THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM
AUGUST 2015 路 THESAVVYMOMS.COM
*STUDY TIPS PAGE 34
Back to School ! COPING WITH ANIEXTY | TECH TRENDS | THE BEST BACKPACKS
PLUS...MOMS IN THE CLASSROOM & HEALTHY SNACKS
ASMSA is your opportunity to be
As a high school junior, you can attend one of the nation’s top public schools right here in Arkansas. In 2013, Newsweek ranked ASMSA as No. 13 in the nation on its “America’s Best High Schools” list. The Daily Beast in 2014 placed ASMSA No. 10 in its “America’s Top High Schools” rankings. The Washington Post named ASMSA to its 2015 “Public Elites” list, which
recognizes 25 of the nation’s highestperforming high schools. With more than 60 college courses, opportunities to conduct scientific research and the chance to study abroad, ASMSA offers experiences you can’t find at any other high school in Arkansas. Be a researcher. Be an artist. Be a scholar. Visit ASMSA in person or online to learn how you can become extraordinary.
Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts
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Discover who you can become at asmsa.org. #ASMSA
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AUGUST ON THE COVER: DR. PATRYCJA KRAKOWIAK AND HER DAUGHTERS TERESA, ANNA AND KRYSTYNA CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS IN HER CLASSROOM AT THE ARKANSAS SCHOOL FOR MATHEMATICS, SCIENCES AND THE ARTS. PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY DARRAGH.
21 ROOM MOMS
THESE ARKANSAS TEACHERS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE CLASSROOM AND BEYOND
In Every Issue
6 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 34 HAPPENINGS 38 MOMSPEAK: KAREN SHARP HALBERT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LILY DARRAGH
*Elementary school teacher Rachel Racop and baby Cooper.
TURN TEARS INTO CHEERS
CHECK IT OFF PLUGGED IN PACK IT UP CARRY THAT WEIGHT
26 Nosh AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL LOCAL LUNCH
34 CULTIVATE PLAN YOUR WORK, WORK YOUR PLAN OFF TO A SMOOTH START
Future corporate CEOs in training. High quality child care provides the basis for skills needed for a lifetime. Before you make a child care decision, visit the programs that seem best suited to you. Use our online Child Care Checklist to see how they compare and how well they meet your needs.
Find a quality child care provider that will help prepare your child for learning and success.
www.ARBetterBeginnings.com â€˘ 1-800-445-3316 Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education
LETTER FROM THE
Working on this back to school issue, all I’ve been able to think about is elementary school. I remember mom or dad walking me to my classroom door in the morning at Ida Burns in Conway, and my grandmother, who lived a couple of blocks away, waiting for me after school so we could walk back to her house…for snacks and cartoons, of course. I remember getting new sneakers that I was forbidden to wear before school began, because given half a chance I would ruin them playing in the creek and looking for frogs and tadpoles with the other kids in the neighborhood. And that picture-day outfit that had to wait until picture day to be worn (Did I mention my propensity for being a messy child?). I remember going shopping for school supplies and carefully selecting the colors and Lisa Frank themes for my notebooks and folders, and begging for the cool, newly popular mechanical pencils over those boring old regular pencils (although today, you won’t find me with anything but a proper #2). Had to have the big box of crayons with the sharpener in the box. Binders had to have the sleeve on the cover to put pictures in, and the Trapper Keeper had to have all the features. And wide-ruled paper, never college-ruled. How could I possibly write in big bubbly letters in those narrow lines? It should come as no surprise that I have a remarkable addiction to office supplies as an adult, and therefore love it when the stores start rolling out the big back to school displays. This issue is all about going back to school. Most of you will be getting prepared as of press day, and we’ve included a checklist to help you cover all of your bases while getting the kids back into school mode. Another favorite school accessory, the backpack gets the spotlight with five of our favorite new styles. And we’ve also got some backpack safety tips as well. In “Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan,” you’ll find great guidance for establishing a system for study time and homework. If your kids are starting to fret the first day back, be sure and check out “From Tears to Cheers” for ways to help them overcome back to school fears and anxiety. In our Nosh department, you’ll find recipes for easy and healthy after-school snacks, as well as insight into the farm to school program that’s taking off around the state. And last, but certainly not least, we have two fabulous teacher moms who I cannot wait for you to read about. Dr. Patrycja Krakowiak teaches a range of science and biology classes at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, and Rachel Racop is channeling her love of children into helping them learn and build bright futures for themselves. Reading about how they balance the kids at school with the kids at home is truly inspiring, and they both offer some great advice as to how we can all be a little more organized. Best wishes for an awesome school year!
Mel Jones Editor, Savvy @SavvyAR
AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SARA REEVES
Flexible teaching approach, individual attention makes a big difference for central Arkansas family For as long as he can remember, Bentley Mitchell has had a difficult time in the brick-and-mortar school setting. Diagnosed with dyslexia, language arts were especially problematic, although not severe enough to qualify him for special education help in his local public school. By the time he reached middle school two years ago, his mother Dawn knew it was time to try an alternative. “Brick and mortar schools are not set up for every child’s learning style,” she says. “Bentley needed extra time and attention, particularly in reading and grammar, time that public school teachers generally aren’t given to spend with the students that need extra help.” The Arkansas Virtual Academy (ARVA) proved to be the answer the Mitchell family was looking for, providing one-on-one attention and balancing structured goals with flexibility in content delivery according to individual learning types. This combination helped Bentley make strides even in his most challenging subjects. “We did a lot of work that first year on language arts and improving Bentley’s writing skills,” Dawn says. “What helped the most, I think, was the individual instruction plan that helped suit his style of learning. “For instance, we figured out along the way he was able to accomplish more in composition later in the day as opposed to earlier in the day. Children learn in a variety of ways and
the Academy makes it easier to accommodate that than in a classroom.” Unlike homeschooling, the Arkansas Virtual Academy is a publicly funded online charter school that provides families and students with a complete set of curriculum, lesson-planning programs, books and instructional materials, the use of a computer and subsidized Internet access for qualifying students, and the guidance of a highly qualified, licensed teacher. Everything needed for an exceptional education is provided to students who participate in ARVA. Dawn was so impressed with ARVA’s methodology and the positive results Bentley achieved she became an Engagement Coach for the school, providing additional support to students and families who are new to the Academy’s program. Through this role, she’s seen how ARVA is equally effective with students of all academic abilities. “Even if a student is gifted or just really excels in their studies where things come more easily, the online school is very good for them, too,” she says. “Many of the online studies have extra resources at the end where students can explore topics indepth, rather than just breeze through them. They can really be challenged in their area of interest.”
For more information about Arkansas Virtual Academy and how it can help your family meet your student’s unique learning needs, visit online at ARVA.k12.com, like on Facebook at ArkansasVirtualAcademy or call 866-339-4951. advertorial
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CONNECT a rain shutoff device to avoid watering
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at s i g n i k c o h s g somethin very o c s i d f o m u e the mus
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500 President Clinton Ave, Ste 150
Little Rock, AR 72201
contributors AUGUST 2015
is a writer and public relations practitioner in Little Rock. She owns Flywrite Communications, Inc., a public relations agency, and is the PR director for Mass Enthusiasm, a full-service marketing communications firm in Little Rock.
is a writer and editor living in Little Rock. He and his wife Darlene are the parents of four grown children. The empty-nesters spend their time traveling, working out and spoiling their two dogs.
A SCHOOL AND A THERAPY CLINIC A place where children with developmental disabilities and learning differences can grow and develop in an environment tailored to meet their unique needs.
is a photographer in Little Rock. She Studied photography at Parsons the New School of Design in New York. Currently working out of a photography studio in downtown Little Rock, Lily loves to shoot people and places unique to Arkansas.
is a photographer in Little Rock. He says, “I enjoy photographing people who are not in front of the camera everyday. Most people find the prospect of having their portrait taken somewhat stressful, and a good portion of what I do is to make some sort of connection with a subject and hope they forget that there is a camera between us. If I can make them laugh and enjoy the experience, I know that I have done my job, and good things will come of it.”
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I AM THE AEA
BR I A N CHIL SO N
ducators in Arkansas are some of the most dedicated professionals you will find in any industry. In an era where people change jobs every two years, the teachers, administrators and education support professionals in the Arkansas Education Association are committing decades of their careers to educating Arkansas students. An example of this dedication is Frank Shaw in Forrest City. An educator for 30 years, Frank is entering his 31st as mathematics instructor for the Forrest City Mustangs, teaching courses ranging from Algebra I to Advanced Placement Statistics. “My primary duties are to impart knowledge of mathematics as a language and conceptually as a means to resolve real world problems,” Frank said. “My students are posed with a challenge when they encounter math problems, and it gives them an opportunity to persevere and succeed. If they can do that in the classroom, they can do it in their daily lives. That’s why I think math is so important to their education.” Frank has worked for 28 years in the Forrest City School District, and today, he works at Forrest City High School. Over the course of his career, he has faced the same challenges for which he is preparing his students. “Every day is not the same, and as a professional, each day’s challenges require me to draw on past experiences and be innovative in harnessing those experiences to make them relevant to 21st century education,” Frank said. “There has been consistent change in the classroom since the mid-1980s when I began teaching, and educators have to keep up with those changes to serve our students well.” Frank credits the Arkansas Education Association with helping him and other educators navigate these changes. “I have been a member of AEA for 30 years,” he said. He also serves as the chair of the Forrest City High School mathematics department, a member of the Forrest City High School leadership team to address school improvement issues, and is on the Arkansas Department of Education Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee working to be a
voice for classroom professionals throughout the state. “Being an educator in today’s climate is not only a calling but requires one to put on the full plate of professional armor. Through our professional development opportunities, teacher-to-teacher trainings, UniServ workshops and National Education Association support, the AEA stands in the right place to sustain the professional educator and education support professional as we navigate through the political, social and economic waters of what we call public education today.” The Arkansas Education Association advocates for education professionals and unites members to fulfill the promise of public education. The AEA prepares every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world, and its members are the voice of education professionals in Arkansas. Members are teachers, education support professionals, students, retirees and supporters who share the AEA’s vision and values of professionalism, opportunity, justice and action. As the past president and current treasurer of the Forrest City Education Association, Frank is committed to helping everyone in the educational community get the best possible experience to set the stage for the next generation of learners. “If you want to be informed, prepared and respected, join the educator’s professional organization,” he said. “Join the Arkansas Department of Education.”
1500 W. 4th St. Little Rock 501.375.4611 aeaonline.org
NEST PARENTING | FAMILY
TURN TEARS INTO CHEERS HELP YOUR CHILDREN CONQUER THEIR BACK-TO-SCHOOL ANXIETY B Y D R. A D A M H. B E N TO N & D R. M A R Y E K D A H L
As the end of summer draws near, some children wait with excitement, some with dread and others with fear for what the new school year will bring. Mild apprehension and back to school jitters are a common struggle for children. Here are some tips to help reduce anxiety, in hopes of turning tears to cheers as you approach the first week of school. ON YOUR MARK! Get your home and your family life school-ready. Structure and routine provide children with the predictability that promotes emotional security and close family bonds. It is the “backbone” for your child’s life. With this framework in place, children feel free to share their struggles with parents and are able to give more emotional and mental effort to the challenges they face day-to-day. The start of the school year is a great opportunity to develop new, healthy routines, or just reign in some summer habits that need to draw to a close. Here are few routines that promote close family bonds, physical health and psychological well being. Make the most of family mealtimes: Use home mealtimes and family outings as opportunities to teach skills including how to make balanced and healthy food choices important for healthy brain development. Mealtimes are also great opportunities to build close family bonds that protect against the adversity of life. Research shows that the more frequently children have regular mealtimes with their families, the lower their rates of teen pregnancy and drug use, and the better their performance in school. Make getting enough sleep a priority: School-aged children should get 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. A lack of sleep can negatively affect a child’s mood,
12 AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
behavior and physical health. Set a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine, and then stick with it. To ease the transition, begin taking time to unwind as a family before your children’s bedtime. Read a book together or just discuss the day. It will foster closer family bonds and help children sleep easier at night. Older students, who stay up late through the summer, may need a week to get their sleep schedule back on track. So, don’t wait until the night before. Be reasonable about extra-curriculars: Sometimes children, as well as parents, become overwhelmed from over-committing themselves. Deciding on after school activities and routines together can help children become mindful of their priorities and stressors. It can help them learn to keep a balanced life, and will help reduce your stress, too. So, sit down together before school starts this year to discuss activities, goals and priorities. GET SET! Get everyone in the right frame of mind by setting positive expectations and by preparing your child for the year ahead. Expectations: You can help shape your child’s attitude about school by building positive expectations and attitudes. It starts with your attitude about education. If a parent reflects an attitude that school is a necessary evil (school is an unpleasant, boring or otherwise negative experience), then children are likely to absorb that mindset. If you were not a big fan of school as a child, be sure to watch your language. Use pro-school language like, “Wow, you get to go back to school soon!” rather than, “ You have to go back to school soon.” Build excitement about new teachers, friends and activities that you know they’ll take part in this year, and share their
excitement when they talk about social and academic accomplishments through out the year. Preparation: A major part of many anxiety problems is feeling unprepared. Practice and a sense of control can help alleviate this problem. It often helps to tour the school, see their new classroom and meet their new teacher before the year begins. You might build on this concept by taking a friend with them on the tour. Then they’ll share the excitement, feel more prepared and in control. You can also have get-togethers with school friends to build your child’s excitement about reconnecting with old friends, or take a “field trip” to the school playground before the big day. Take a friend, a ball, some lunch and spend time playing at the school for a couple of hours. Have fun and enjoy watching your child’s anxiety melt away.
consider making the first week of school a celebration. Make special breakfasts before school and do something special after school to celebrate, like a special meal, dessert or activity that makes the start to a new school year fun and bonding for the family. Traditions like this make great memories and detract from the anxiety of change. Clearing the hurdles: Most children adjust to a new school year successfully after a couple of weeks, even when they start the new year with some anxiety, but some children need more help. Signs of severe school anxiety may include regular crying before school, refusal to attend, and acting out or in other ways attempting to avoid school, that persist beyond the first couple of weeks. Anxiety and school avoidance are treatable, so don’t hesitate to seek support from a psychologist or other mental health professional who specializes in working with children and teens. The earlier they receive treatment the better. In short, if your child is anxious about school this year, start preparing now! Don’t wait until the first day. If you feel you’re having trouble finding a balance that works for your family or that your child’s anxiety is becoming unmanageable, ask a professional for more advice. Have a great school year!
USE PRO-SCHOOL LANGUAGE LIKE, “WOW, YOU GET TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL SOON!”
GO! To begin the school year on the right foot, celebrate the start of the school year and set goals for the year ahead. If your child is really struggling, then you’ve got to help them overcome the anxiety or dislike of school. It is okay to use incentives to help children reach goals or to do things that seem scary or overwhelming. Many children will work hard for even small rewards, like stickers. Don’t hesitate to use whatever will motivate your child. You might
Dr. Benton is a child psychologist and Co-founder of Arkansas Families First, LLC, and the current president of Arkansas Psychological Association. He specializes in psychotherapy and psychological testing to address an array of childhood, adolescent, and family problems. He has specialized training in child traumatic stress, anxiety and maltreatment related issues. Dr. Ekdahl is a child psychologist co-founder of Arkansas Families First, LLC. She has over 20 years experience in providing behavioral therapy and psychological evaluations for children and adolescents in outpatient settings. Dr. Ekdahl specializes in the treatment and evaluation of children and adolescents, with a strong emphasis on providing parents with the tools they need to assist and advocate for their child.
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THRIVE CHECK IT OFF FASHION | LIFESTYLE | HEALTH
School starts in a little more than two weeks for most of us. Calm the chaos and make the transition back to the classroom go a little smoother with our handy checklist
Two Weeks Before School Starts
Even though it’s still super hot out, now’s the time to start planning for fall. Take stock of closets and organize everything that can be worn to school now, and make a list of what to shop for as the temperatures begin to fall. Now is also the time to get that back-to-school haircut. Go shopping for school supplies. Buy extras of items that will need frequent replenishing. Create a system for organizing and storing papers. Update the family calendar. Plan your routines for morning, afternoon and evening. Include schedules for going to bed and getting up in the morning, as well as time for homework, extracurricular activities, recreation and more.
One Week Before School Starts
Make menu plans for the first week or two and streamline meal prep for breakfast and dinner. If your child will be taking their lunch to school, plan meals and shop for packable food and drinks. Create a designated area for homework, and stock it with all the essential supplies. Having a dedicated workspace will help kids stay organized and on task. Talk about the upcoming school year. See what fears your child may have, such as starting a new school or worries about making friends.
The Day Before School Starts
Lay out clothes for smaller children. Help older kids chose their first-day outfit.
Make sure school supplies and other essentials are organized in backpacks. Prepare and pack lunches. Set an extra early bedtime—excited kids might have a hard time falling asleep! Make sure digital cameras are charged for that first day photo shoot! 14 AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
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Patients rank our program number 1 out of over 100 residential programs! RIVENDELL offers a free, confidential mobile assessment statewide at the request of parents, school counselors, and other referring professionals. Our team consists of licensed clinicians and trained assessors available from 8-5 Monday through Friday to meet on campus or at a local office or clinic upon parent consent. Our 24/7 Assessment and Referral Department (A&R) located at the hospital can arrange the mobile assessment for you. Simply call 1-800-264-5640 or 501-3161255 and ask to speak with A&R. From there we will have a representative call to schedule the meeting place and time. In emergencies, our doors are always open! Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We understand that crises aren’t planned, and we have the professional support on standby to help.
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PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT
Computers are an essential tool for students at Central High School.
Large or small, Central Arkansas school systems are going high tech B Y D WA I N H E B D A
There was a time when the height of school technology was the latest Trapper Keeper and a pen that wrote in five different colors. Not so anymore. Today, students as young as preschool are learning on laptops buttressed by an endless array of learning software. Study groups are linked by the cloud, parents are downloading forms and even entire administrations are operating without paper. And it’s all happening in schools large and small right here in central Arkansas. “The whole idea is—and I had this conversation with a teacher from another district who had issues about using technology—there’s a time you use pencils, there’s a time you use chalk on a blackboard and there’s a time you use vocal teaching. Students in this technological world have to be able to use technology to succeed,” says Debbie Miller, director of instructional services for the Conway School District. “The point I make to students is, nobody in the world today would hand in a handwritten resume or cover letter or hand-write a presentation to a group of leaders. That’s not the world we live in and what education is about is providing tools for students to practice the types of things they’ll have to do in the real world.” Some of the technology Conway employs in the classroom includes Chromebooks in core classrooms as well as specialty learning areas. Even more
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impressive, the administration runs without paper. Miller said this sets an example for teachers to follow and is in step with parents in the workplace. “We do all policies, meeting agendas, everything is paperless. Even the student handbook is all online now,” she says. “We’ve made a concentrated, substantial investment in technology and we offset that cost by the way we change our practices. We don’t have this technology and then still make copies.” The Little Rock School District supports a similarly robust set of technological tools, including the aforementioned Chromebooks as well as iPads and a variety of software to allow students the broadest array of educational resources. “We’re starting to teach classes differently,” says Travis Taylor, instructional technology specialist. “Kids are not only able to take classes the way they normally do, but we also offer them some online attributes, such as turning in homework, and that introduces them to the concept of learning online. In the next couple of years, that should really become the way it’s done.” Taylor says blended learning—traditional classroom instruction accentuated by online resources and linked by technology—is not only an effective way to master content, but is in and of itself teaching important life skills. “These skills, particularly when you start looking at devices and working on the web, are what’s taking place in the business world,” he says. “There’s a collaborative piece that goes along with this and that’s what a lot of businesses are really looking for. They’re looking for employees who can come in and work
on a team, collaborate, share ideas and problem solve. And not necessarily in the same room with each other either, but often by working remotely while using these tools to collaborate and solve problems.” Technology also plays a big role in security and parent communication, Taylor says. The district uses a program called Blackboard that notifies parents of school closings or emergency situations. “That’s a great communications tool; we’ve been using that for several years now with a lot of success,” he says. “Parents don’t consider it an intrusion. They’ve responded that they like it because they can hear about things on a moment’s notice.” Students attending larger public school districts aren’t the only ones to benefit from these trends. Technology is being utilized to an equal if not greater degree in the state’s Catholic schools as well. “It’s a competitive advantage, but what our schools really look at is how (technology) will enhance the curriculum,” says Vernell Bowen, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Little Rock. “It’s really all about how we’re going to use this and how we’re going to enhance the curriculum if we use this.” Parochial schools haven’t let being smaller hold them back technologically. In fact some schools, most notably St. Joseph School in Conway, have been even more aggressive in implementing technology than their public peers. St. Joseph was not only the area vanguard for putting laptops, iPads and Chromebooks in every classroom, but also rolled out a “bring your own device” (BYOD) program enabling students to use their own technology at school. The Google Apps school is entirely wireless and in August will open its own cyber café on campus. The diocese also rolled out a pilot program two years ago to harness technology as a means of reclaiming snow days, therefore keeping the school year on track. During the pilot, parochial schools from Pocahontas to Fort
iPads provide a new dimension to learning for elementary school kids.
Smith to Little Rock helped students stay connected on days the weather didn’t cooperate. One kindergarten teacher even did a webcast so her class didn’t miss the regular daily story time. “When you have to add days at the end of the year, that’s not the height of your academic time,” Bowen says. “We wanted to help meet those needs and keep academics going during prime time for students. (Teachers) found the pilot program to be a very effective way to reach the students during those days because most students have access to technology. And, parents in general are very happy with it.”
GIVE YOUR KIDS
SOMETHING TO DO BESIDES “LIKE” AND “FOLLOW.”
Swimming, hiking, kayaking, playing, just being kids … there’s plenty to do in Arkansas’s state parks. Make plans to connect them with nature and a world of outdoor adventures today.
ArkansasStateParks.com My park, your park, our parks Pinnacle Mountain State Park
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE
PACK IT UP
OUR Five fave backpacks have style and storage 1. This classic daypack by Topo Designs is
handmade in Colorado using extremely durable Cordura on the outside, and coated pack cloth on the inside for a fully lined interior compartment. Although it’s tall and slim, the daypack has room for all the essentials, and then some, thanks to zippered and open interior pockets, plus a laptop sleeve, as well as an exterior pocket. Available at Domestic Domestic in Little Rock.
2. Target’s Embark jar-top backpack is made of recycled content, and offers a myriad of storage and organization features. The opening makes it easy to access books, and the interior laptop sleeve accommodates up to a 17-inch laptop. On the outside, a large zippered compartment in the front is ideal for storing frequently used items, and a mesh pocket and zippered pocket on either side of the backpack is just right for storing keys, cell phones and more. 3. Look at that face! The Scout Doggy wet backpack from Nikiani is positively adorable— and perfect for the little ones. With a BPA-free impermeable lining, this backpack stands up to spills and is machine washable. Adjustable, detachable straps make it easy to customize a perfect fit, and a zippered top keeps everything safe inside. It can even be monogramed. Available at The Full Moon in Little Rock. 4. For the fully plugged-in student, Jansport’s Digital
Student backpack is the answer to keeping all those gadgets organized. The removable 15inch laptop sleeve fits into a dedicated laptop compartment, and a separate dynamic electronics organizer includes a tablet sleeve and stretch-fit pockets. In addition to two large main compartments, there is also a dedicated external cord storage pocket. Ergonomic S-curve shoulder straps and a fully padded back panel are designed for all-day comfort. Jansport backpacks are available at retailers statewide. Visit jansport.com to find a store near you.
5. Topo Design’s Rover Pack is lightweight, durable and all about organization. Two exterior zipper pockets give quick access to smaller items, an inner laptop sleeve keeps computers secure and two side pockets can be cinched tight to keep gadgets and keys safe. Handmade in Colorado, the base is made of rugged Cordura, while the upper is water-resistant pack cloth—meaning it can take anything your teen throws at it. Available at Domestic Domestic. 18 AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
Add a monogram and make it their own!
CARRY THAT WEIGHT E-books helping, but backpack loads still a strain B Y D WA I N H E B D A
Talk about your heavy class load: Backpacks are an uncomfortable fact of life for many youngsters. Even as e-books have improved the situation, many strained packs still cause discomfort or sometimes worse. “Carrying heavy backpacks at school is a reality for our children,” says Dr. Jason A. Smith, orthopedic spine surgeon with Arkansas Bone and Joint and Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton. “The problem may be decreasing as children begin to utilize digital textbooks, but since the use of digital textbooks is not yet universal, it remains an ongoing, potentially long-term problem for many children.” Smith says problems tend to first appear in middle school when textbooks’ increasing heft outpaces students’ muscular-skeletal development. This can lead to acute and sometimes chronic low back pain, shoulder pain or neck pain. Long-term structural issues are rare. “There have been studies that show some change in the shape of the discs of patients carrying fairly heavy loads in backpacks,” Smith says. “But there have not been any studies that show permanent change in the shape of discs as a result of backpack loads.” Suggested remedies for the strain of over-packed book bags are relatively simple. For children who experience persistent discomfort, Smith says physicians may recommend something as simple as age-appropriate back muscle-strengthening exercises. More often, it comes down to using one’s backpack appropriately. “An important factor in reducing pain (from) carrying backpacks is to strongly encourage them to carry backpacks as designed,” Smith says. “That is, backpacks should be worn across both shoulders at all times, never on one shoulder only. “Some arbitrary weight limits have been recommended, which make some sense, such as limiting the weight of the backpack to no more than 10 to 15 percent of the weight of the child.” Beyond that, students are somewhat at the mercy of school systems, the books they choose and the amount of homework assigned across multiple subjects. But even here, Smith says parents are not without options. “Schools are typically responsive to parents’ complaints and, especially with the assistance of a medical provider, may be willing to provide a second set of textbooks to be kept at home, so the child doesn’t have to carry all books back and forth to school,” Smith says. “This should be rarely required. “In the case of severe pain that persists for more than a couple of months, or in the face of other red flags such as fever, night sweats or weight loss, further diagnostic studies or referral to a more specialized level of care, such as a spine specialist, is appropriate. At that point, it is important to rule out other, more ominous causes for back pain.”
all about back-to-school preparation
Soon the kids will be back at school so it’s important to get your children prepared for learning, including getting their school physicals and immunizations. “As summer break comes to an end, we want to make sure our children are healthy and ready to learn,” said Senthil Raghavan, M.D., a family medicine specialist at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). For a seamless transition, take the proper steps now. Make a list of the things your kids will need, whether it’s classroom-related or health-related. Here are a few things to remember: • Supplies. Children need the essentials for learning, including paper, pencils, notebooks, folders and pads. • Immunizations. There are several immunizations children ages 7-18 are recommended to receive. With so many different ones, it’s best to talk to your family doctor to make sure your child is up to date. • School Physicals. A yearly back-to-school checkup is always a good idea, and if your kids are involved in sports, physicals are required. Schools are where our kids gain knowledge that will lead them through the rest of their life, so it’s best that we do all we can to prepare them for the journey.
For an appointment, call 501-686-8000 UAMShealth.com/centerforprimarycare THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015 Savvy Kids August.indd 1
7/9/15 1:21 PM
Never leave your baby’s side. Even when you have to. When your baby needs neonatal care, he is in the best hands at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. But we know you still want to be at his side every moment. With the new NicView technology at ACH, you don’t have to miss a minute! A camera mounted on your baby’s bassinet will capture every precious moment and live stream it to your desktop computer or phone. You remain connected to your newborn even if you have to be miles away. Learn more about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and why we are the only level IV NICU in the state at archildrens.org.
Get your FREE New Parent Planner at archildrens.org/NewParentPlanner
501-228-0063 • WWW.ICM-INC.ORG.
20 AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
We are a nonprofit organization, providing home & communitybased supports to individuals with disabilities across Arkansas. We also offer a day-support program called BRAVO, that includes activities to help build strong independent citizens who contribute to society & their communities. We recently opened two retail stores, Biscuits & Bamboo, and are giving some of our clients the opportunity to work in the stores with paid internships. Check our website or call us for more information.
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Dr. patrycja krakowiak (left) of the arkansas school for mathematics, sciences and the arts, and rachel racop of roberts elementary school. BY KD REEP
P H OTO G R A P H Y B Y L I LY D A R R A G H
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
Dr. Patrycja Krakowiak and her daughters Krystyna, Anna and Teresa evaluate an experiment.
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The Art & Science of Balance For this mom, scientist and teacher, a little planning and organization go a long way to create a happy home and classroom
Patrycja Krakowiak, Ph.D., is an example of how to have it all and keep it balanced. Born in Poland, Dr. Krakowiak moved to the United States when she was just 11-years-old and has been a U.S. citizen for almost 20 years. As an educator at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs, she instructs classes in advanced biology, anatomy and physiology, genetics and molecular biology, but that’s just the beginning. She also teaches Arkansas biology teachers at ASMSA in collaboration with the Learning Institute during quarterly workshops that focus on curriculum, pedagogy and hands-on laboratory reviews. Every year, she mentors at least five science fair students as they conduct molecular biology, educational or public health research. Patrycja does all of this while also keeping up with her husband, Martin Valdivia, who is originally from Peru, and their three daughters Teresa, 17; Krystyna, 13; and Anna, 6. “There are no miracles or superpowers when it comes to balancing work and family for a woman,” she says. “When some of us seem to have it all together, it is due to hard work, planning, prioritizing and often getting help. When my children were very little, I had to rely on others for help. My wonderful husband and I are a team, and we constantly help each other to accomplish what needs to be done. My amazing mother-in-law, Rosa, moved in with us for nearly five years to help with our first two daughters, and that allowed me to be the best research scientist and mom at the same time. But once she had to leave for health reasons, I felt pulled in too many directions. I learned to prioritize, and now, we have a family Google calendar. I try to maximize my lunch break and sometimes eat with my girls at their school, I let the laundry sit while we play video games or play tennis as a family, and each girl picks one— only one— extracurricular activity per semester. All of this makes things much more manageable and enjoyable.” Initially trained as a research scientist, Patrycja completed a bachelor of science in chemistry with an emphasis in molecular biology, a Ph.D. in human genetics, and a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She then worked at Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute as an assistant professor for three years studying genetic and environmental causes of birth defects. She says she felt most fulfilled when she was teaching students in the laboratory during the summer, showing them how to set up and carry out experiments. “When an opportunity to become a full-time teacher presented itself, I felt drawn to pursue that path, which I have always felt very passionate about,” Patrycja says. “Ever since I made this decision, I have been able to not only truly savor the fruits of my labors because I feel I make a lasting impact on student learning, but I also have been able to enjoy time with and participate in my girls’ growing up.”
Patrycja and her husband had their first daughter while she was writing her doctoral thesis so she was always a mother and professional simultaneously; however, she felt she wasn’t spending enough time with her family even while exhilarated as a research scientist. “Though there are many challenges to being a teacher, like a lower salary, less recognition, way too much grading, it does allow me to spend more time with my family, especially during breaks when my kids and I are out of school,” she says. “As far back as I can remember I always knew I wanted to go to college and become a scientist. It was partly because my parents are both chemists and partly because science—especially molecular biology—fascinated me and was my most challenging subject. When I became a research specialist, I was very young, and my daughters were just toddlers. The stress of trying to be the best at both professional and personal life was so intense that I started to develop a physical illness. With time, I realized I simply needed to develop razor-sharp focus and fully concentrate on a given task. So, when I was at home, the computer and grading would have to wait until my kids were sleeping; when I was at work, I would try to finish as much grading and classroom preparation as possible. Though multi-tasking is absolutely critical for a mom to survive, I used this tool on simpler tasks like cooking while also helping with homework.” Patrycja thinks the key to balancing all aspects of life includes involving everyone involved. She not only prepares backpacks and closets at her home; she also prepares her daughters’ minds and bodies. “This summer, we have been devoting about an hour each day to continuing to learn Spanish, and for our two oldest daughters, we have been preparing for the ACT exam. I feel that my girls learn primarily by example, and if I am frazzled and agitated, they will also be this way. I want them to learn to be patient, calm and kind so I plan my life accordingly. No eating on the run or screaming for everyone to be in the car 10 minutes ago,” she says. “I know it sounds almost impossible, and I do have rare moments when I just barely hang on and things fall apart. However, I have done several things to make our life as a family easier: We enlisted our oldest daughters to cook one night each week, we do laundry once a week (yes, you have to buy plenty of socks, but it’s worth it), we plan our meals a week ahead and use an app to make grocery lists, and we play/ exercise together at least three times each week, which helps us de-stress in a fun and healthy way.” This overall approach to her life allows Patrycja to enjoy each aspect to the fullest and set an example for both her family and students. “The greatest thing about being an educator and a mom is that, in both cases, I feel I make a lasting and critical impact on young people,” she says. “I constantly re-evaluate my behavior to make sure it is consistent with what I am trying to teach, both at school and at home. I am intimately tied to my children and students by a bond of learning.” THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
Baby Cooper explores mom Rachelâ€™s bright and fun classroom at Roberts Elementary.
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Riches & Rewards MOM FUNNELS LOVE OF CHILDREN TO CAREER IN TEACHING
If, like Oscar Wilde says, ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot, but in the soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you, then Rachel Racop has riches to spare. Mother to Cooper, wife to Ryan, wrangler to Fenway the chocolate Labrador retriever and educator to fourth-grade students at Roberts Elementary in the Little Rock School District, Rachel has many roles she has to fulfill throughout her day, but she takes them in stride. “Ever since I was little, I would play school with my younger brother,” she says. “I was always the teacher. I’ve always loved helping others, and I’ve had an especially strong passion for children. Children are the future, and I believe that I can make a difference in their lives. Education is so important, and I want to make sure the future generation is well-prepared for the real world.” Having worked for the Little Rock School District as a teacher for four years, Rachel takes a one-thing-at-a-time approach to managing all of her roles effectively throughout each day. “Now that I am a mom, I have to balance work and family,” she says. “It can be a little difficult at times, especially when you are going on little sleep. I can’t just get up and go do things that I want to get done. There’s a schedule that I have to stick to so that things will run smoothly at home. During the day, I focus all my time on my students. I want the school day to be beneficial for them. On nights and weekends, my focus is all for my family. We like to go to the lake together to relax and hang out in the water.” While not every career leaves a legacy for those it serves, teachers have a lasting impact on their students, and it is crucial students know their instructors value and respect them. For Rachel, seeing the progress her students make is her biggest return. “The most rewarding aspect of being an educator would have to be when I see my students succeed,” she says. “There are so many hardships and hurdles that kids go through. When I see them putting forth the effort, never giving up and then succeeding, it makes me so proud.”
She finds the same rewards in her family, too. “The most rewarding aspect of being a mom is the joy Cooper brings in my life. Watching him grow and reach milestones gives me such happiness,” Rachel says. “Being a wife, mom and professional can be difficult to juggle at times, but time management is the key. Work is very time consuming, but it’s important to set aside time for everyone in your family. I work hard during the day so that I can spend time with my family when I get home. My husband and I like to go out on dates. We spend time as a family doing everyday things like going to the grocery store, out to eat or just staying at home together enjoying each other’s company. One of our favorite things to do with Cooper is getting him ready for bed. It’s the little things in life that make us happy.” For moms who are preparing to go back to school, there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best edge for the day. First, arrive early—a half hour or more before the bell rings—so you can get a handle on your day, tie up loose ends and take a breath. Next, don’t expend all your energy at work. While there are always assignments to grade or emails to send to parents, make sure to save time and energy for your family when you go home. Speaking of emailing parents, another tip to make a teaching mom’s life a little easier to manage is to communicate as much as possible with the parents of your students. The more you tell parents about what your class is doing, your goals for students and how things are progressing, the more they will get behind you and participate in their child’s education. Of course, extra supplies—pencils, paper, erasers, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, bandages—will always save the day. “Keeping children on a schedule is really important, too, especially when they go back to school,” Rachel says. “It will be an easier transition for them when they go from a summer schedule to a school schedule.” While Rachel prepares to go back to school herself, she keeps close the goal of her profession. “Teachers genuinely care about their students,” she says. “We want them to succeed. That’s why we became teachers.”
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
NOSH COOKING | DINING | NUTRITION
These healthy, make-ahead snacks will give kids an afternoon boost before diving into their homework BY MEL JONES
FRUIT & YOGURT POPSICLES ARE A PERFECT WAY TO CHILL OUT! (recipe on page 29)
We teamed up with Whole Foods to bring you three tasty recipes for afterschool snacks that are as yummy as they are healthy. The best part? Kids can lend a hand in the preparation of each recipe—a great way to help them learn about making healthy choices. With treats like these, they’re sure to forget all about the cookie jar!
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PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN CHILSON
OR TRY FANCY ANTS ON A LOG! (recipe on page 29)
Enrolling Now for August: Call 501-791-3331 to get your child registered today.
DEVELOPMENTAL PRESCHOOL SERVICES
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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
Ingredients: 1 cup raw cashews 2 bunches green or red curly kale 1/3 cup unsweetened soymilk, almond milk or rice milk, or water 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 3 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon onion granules Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon juice) 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt Preparation: 1. Place cashews in a shallow dish and add just enough water to cover. Soak for a few hours. Drain. 2. Preheat the oven to 275°F. 3. Wash, stem and thoroughly dry kale, tearing it into large pieces. Set aside. 4. In a blender, purée soaked cashews, soy milk, peppers, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion granules, lemon juice and salt. 5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, lightly coat kale leaves with cashew sauce and spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Make sure leaves are not stacked on top of each other, so that leaves dry and bake evenly. 6. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until crisp, gently turning over about halfway through cooking. You can also use a dehydrator to dry the chips. *LOADED WITH CALCIUM & VITAMIN C
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7. Remove from baking sheets and repeat with remaining kale leaves and cashew mixture. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container. Nutritional Information: Per Serving: 150 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 7g protein
PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN CHILSON
CHEEZY KALE CHIPS Serves 8 as a snack This crisp snack doesn’t actually have any cheese or dairy in it but delivers a cheesy, savory flavor in a healthy way.
FRUIT & YOGURT POPSICLES Serves 4 Let the kids help to make these easy, frozen treats, flavored with summer’s sweetest fruits.
Ingredients: 1 cup plain yogurt 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries or pitted cherries 1 tablespoon honey Popsicle molds or paper cups with sticks Foil or plastic wrap
The BridgeWay’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) serves as a bridge for providers who hope to offer adults extra structure, and skills to help with stabilization during a difficult time.
Preparation: 1. Put yogurt, fruit (slightly thawed if using frozen) and honey into a blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour fruit mixture into paper cups, filling each about three-quarters full. 2. Cover each cup with foil or plastic wrap, and make a small slit in the middle of each cover. Insert sticks into foil or plastic wrap. 3. Freeze cups until solid, about 5 hours. When ready to eat, peel off paper cups and enjoy! Nutritional Information: Per Serving: 80 calories (20 from fat), 2g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 30mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 13g sugar), 2g protein FANCY ANTS ON A LOG Serves 8 Our “fancy” version of an old favorite uses almond butter, sunflower seeds and raisins. Get creative and make your own combos with dried cranberries or apricots, and pumpkin seeds. Substitute fat-free cream cheese or Greek yogurt for kids with nut allergies.
Likewise, Partial Hospitalization Program serves as a bridge for people, allowing them an additional framework of support in a nurturing environment. Partial Hospitalization Program can be a great transition from hospitalization as a person returns to the daily tasks and rhythms of life. Also it can help individuals avoid hospitalization by providing a timely extra layer of therapeutic structure. The BridgeWay’s Partial Hospitalization Program is covered by most insurance plans and Medicare. PROGRAM HOURS AND LOCATION Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3PM. PHP is located on The BridgeWay campus. HOW TO REFER For more information or to make a confidential referral please call 501-771-1500 or 800-245-0011 and ask about The BridgeWay’s Partial Hospitalization Program.
21 Bridgeway Road North Little Rock, AR 72113 800-245-0011 www.TheBridgeWay.com Accredited by The Joint Commission
USS Razorback WWII submarine Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
Educational Field Trips contact us for details
Ingredients: 1/2 cup almond butter 4 celery stalks 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons raisins Preparation: Spread almond butter inside celery stalks and top with raisins and sunflower seeds. Cut stalks into quarters. Nutritional Information: Per Serving: 120 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 4g protein
501-371-8320 info@AIMMuseum.org www.AIMMuseum.org 120 Riverfront Park Drive North Little Rock, AR 72114 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
Clockwise from above: Students at the Yellville-Summit Middle School harvest salad greens. One of the students featured in the poster campaign created to market fresh produce to students. Planting garlic at the Apple Seeds Teaching Farm in Fayetteville.
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY KATHERINE QUINN, RYAN DUNN, BRYAN CLIFTON
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE
LOCAL LUNCH Farm to School programs growing in Arkansas B Y D WA I N H E B D A
An ambitious program, one that seeks to combat rampant childhood obesity while supporting local agriculture, is taking root in school districts across the state. The program, Farm to School, is a national movement to connect school districts with local farmers to provide healthy, fresh vegetables for school lunches. At the same time, it seeks to educate students on healthy eating habits and even to inspire schools to plant their own gardens. “There were a handful of school districts around the state that initiated some farm to school programs,” says Dr. Judy Weber, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute. “In 2011, when our program was funded through the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture, we were able to really start trying to get community stakeholders, school districts farmers, and government people together. “That was the big push for a farm to school jumpstart and now there are more districts around the state and more schools involved.” According to Andrew Carberry, program administrator for Arkansas, participation has grown from a scattered handful of disjointed school programs to, at last official count, 27 school districts and about 170 schools partnering with local producers. Each school has the latitude to construct a program as they see fit, but Carberry also advises schools on best practices such as those that improve students’ willingness to try new things by coordinating classroom and
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lunchroom. For example, one school built an entire curriculum that included letters from the farmers, show-and-tell examples of new vegetables such as eggplant and okra, and posters of classmates endorsing the new dish. Trivial as this may sound, Carberry says, such strategies work. “We took pictures of students their age with fresh produce that said ‘We Eat…’ kale or (some other) vegetable and used it for posters in the cafeteria and some of the classrooms,” he says. “Our research showed that it increased salad consumption just having that message with a student up there.” The entities behind the initiative in Arkansas include various University of Arkansas divisions including UAMS, Sam Walton College of Business and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, as well as representation from Arkansas Children’s Hospital. These entities coalesce on the Arkansas Grow Healthy Study, sponsored by the U of A Division of Agriculture, Research and Extension. Some of the study’s funding went to create a short-term program administrator position, which Carberry has held since 2012 and which has been widely credited with fostering growth of farm-to-school programs statewide. “Being a dedicated contact, I was able to sit down with anyone who was interested,” he says. “Before that, schools just didn’t know just how to get started. It was very overwhelming.” Carberry says the number one hurdle among school districts is a perceived lack of local farmers to supply their lunchrooms or, if they do find one, that the school’s complex procurement procedures somehow preclude using them
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Call now: 501.767.3461 or visit: www.MidAmericaMuseum.org for more info 500 Mid America Blvd • Hot Springs
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We take your child’s education Get ready for a new school year! The 2015-2016 school year starts Monday, August 17, but it’s not too early to prepare. Visit pcssd.org/schools to find your school’s website and for all of your back-toschool needs!
501.234.2000 THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
This fall, a series of regional farm-to-school workshops are being held in locations across the state. These workshops are free and open to the public, however space is limited. Parents, educators, farmers and other interested community partners are encouraged to register at growhealthy.uark.edu/ workshops.html. Locations and dates include: • Southwest Research and Extension in Hope, Oct. 15 • University of Arkansas-Monticello, Oct. 29 • Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Nov. 5 • North Arkansas Community College in Harrison Nov. 12 • U of A Cooperative Extension in Little Rock, Nov. 19
as a vendor. He added while neither of these is true, the lack of a registered dietician in many school districts makes getting new vegetables into the menu a legitimate challenge. “A lot of schools will do fruit served on the side, but putting the food into an actual main entrée has been a challenge,” he says. “Even though a lot of individual (cafeteria staff members) know how to cook, they aren’t always comfortable creating menus to include squash or eggplant or okra or anything like that.” The good news is, once these hurdles have been cleared and a program is operational, it quickly becomes a mainstay for that district’s school lunch program. “The thing we hear about Fayetteville from their nutrition director is they have been doing this a while and now the parents demand it,” Carberry says. “They want local food on the lunch trays, so whether he wants to or not, he’s going to continue that program. Parents are making a difference there for sure.” As a relatively large school district serving solidly upper middle class citizenry in the shadow of the university, Fayetteville generally gets a lot of credit for its highly developed farm-to-school program. However, the program is equally successful in places like Bismarck and Dardanelle, which lack many of the same resources but stand as effective examples for other schools to follow. “Arkansas is territorial, so it’s great to have local schools in the river valley that are doing it and all over the state that we can point to,” Carberry says. “Schools always learn from their neighbors and they tend to work in regional groups. If we can get one school in a region to take it on, they go and talk about it to their peers and that really helps it spread.”
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY APPLE SEEDS, INC.
A healthy lunch with sweet potato fries and a fresh salad.
FROM SUPERHEROS TO SWEET 16... 32 AUGUST 2015 | THESAVVYMOMS.COM
Left to right: The writing is on the wall at Vandergriff Elementary School in Fayetteville. Local strawberries from Dickey Farms are on the Farm to School menu. A student at Asbell Elementary School in Fayetteville enjoys a farm-fresh lunch.
NEED TO KNOW: APPLE SEEDSS Established in 2005 as an initiative of Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville, Apple Seeds partners with schools and community organizations to establish activities that serve students and their families. Programs such as gardening clubs, school garden education, farm field trips, student-run farmers markets and healthy snack classes empower students with skills to grow their own food, and inspiring them to make healthy food choices that positively impact their lives. Apple Seeds believes that healthy living through garden-based education begins in schools and expands to the thriving local food community. The organization now leads the movement of school garden education within Washington County through its highly successful school garden programs. In addition, Apple Seeds manages the educational component of the Fayetteville Public Schools Farm to School program that reaches nearly 6,000 students annually. These programs have increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, improved attitudes towards healthy food, and heightened students’ knowledge of nutrition and gardening for its students.
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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
HORRAY FOR HERPS! WEEKEND AUG. 1-2, PINNACLE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK Water snakes, and tree frogs, and box turtles, oh my! Discover the world of reptiles and amphibians, and get the chance to observe members of this diverse group of animals up close. Demonstrations, crafts, games and hikes will be available all weekend. For a detailed schedule please call the park at 501-868-5806.
39TH ANNUAL HOPE WATERMELON FESTIVAL AUG. 6-8, FAIR PARK, HOPE Laud the largest watermelons in the land at the Hope Watermelon Festival. Now in its 39th year, the festival will include performances by Beatles tribute band Liverpool Legends, Bobby Jewell and Sammy Kershaw, plus arts and crafts, a 5k race, lots of locally grown food, and, of course, lots of melon-centric events. Visit hopemelonfest.com for more information.
BEETLEJUICE AUG. 14, 10 P.M., RON ROBINSON THEATER
BUILT TO AMAZE AUG. 20-23, VERIZON ARENA Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Built to Amaze. Featuring performers, awe-inspiring athletes and amazing animals from around the globe, Built to Amaze is a display of unimaginable proportions that is engineered for excitement and custom built for family fun! Tickets start at just $10. Visit verizonarena.com for more information.
HAPPENINGS OUR PICKS FOR COOL TO-DOS AROUND ARKANSAS for a complete calendar of events, visit our website at thesavvymoms.com.
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EASTER SEALS ROLLIN’ ON THE RIVER AUG. 22, 7 A.M., CLINTON LIBRARY Join Easter Seals of Arkansas in this fun fundraiser! The 5k run begins at 7 a.m., followed by the 2k Family Fun Walk at 9 a.m., and there will be plenty of food, music, kids activities and more. $25; $10 for kids 10 and under. For more information and to register, visit rollinontheriver.rallybound.com.
MULLET MADNESS AUG. 28, 7 P.M., NEXT LEVEL EVENTS Celebrate the 80s and raise funds for a great cause—Mullet Madness benefits Kidsource Kids, which provides children with special needs the support and opportunity to impact their community. Don’t miss the fun, food, silent auction and more! Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door. Visit mulletmadness.net for more information.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FELD MEDIA
Say it three times—Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!—Tim Burton’s 1988 classic about recently deceased newlyweds Adam and Barbara and their adventures with the “bio-exorcist” Beetlejuice they’ve hired to rid their home of its new owners.
OFF TO A SMOOTH START
PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM HAVE A VAST TEAM READY TO ASSIST WITH THEIR CHILD’S EDUCATIONAL NEEDS BY NANCY E. WELLS, LPC
SERVING Children WITH SPECIAL NEEDS SINCE 1971 ■ ■ ■
For many families of children with autism, this time of year is one of anticipation, and trepidation. School may be an exciting time with opportunities for growth by students, respite for parents needing support with the diverse challenges of autism, and school professionals ready to be the guide for young learners. Students with autism will have many people involved in their education. An IEP (Individualized Education Program) team consists of parents, professionals, and/or other advocates involved in developing an educational plan for a student with a disability such as autism. As a parent/professional, I find that relationships with teachers, therapists and other staff are paramount. IEPs seem daunting and confusing to many parents, but they are developed with the intent of being a map to educational success for the student. Parents, please learn and understand what is in your child’s IEP and get to know the people who are involved with the planning. Anticipating, as best possible, the needs of teachers, parents and students with autism will lay a good foundation on which to build as issues, or opportunities, arise. Communicate potential barriers to learning as best you can (noise, fatigue, transition, diet, etc.) to teaching staff. Please remember to mention what motivates your child and gets them excited. Hint: students with autism shine when they understand the benefit of the task. Parents of children with autism may access a plethora of websites and social media for helpful advice while preparing their child (and themselves) for school. After careful consideration and research I urge all parents to trust their instincts and make certain the choices fit the child. The beginning of the school year can be exhausting. There are many changes and needs for adaptation for the day. Be patient and stay optimistic. Your child, like every child, has a whole lifetime to learn and grow. Nancy E. Wells, LPC is executive director of AbleTalks, a 501(c)3 organization serving young adults with autism and other disabilities. She has a specialty license for technology-assisted distance counseling for individuals throughout Arkansas and serves on the Legislative Task Force for Autism. Nancy is the proud mother of two young adults on the spectrum.
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THE LATEST IN TECHNOLOGY. THE BEST IN CARE. At Snell Laboratory, our professional staff members craft custom prostheses and orthoses that are nearly as remarkable as the people who wear them. It's a great responsibility and an honor that we cherish because our patients are truly the reason we come to work each day.
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THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
nest | Thrive | NOSH | CULTIVATE
PLAN YOUR WORK, WORK YOUR PLAN
Back to school is in full swing, and the time for resuming a “normal” schedule is upon us. That normal schedule includes homework, which is about organization if nothing else. We’ve put together some suggestions to help keep your young students motivated when the time comes to buckle down. They’re broken down into two groups—planning your work and working your plan. BY BRYAN REDDITT
PLAN YOUR WORK: GEAR UP FOR A SUCCESSFUL STUDY SEASON • ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE Study space is critical to homework success. Designate a particular area in your home for study. Make sure books, binders, notes and other material are easily accessible. Set up shelves and a filing system for the different topics and classes at hand. Having a systematic approach to resources takes some setting up (and might need tweaking as you go) but makes a difference once it becomes routine. • CREATE YOUR STUDY SYSTEM Creating study guides right before a quiz or exam is common—and it’s just as common to throw them away once the quiz is over. Save the guides and use them when mid-term or end of semester exams roll around. • DO AWAY WITH DISTRACTIONS There are tons of ways a young mind can veer off course. The most obvious are TV and/or video games, but visual distractions should be exiled from Studyville. That includes mobile devices, radios, cell phones and/or tablets that aren’t being used for study. Keep these concentration killers at bay, only using a computer or tablet sparingly for research. • THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT Here’s where technology can be allowed into the inner sanctum. If you have an electronic device—smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop—you have access to a growing range of software that can help plan, organize and execute classroom notes and homework tasks.
WORK YOUR PLAN: METHOD ADDS ORDER TO HOMEWORK • PRIORITIZE YOUR TASK LIST Base your schedule on the immediacy of each assignment, and estimate the time each will take to complete before diving in. This brings your plan of attack into focus. • USE THE “45-5” RULE If you’re in for a couple of hours of homework time, break every 45 minutes for a five-minute respite to keep fatigue from setting in. Make sure the “5” doesn’t stretch into longer! And while we’re on the subject of pacing… • REWARD GOOD WORK While a “pay for good grades” strategy isn’t always the answer, honor roll bounties aren’t unheard of. Small incentives for completed homework, like a movie or a fro-yo outing, can help keep young students motivated. Older students relish autonomy, so their rewards could include later curfew times and relief from around-thehouse chores.
*SIMPLY PUT, GETTING ORGANIZED AHEAD OF TIME, SETTING REALISTIC OBJECTIVES AND FOLLOWING THROUGH ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF HOMEWORK SUCCESS. THE RESULTS WILL SHOW IN HIGHER GRADES AND BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF SUBJECT MATERIAL.
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MULLET MADNESS > Friday, August 28, 2015 > 7 pm to 11 pm > Next Level Events in Little Rock’s Historic Union Station > Celebrating the 80's with Food, Fun and like, a TOTALLY good time! Beer and wine provided from 7-9 with a cash bar to follow > Funds raised will benefit Kidsource Kids; An NPO that provides children with special needs the support and opportunity to impact their community > Silent Auction & Raffles
ER ‘80s MUSIC • FOOD • BE
$35!* TICKETS ARE ONLY LLETMADNESS.NET PURCHASE AT MU . OR CALL 501.315.44*14 $40 at the door.
THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
MOMSPEAK KAREN SHARP HALBERT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON MARKIN
AGE: 54 OCCUPATION: ATTORNEY, ROBERTS LAW FIRM, P.A. CHILDREN: JARED RYAN 23 & AUDRA ELIZABETH 19 ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH MY KIDS IS…Spending
a weekend on Lake Ouachita just enjoying lake time with them. THE BEST PART OF MY JOB IS…Learning something new with every case and being around so many smart people. ONE WAY I LIKE TO GIVE BACK TO MY COMMUNITY IS…
Volunteering for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and raising money to fund research to find the cure. MY ADVICE TO PARENTS WHO ARE DEALING WITH A DIABETES DIAGNOSIS IS…Connect with other families struggling with type 1
diabetes and get involved with JDRF. JDRF families provide each other emotional support and valuable information about how to deal with the challenges. JDRF gives you an avenue to fight the disease and help find a cure...and we need a cure! MY FAVORITE PICK-ME-UP ON A STRESSFUL DAY IS…To go running
or biking. IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT AND I’M HOME ALONE, SO I…Read cookbooks
and find new recipes to cook.
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It’s Time to “Check In” for the 2015-2016 School Year!
Check-in: August 3-4 from 10am - 7pm for all LRSD schools.
First day of school: August 17
Dads Take Your Child to School Day: August 17
Enter the Facebook Photo Contest for a chance to win great prizes!
Here’s how it works: 1. Dads and father figures take your child 2. 3.
(Pre-K -12th) to school on the first day of school, August 17 Snap a photo with your cell phone or camera of you with your child at school (photo must be taken on school grounds) Upload your photo onto LRSD’s Facebook photo contest page by midnight August 17. Invite your Facebook friends to vote for your photo before the contest closes on Wed., Aug. 26.
New and Improved Open Enrollment!
The District’s new open enrollment dates were designed with You in mind. If you are applying for magnet or specialty schools like Forest Heights or Geyer Springs, you should do so during the assigned Open Enrollment period in order to be included in the first computerized scramble for seats. We encourage parents to use the following designated Open Enrollment dates. Early Childhood P3/P4
October 19-30, 2015
Forest Heights STEM Academy Magnet/Specialty Schools K-12/Address Changes P3-12th Grade Assignment Mail Out
November 9-13, 2015 November 16-20, 2015 December 7-18, 2015 March 4, 2016
For more information visit the Student Registration Department’s web page at http://www.lrsd.org/ drupal/?q=node/64
6th Grade Orientation: August 13 at 9:30am for all middle schools. 9th Grade Orientations
August 5-7 1-4 pm J.A. Fair August 5 9 am - 1 pm Hall (Last names A-L) August 5 and 7 9 am - 12 noon Parkview Patriot Academy August 7 9 am - 1 pm Hall (Last names M-Z) August 13 3:30-5:30 pm Central and McClellan
Little Rock School District
PERFORMANCE WORKPLAN ENCE FOR TOMO lrsd.org
When families become stressed by behavioral issues, they need a caring environment.
is the largest children and adolescent behavioral care hospital in Arkansas.
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THE LIFESTYLE MANUAL FOR THE MODERN MOM
AUGUST 2015 路 THESAVVYMOMS.COM
*STUDY TIPS PAGE 34
Back to School ! COPING WITH ANIEXTY | TECH TRENDS | THE BEST BACKPACKS
PLUS...MOMS IN THE CLASSROOM & HEALTHY SNACKS THESAVVYMOMS.COM | AUGUST 2015
Published on Jul 31, 2015