. John’s to hire a full-time school counselor. St. John’s is creating a full-time counseling position, which Miss Sara Doyle will fill for the 2019-2020 school year! This position will impact our students in the most positive way possible and support students and teachers academically, socially and emotionally.
 
Miss Doyle will start her full-time counseling role in August when the new school year begins. She will oversee all student counseling needs (social, emotional and academic) as well as other pieces that fit with the role of a school counselor. Her focus will be to work with families, classroom teachers, resource teachers and school administration for the total success of student learning outcomes. 
 
We are confident having a full-time school counselor on the St. John’s campus will further enhance our record of exceptional learning with a foundation of strong Christian faith. Everyone at St. John’s wants what’s best for students and families, and we are excited to include this expanded role in our extensive offerings of support to your family! We are thankful to our school families and church members who support us each and every day, to carry out the good work of Christ-centered education.