HEALTHY SCHOOLS INITIATIVE 2018-19
Where funding goes A quick breakdown of our $4.3 million budget serving 28,000 students
$2.5million $840k $640k 28 Wellness Coordinators, nurses, and counselors
Dear HSI Community,
K-5 P.E. programs Grants awarded to 29 in 12 RCSD schools community partners for schoolbased health programs
PE+ program for grades K-5 in the Redwood
City School District I am pleased to introduce myself as the Nutrition education Director of School Health for the Sequoia The Parent Education Series Healthcare District (SHD). I am a retired Health Connected sexual health curriculum pediatrician and served seven years as Wellness The Neuroscience of Addiction curriculum Coordinator for the Sequoia Union High School Substance use prevention resources District, My goal is to lead our wellness team, CPR training for over 12,000 high school unifying our seven elementary school districts students and one high school district. Our team addresses common overarching health and Read ahead about one example of how we are safety objectives with a focus on prevention Initiating the Conversation through innovative and early intervention. programming and partnerships between your The Healthy Schools Initiative (HSI) was initially school district and our valuable partners. I look launched in 2010, and over the years has forward to future successes along with our become one of the SHD’s major investments in community’s ongoing support for the health of the community. With an annual HSI budget of our children. $4.3 million, SHD has partnered with our eight Sincerely, school districts to support key positions and programs such as: Wellness Coordinators School nurses On-campus mental health counseling
Karen E. Li, MD Director of School Health
services (including StarVista, Acknowledge Alliance, and Adolescent Counseling Services) The Green Folder Initiative (staff and parent mental health resource guides) 525 Veterans Blvd,
Redwood City, CA 94063
Introducing the HSI Wellness Team
Belmont Redwood-Shores School District
Las Lomitas Elementary School District
Menlo Park City School District
Portola Valley School District
Initiating the Conversation In many ways, we are unique in that we are
This fall, Sequoia Union High School District’s
one of the few healthcare districts in California Wellness Advisory Council (WAC), in to provide a comprehensive level of support to
partnership with SHD and community allies
local school districts through our Healthy
Parent Venture, CHC/PEN (Children’s Health
Council/Parent Education Network) and Palo
One major theme for Healthy Schools Initiative programming over this past year was continuing or, in many cases, starting the conversation about youth mental health. HSIfunded Wellness Coordinators (pictured above) are leading the conversation in each of their
Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), launched evening community screenings of Angst, a documentary on anxiety. Each of the four comprehensive high schools also hosted daytime screenings for staff and students with a staff or student panel.
districts. We are pleased to welcome Javier
With an objective of furthering the
Gutierrez as the newest member to the team.
conversation at home, each of the Angst
The HSI Wellness Team meets monthly to work on shared objectives and collaborate on best practices. One over-arching objective this year is collecting mental health data so we can better assess the mental health needs of our students.
DID YOU KNOW? About 1 in 4 children experience clinical anxiety? Nearly one in three adolescents (31.9%) will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder by the age of 18.
screenings SHD provided Parent Green Folders, a resource guide for parents with a parent action plan to “See Something, Say Something, Do Something”. SHD is currently partnering on developing a Parent Green Folder app as well. You can view and download the Parent Green
Folder on seqhd.org. 12% of California youth reported at least one major depressive episode in the past year? Adolescent girls are more than twice as likely to experience depression than boys, 15.9% vs 7.7%. Anxiety is a treatable illness?
Redwood City School District
San Carlos School District
Sequoia Union High School District
Woodside Elementary School District
Our students deserve to have a safe platform for conversations on difficult topics that are pertinent to them, one of which is the topic of substance abuse. SHD has also been instrumental in ensuring that students have access to innovative health curriculum such as the Neuroscience of Addiction (NOA), which is currently taught in the Sequoia Union High School District. Additionally, through partnerships with Breathe California and the Tobacco Education Coalition, we will be piloting a peer-to-peer drug education program between the high school and feeder
For more information about the film, visit: ANGST - Tools and Resources
school districts, San Carlos and Redwood City School District. Please look for an upcoming Public Service Announcement from the SHD on the topic of vaping.
Worried? Take our 2-minute anxiety quiz: www.psycom.net/anxiety-test Organizations
Child-Mind Institute- For Families Children's Health Council - Anxiety and Depression National Institute of Mental Health Anxiety and Depression Association of America
How to Help a Child Overcome School Refusal What to Do (and Not DO) When Children Are Anxious What Does Childhood Anxiety Look Like? Probably Not What You Think YA Fiction John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
Understanding School Refusal What is school refusal? First and foremost, school refusal is a form of anxiety that demands treatment. School refusal is NOT a behavioral problem, nor is it the same as truancy (see chart below). You can’t discipline your child out of school refusal. School refusal peaks at several points of development: Kindergarten entry, between ages 7-9, and middle or high school entry. Boys and girls are equally affected.
By Psychology Today
What can parents do?
Meet with the school counselor, teacher, and staff. Talk to your child about their reasons for not wanting to go to school. Highlight the positive aspects of school. staff Help your child build a support system. Contact your pediatrician for a referral to a therapist.
A Personal Story: Anxiety Hits Home
By a local parent
Sitting in the parking lot of our child’s school, I cried so hard it was a struggle to catch my breath. I had been holding it together for 45 minutes and then the dam broke. As my body shook and my heart sank, I called my husband for support. You see, our 11-year-old son refused to get out of the car and go to school. Extremely upset, he was screaming and crying for me to take him home. I would like to say that this was a one-off, an isolated event, but it wasn’t. It was probably day 8 of the 13 days he wouldn’t make it to school that semester. Two years ago, our son, starting 6th grade at a new school, suffered from “school refusal”(1) triggered by academic anxiety. What we went through I don’t wish on any family. I walked around each day with a pit in my stomach. It was so difficult to see my son in pain. Not wanting to get out of bed, he would hide under the covers. One morning our son locked himself in his
bedroom and texted me that he wasn’t going to school. My sister, who had come to help, took the doorknob off so we could get to him. While this was an extreme situation, it demonstrates the tough situations we faced. (Read the full article here)
Severe emotional stress about attending school: may include anxiety, temper tantrums, depression or somatic issues
Lack of excessive anxiety or fear about attending school
Parent are aware of the absence or the child convinces parents to allow him or her to stay home
Children often attempt to conceal their absence from parents
Absence of significant behavioral or antisocial problems
Frequent antisocial behavior, often in the company of antisocial peers
During school hours, the child stays home because it is safe
During school hours, the child is somewhere other than home
A willingness to do homework and complies by completing work at home
Lack of willingness to do schoolwork or meet academic expectations
Understanding Anxiety How do I know if my child’s anxiety is outside of the normal range? The difference between normal worry and an anxiety disorder is severity. Although feeling anxious is a natural reaction to a stressful or dangerous situation, a child may need help if their anxiety is out of proportion, if it persists, or if it interferes with their daily functioning and healthy development.
How can I help my child today?
Try self-help methods and ways of relaxation, including breathing, music, meditating, yoga, and journaling. Talk with your child about feelings and fears which can help reduce them. Emphasize the positive aspects of school, such as playing at recess and seeing friends. Encourage hobbies and interests to help build self-confidence.
Interview with Dr. Annette Hwang Dr. Hwang has been a pediatrician for over twenty years. She is currently working at the Menlo Medical Clinic. I had the pleasure of speaking with her on the topic of child anxiety. Here is what she had to say:
Q: Are you seeing an increase in child anxiety? If so, why? A: Yes, I see more children suffering from anxiety and at younger ages. It is hard to pinpoint one specific cause. Reasons include: social media,
school pressure, college expectations, intensive after school activities, and living in Silicon Valley.
Q: What are the signs parents should be aware of? A: Symptoms include feeling tired, headaches, abdominal pain, and sleep issues. Pay attention if your child is avoiding things. Also, are they not getting over illnesses in a normal time frame?
By Stacey Holmes
Q; What is your treatment approach? A: I talk to the child. Some kids won’t talk in front of their parents so I will send parents out of the room. One of the first things I do is learn about their schedule/routine. My suggestions include: ensuring downtime, limiting social media, and looking at their sleep and nutrition. I encourage parents to give their children responsibilities at home, such as chores. Parents shouldn’t do everything for their children. Also, children should be given the opportunity to make choices/decisions, providing them with a sense of control. I will refer them to other resources, including the school counselor, a therapist, and/or psychiatrist. Q: Do you have anything else to add? A: I would like to mention the importance of addressing any concerns early. While anxiety can be hard to diagnose in children it is treatable.
Having a Conversation with an Anxious Child What to Say
What NOT to Say
Validate their feelings, and express your support Avoid using phrases that minimize or invalidate and confidence in your child: feelings: I know you’re scared, and that’s okay. I’m here, and I’m going to help you get through this.
Don’t worry. It’s no big deal. You will be fine. There is nothing to be afraid of.
Discourse in Dining: What’s that Class All About?
This Fall a new elective is being offered to all 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Jen Upson, master gardener, Justine Scott, master baker and Steve Frank, principal/advisor created the curriculum.
What makes the class unique? One of the unique aspects of the course is the pattern by which the students develop “hidden” skills and methods of teamwork, peer interaction and problem solving as the class proceeds. They usually begin each day with “tea time”- drinking homemade herbal tea as they review the planned topic of the day.
Typically, the first day each week is spent on tasting and appreciating the selected food. At the second meeting the emphasis is on “creating” with the food chosen for that week. The class, as it comprises multiple grade levels, The course features guest lecturers and have allows an interaction with different peer included farmers, local groups in a rather unique chefs and nutritional distinctive fashion from What? New elective focused experts. normal class activities. The on food. As an example, the first environment, being outside When? Meets twice a week. project was an opportunity the norm of the classroom Where? Frequently, the class for the students to make atmosphere they are used to meets in the school garden their own version of healthy allows them to participate in where the vegetables grown by snacks: granola bars, oat a low-risk opportunity to the student body adding to the cakes and no bake snack become engaged, present balls. The class then listened “atmosphere” of the course. their opinions and accept to a guest speaker on topics differences in a nonrelated to nutrition with Dr. competitive situation. The Jeanne Rosner, M.D. At the end of the class class has been a real student favorite. they were able to compare their own snack Another component to the program’s creations to the nutritional value of a group of distinctive approach is the methods by which pre-made packaged items. more typical school activities such as math problem solving, organizational skills, verbal expression and science concepts are woven into the completion of the day’s tasks. This all takes place while “hidden” in the routine of completing the day’s lesson, while at the same time having fun with their classmates on a food related project. The class has so far been a great success. Our appreciation to the Sequoia Healthcare District for its willingness to provide support to a project that explores novel ways of promoting health education, student well-being and team learning while having great fun.
Welcome Mena Lam, Counselor at Woodside Elementary
Mena Lam is our new counselor at Woodside Elementary. Born in Los Angeles but raised in Massachusetts, she describes herself as a “real Boston girl.” Mena attended the Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she received a BA and then a Master’s in Education as well as a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in school counseling. Mena is a recent transplant to the Bay Area. She wanted to seek a new opportunity to work at an elementary school where Social Emotional Learning was an important aspect of the school’s philosophy. Several years ago, our partner, the Sequoia Healthcare District, provided funds to help initiate just such a program. A match was made and Mena will help provide continued leadership for this curriculum. Mena believes that good mental health begins at an early age. When looking for a new challenge she sought a school where there was a broader understanding of mental health issues and for which SEL was an important component of that approach. She relates that her family faced its own challenges as they sought to adapt to life in the
United States after leaving Vietnam. This was a major part of her own decision to seek a career where she could make a difference in the lives of young students. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, photography and spending time with her family.
PLEASE WELCOME MENA!
Parent Education Night: Woodside/Portola Valley On October 17th, a dynamic parent education night was held on Executive Function (EF) skills at Ormandale School, in Portola Valley. Parents and staff learned about practical tools and strategies to support development of EF function in everyday activities. Topics included: an overview of EF, what to expect (and when) from your child regarding EF development, challenges and opportunities in EF skill building as well as time management and organizational methods that you can teach to, as well as model, for your child. The class was taught by Ali Zidel Meyers. She is a member of the Children’s Health Council EF Professional Advisory Board. She also serves as the executive director of The Meyers Learning Center. Thank you, Sequoia Health Care District and Children’s Health Council for this wonderful and informative event! Stay tuned for our February 2019 Parent Education Class!
Common Ground Speaker Series
Woodside Elementary is proud to be part of the Common Ground Speaker Series, a parent education consortium dedicated to inspiring strong families and engaging school communities through distinguished speaker events. Upcoming events include: Justine Fonte, MEd, MPH CHANGING BODIES, CHANGING TIMES
Laying the Groundwork for Healthy Relationships January 29 and 30, 2019
Danielle Ramo, PhD
HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT Cannabis, Vaping & Other Substance Abuse among Teens
Nov. 27- For Parents of Elementary/ Preteens Nov. 29- For Parents of Teens Jan. 16- For All Parents