Topic of the Month!
October- Are We Safe?
In light of recent events outside, but near our school, it is understandable that parent and student levels of anxiety may be escalated. What is most important to remember is that these incidents happened off of school property. We are confident in our ability to keep our students safe within our supervision, which our new attendance policy is proactively reinforcing by encouraging students to be in class. Furthermore, we have protocols in place (On Alert, Hold and Secure, Shelter in Place, and Lockdown) that allow us, as a staff, to respond appropriately and quickly to specific incidents. An element of every protocol is a debrief to ensure staff and students are safe.
Part of being in a school is the community that is created. At Notre Dame we have a staff that is dedicated to the well-being of students, and it works collaboratively to ensure students who may be experiencing anxiety, or other fallout from these incidents, are given an appropriate outlet at school. The counselling team is well-equipped to work with our students and encourages students to access its services.
Again, we are confident that you are sending your children to safe and caring learning environment every day. The gifts and talents that your children share within our community, be it in academics, athletics, fine arts, within their CTS classes, or in any other myriad ways, bears witness to this.
Despite how safe we know our school is, we also are aware that these types of incidents can generate much conversation within families. Here are some tips that you can use to help manage the conversation and direct it in a way that is constructive. This information is a summary from The Center for Parenting Education
1. Remain calm. Your child will be influenced by your reaction.
2. Give your child opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings. Validate their concerns without minimizing them. Examples of how to do this include:
“Tell me more about that.”
“Are there other things that are bothering you right now?”
“What have you heard about . . . .?”
“What do you think happened?”
3. Stay off social media as much as possible as it often exaggerates fears and spreads misinformation.
4. Maintain routines as much as possible as they are reassuring during times of stress.
5. Reassure your child that s/he is safe. Review the steps taken to ensure the safety of the school community.
6. Teach your child healthy coping strategies such as talking to a trusted adult, writing their feelings in a journal, drawing, exercising, deep breathing, etc.
7. Look for signs of anxiety such as, but not limited to, a change in behaviour, stomachaches, headaches, fighting/arguing, a change in sleep patterns, overreaction to minor stress.
Please remember, you are not alone. If you are concerned about your child’s well-being, we invite you to contact the counselling team at Notre Dame and they will support you and your child through this process.
It seems as though you cannot turn on the television without seeing increasing concerns with the impact that vaping has on our youth. While many teens believe it is a safe alternative to smoking, the studies that are starting to surface would indicate vaping poses its own risks and concerns. At Notre Dame we prohibit vaping- if caught on school grounds or during school activities, vapes will be confiscated and consequences will be given. Why the tough approach? We care about the health of our students!!! Please take a look at the following articles and news clips for some valuable information. This should provide you with a solid foundation on understanding vaping as well as some strategies on how to prevent or help your child.
Further, we have an addictions counsellor at the school if you feel that your son/daughter could benefit from meeting her, just call Student Services (403-342-4800) to set up an appointment.
September Feature of the Month- VAPING
CTV News clips explaining the growing epidemic...