Letter from the Principal

Letter from the PrincipalComments Off on Letter from the Principal

Dear Janney Families,

Thanks to those of you who attended last Wednesday’s Community Night focused on Diversity and Inclusion!  I’ve included a link to the presentations from Wednesday’s meeting below.

This week’s newsletter also includes a column from Sara Solomon, our school Social Worker.

As many of you know, Kristen Maxson will be leaving at the end of this school year.
Janney Plus  is seeking an Executive Director to lead the non-profit organization into the next phase of its strategic plan, interested candidates can review the job listing and apply here.

Finally, a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who made Saturday’s Used Book Sale so successful!

Community Meeting: Diversity and Inclusion
Our upcoming Community Meeting provided our community the opportunity to learn more about the Diversity and Inclusion work that we are engaging in this school year.  Administrators and teachers presented our work on creating identify safe classroom communities, and on ensuring that our classroom books reflect and respect the diverse world in which we live.  Staff members also presented on the professional development that we have been engaging in as a staff.  I’m including a link to Wednesday’s materials here.  In this folder, you will find the evening’s overview presentation containing snapshots of our test score data and questions that guide our work this year.  You will also find presentations on each of the areas listed above (identity-safe classrooms, staff professional development, and classroom books).

I look forward to sharing more of our work with the community throughout the year.

Student Support Services Corner
Greetings and welcome to the Student Support Corner! I hope you enjoyed reading about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and the Think-Feel-Do connection last week. This week I want to talk about ANTs, when the feelings thoughts are negative and overwhelming, and what we can do about it.

Ants have a way of spoiling the picnic and when they come, they come in droves. It’s the same way with ANTs, or Automatic Negative Thoughts. ANTs are the favored weapons of Worry Brain. When a negative feeling is triggered, there are negative thoughts that go along with it. Worry Brain feeds on these thoughts and as the feeling grows in intensity, the ANTs flood the picnic. Then the more ANTs there are, the worse the worry gets, which invites more ANTs, and so on, in a vicious cycle.

Some strategies to fight the ANTs
When we have ANTs on the brain, the best way to get rid of them is to distract ourselves, quickly, and focus our thoughts elsewhere. When ANTS invade it’s helpful to have some strategies ready to go to because it’s not always easy to come up with something when the ANTs take over.

A good way to distract yourself is to focus on a mental task that is almost rote and can be drawn on in an otherwise difficult moment, but just challenging enough that it requires conscious thought and concentration. For instance, for children in PreK-1st Grade, this might be counting to 10 or 20, or singing the alphabet song. Grades 2-3 might try counting to 100, skip counting or singing a universally-known song like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or The Wheels on the Bus. Grades 4-5 might try skip counting, reciting multiplication facts, a memorized poem or song, or counting backwards. The song, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes incorporates movement, which can be another strategy for any age group. Grown ups might try counting backwards from 100 by 3s, silently chanting a mantra, or singing a song you know all the words to.

It takes some practice, but older children and adults should ultimately be able to draw on this on their own. Younger children might need some more direct support, like getting down to your child’s eye level and counting or singing with him or her.

Once the mind is distracted and able to think more clearly, you can use a calming strategy to slow the heart rate and breathing, and bring the body and mind back to a calm and relaxed state. My favorite, tried and true, is slow, deep breathing. To do this effectively and without hyperventilating, try closing your eyes and breathe in deeply through the nose to a count of 4 seconds. Fill the lungs and stomach fully with air and pause at the top for 1-2 seconds. Then breathe out slowly through the mouth to a count of 5 seconds, emptying the stomach and lungs completely and pushing out any air that’s left. Pause for 1-2 seconds. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Slow, controlled breathing can be really difficult for kids to master, but I’ll share with you some tricks I have up my sleeve. My favorite is what I call the Bubble Contest. Challenge your child to blow a bubble as big as his or her head, or for more than one child, see who can blow the biggest. Blowing big bubbles requires slow and controlled breath; they’ll likely pick up on that pretty fast. Just don’t forget to have them breathe in through the nose! When bubbles aren’t readily available, try practicing the smelling flowers and blowing out candles: Breathe in the flower; Blow out the candle.

Now that you’ve got some tools for stopping those pesky ANTs and the havoc they wreak, we can talk about how to challenge those thoughts and change them! Stay tuned for next week!

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 gym.  Please 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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