Letter from the Principal

Letter from the PrincipalComments Off on Letter from the Principal

Dear Janney Families,

Tonight’s newsletter is devoted to reviewing our school safety procedures.  Please read carefully and reach out with any questions.

I am also including three articles to support any discussions that you might have at home with your child regarding the tragedy in Florida.

Article: Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

Article: Social Media and School Crises

Article: School Violence Prevention

Safety Plan
In light of recent events and our elevated awareness, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our community about the various ways that we practice and prepare for unforeseen events throughout the school year.  It is important to note that all of the drills that we practice and the safety plan that is in place can also be applied to inclement or severe weather, as well as unsafe situations outside or inside our school building.

Each DC public school is required to practice the following drills on a regular basis: fire, shelter-in-place, severe weather, and earthquake.  Our messaging to children on why we practice these drills varies by grade level and by drill.  When we practice our upcoming shelter-in-place drill for example, our PK and K teachers read The Mitten, a story about woodland animals that find a stray mitten and try to all fit into this warm and cozy space.  The PK and K teachers tell the students that the class will act out the story, and that they too are trying to fit together in a warm and cozy safe space just like the animals.  With our older students, we discuss the importance of having a safe space to stay when it is not safe outside.  We will practice a shelter-in-place drill in early March and your child’s teacher will alert you when this will take place via the classroom newsletter.

While we have Janney-specific plans in place, all DC public schools are guided by the School Emergency Response Plan and Management Guide.   All DCPS administrators are also required to complete additional training on establishing and organizing a school-based response team.  In addition to the required DCPS training, we have also worked with a local safety expert to provide Situational Awareness training to our staff each year.  This training allows our staff the opportunity to discuss possible responses to a variety of situations.

All entrances and exits at Janney remain locked during the school day, and all visitors are asked to sign-in at the security desk if they are visiting once the school day has begun.  We keep one entrance open and closely monitored for JAC, JEP, and Language pick-up after 4:30 pm once the main office is closed.  Please see below for more information on Janney Plus safety procedures.

If we do have to evacuate the building for any reason, staff and students will travel to St. Columba’s, and parents will be asked to sign-out and pick-up students there.  If this evacuation occurs, we will notify parents via an email and phone call blast.  If we need to follow an unplanned early release schedule while we remain in the building, the cafeteria will serve as our staging area for parents to sign-out and pick-up students.  Again, parents and guardians will be notified by an email and phone call blast.

All teachers carry an emergency preparedness bag that also contains all emergency contact information for each child in the class.  New this year, we have also partnered with Janney Plus and utilized our PTA dollars to ensure that each classroom space has a walkie talkie tuned to an emergency channel in the event we were not able to use the intercom.

Please know that we take your child’s safety seriously.  In addition to all of the steps that we take at the school level to be prepared, we also rely on you and our larger community members to alert us and the proper authorities when something doesn’t seem right or when you have concerns.  Thank you for being aware and alert.

If you have any outstanding questions regarding anything outline above, please stop by the main office or send me an email.

Janney Plus Safety Procedures
After school is a vibrant and busy time to be on campus at Janney. Janney Plus coordinates the enrichment, language, and JAC programs before and after school, but there are often numerous other activities (such as Janney band, Janney sports teams, and musical activities) that keep our hallways busy outside of school hours. We take the safety of our students seriously while they are with us, and are always seeking to improve procedures. Since the school office and main entrance are reserved for school use until 5:00 pm, we use the North atrium doors as our point of entrance (this is the only door unlocked during our after school hours). We ensure that we have program staff stationed by that entrance as well as the campus security guard (who is by this entrance unless she is patrolling the ground floor and outside areas). We do our utmost to ensure our front-desk staff personnel stays consistent and can easily recognize the children, families, and caregivers. We follow the same evacuation and safety procedures the school follows during the school day, and do drills at various times throughout the school year. We also utilize a walkie talkie system to ensure our staff can communicate throughout the buildings and grounds. Just this year, we installed gates that allow us to impact the flow of traffic around the building after school. We moved the rear bike-rack to the 42nd street stairs to try and encourage students and parents not to bike through the parking lot by St. Ann’s, and to also allow access to the bikes after school without users having to wander through the playground. To that end, we ask our parents not to enter the playground through areas with closed gates, but rather enter the grounds by the front atrium door where our staff can direct you. Our goal is to ensure our playground is not used as a neighborhood cut-thru while children are still present, and that visitors to our building must pass by our staff when they arrive. We understand it takes time to learn any new system and we greatly appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding as we develop new safety measures for our programs. If you would like additional information about our safety measures outside of the school day, please reach out to the Executive Director for more information, kristen.maxson@janneyschool.org.

Student Support Services Corner
Hello Janney Jaguars! Welcome back to the Student Support Corner! Last week in this space I discussed ANTs, or Automatic Negative Thoughts, and what to do to calm and refocus the mind when it’s flooded with ANTs. This week, I’m going to tell you how to fight off the ANTs and keep them at bay.

Just like fighting the ants that invade our homes and picnic tables, when fighting ANTs invading our minds, we have to know exactly what kind of ANT we’re fighting in order to choose the right ‘bug spray,’ so to speak, to treat it. Remember, ANTs are the negative things we tell ourselves that make us feel angry, anxious, sad, or otherwise uncomfortable. ANTs might flood our minds with negative thoughts, which, in turn, floods the body with negative feelings.

Some ANTs might be non-truths or outright lies; some might be a little true but not as much of a Big Deal as we make it out to be; and some might be true, but not the whole story or about things beyond our control and therefore not helpful to dwell on.

There are 6 different categories and 13 different kinds of ANTs, and identifying what kind of thought it is that’s invading your brain space can help you know what to tell yourself to fight it:

The Downers:
Thoughts that highlight the negative and minimize the positive. Including:
Negative glasses – seeing things through a lens that only sees the negative and filters out positive. For instance, you get a good grade on your test but focus on the one question you got wrong.
Positive doesn’t count – not listening to positive aspects or not taking credit for positive actions and outcomes. For instance, you get a good grade on your test, but instead of attributing it to your weekend of studying, you say ‘it was easy,’ or ‘we learned that last year.’

Blowing it all up:
Making something a Bigger Deal than it really is. Including:
All or nothing, aka black and white thinking – when situations, people, or even ourselves are either all good or all bad with nothing in between. For instance, a friend who made a mistake is just all around a bad friend and not worth the effort.
Going to extremes or Exaggerating – critical statements made using words that describe extremes like always, never, all, or none. For instance, after making a mistake, thinking, ‘I never do anything right.’
Disaster zone aka catastrophizing or snowballing – statements that blow things out of proportion in a negative way. For instance, after getting the problem wrong, thinking, ‘I’m not good at school; I’m going to fail the test, and I’ll never get into college! My life is over!’

Predicting Failure:
Expecting the worst will happen. Including:
The Mind Reader – assuming the worst about other people’s thoughts or intentions. For instance, ‘She said no to a playdate. She doesn’t like me and doesn’t want to be my friend.’
The Fortune Teller – when you just know what will happen, and it will be bad. For instance, ‘if I try out for the play, I know I’m not going to get a part.’

Feeling Thoughts:
Letting your feelings drive your thoughts. Including:
All the Feels, aka emotional reasoning – believing that if you feel it, it must be true. For instance, when you feel bad or sad, you think everything happening to and around you is bad.
Labeling – labeling yourself, someone else, or something else and always thinking in those terms. For instance, ‘I’m a loser’ after getting into a fight with a friend, or ‘I’m clumsy and can’t have nice things,’ when you trip or drop something.

Setting yourself up to fail:
Thoughts that set expectations impossibly high. Including:
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, or ‘should’ statements – strict rules of judgement of self or others. For instance, ‘I should have accomplished this by now.’
Personalization – comparing yourself to others, usually negatively. For instance, ‘She got a better grade on this test; she’s smarter than me so I must be dumb.’

And, finally-

The Blame Game:
Thoughts that assign blame to things that are or aren’t actually in our control. Including:
It’s all MY fault – taking responsibility and blaming yourself for something that’s not in your control. For instance, when a friend does not return a phone call, thinking, ‘I must have done something wrong.’ This can also include the kind of magical thinking of children when bad things happen to people they love, such as when a loved one get sick a child might think she caused it with bad or mean thought or actions.
It’s all YOUR fault – taking no responsibility for your part in something. For instance, failure to acknowledge that you provoked someone’s actions with your mean words, and blaming the fight all on the other person.

Once you can identify the kind of ANT that is invading your brain, you can start to talk them away. We’ll discuss more of that next week. Thanks for reading!

Sara Solomon
Worry Doctor (aka School Social Worker)

Inclement Weather (Reminder)
Please note that if school is delayed, JAC morning care will be canceled.  While our front office and custodial staff are required to report on time during a 2-hour delay, teachers do not report until 10 am; therefore, there is limited staff to watch students arriving prior to 10:30 am.  Please also be mindful that students may play on the playground prior to 10:30 am if they are accompanied by an adult.

If DCPS cancels after school and evening activities and events due to evening inclement weather, please note that after school JAC will also be canceled.

Indoor Jamboree (Reminder)
The winter months always prove challenging for us to hold a regular outdoor Jamboree.  Annual questions circulate around what the exact temperature should be to cancel Jamboree, and around how we should communicate this timely information with parents.  Snow, freezing rain, and other inclement weather factors all impact the regularity with which we can hold outdoor Jamboree.  Last year, we hosted indoor Jamboree during our winter months, and we will continue that practice this year.  Beginning Wednesday, January 3 through Friday, February 23, we will host Jamboree in the gymPlease see the schedule below for more information.

This decision also allows us a unique opportunity to build our community by meeting in smaller, more supportive groups, and adds a structure to our week that has previously been missing.  I have mentioned that we follow the guiding principles of the Responsive Classroom approach previously in this newsletter.  Classes will still share at these meetings, but they will also help lead our community in the various parts of a Morning Meeting: the greeting, the activity, the share, and news & announcements.

All parents are invited on the days that their students are participating (see schedule below).  Please note we will meet in the gym at 8:35, and that we hope to finish by 8:50 each morning.

Tuesdays: PK and K
Wednesdays: 1st and 2nd grades
Thursdays: 3rd and 4th grades
Friday: 5th grade

Alysia Lutz, Principal

  • Janney Calendar

    April 2021

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    • End of Term / Half-Day PD & Half-Day Records Day / No School for Students
    • No School
    • No School
    • No School
    • No School
    • Janney Meeting re New Ward 3 Schools
    • Dining Out at Potomac Pizza
    • DCPS Office of School Planning Meeting with Janney re New Ward 3 Schools

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