Letter from the Principal

Letter from the PrincipalComments Off on Letter from the Principal

Dear Janney Families,

A huge thank you to the Auction Committee! Saturday night’s Disco Inferno was a fabulous  event and it was great seeing so many of you in attendance.

Tonight’s newsletter contains the weekly student support services column from our social worker, Ms. Sara Solomon.

Have a great week!

Student Support Services Column
Hello Janney Jaguars, and Hello Spring!
Spring is here, and in that time honored tradition of Spring Cleaning, everyone around me seems to have become devout disciples of a certain organizing guru preaching the pleasures of a beautifully minimal, clutter-free life. That sounds great to me, but as a young friend said to me the other day, Ms. Solomon, I made a plan to clean my room, but it didn’t work because I just didn’t want to clean my room.

It wasn’t so much that she didn’t want her room to be clean, it was that the job of cleaning it was, to her, big and overwhelming, and she did not know where to start. That got me thinking about how we can help our kids, especially those with challenges in executive functioning, learn to get, and stay, organized. I came up with a few strategies and guiding principles for creating systems for these tasks. The good news is that these strategies also apply to grown ups!

  1. Take stock of your existing routines and develop strategies around what you and your kids do naturally. For example, take a look at the gaggle of coats, shoes, backpacks, umbrellas, hats, etc. that piles up next to the front door. If this is your family’s ‘dump spot,’ then this is the place to start. Rather than trying to get everyone to put things in the closet at the other end of the hall, use what they’re already doing and add organizing elements such as shelves, hooks, decorative baskets, etc. Instead of dumping, these items can just as easily be put away where they are, making it an easy routine to change/start. This also goes for actions: instead of making a special trip to take out the trash, grab it as you’re going out the door to walk the dog.
  2. If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.Keep the things you want to pay attention to, or the items you use the most out in the open within easy access. For instance, to make sure important papers that come home in backpacks are attended to, put an ‘inbox’ right next to the back pack spot at the front door, so that papers go right in the inbox and the backpack goes right on the hook. You’ll know where to find them, and your child can pick them up there in the morning to take back to school. This also works for mail. You can even add a recycling basket in the same spot for junk mail and other things that get thrown away.
  3. Put it to music. This is one I stole from teachers. It’s not so much for organizing things as for organizing your day, but it can also help your family stick to some of the organizing routines you’re creating. Also, there’s science to back it up. We remember music differently than other facts (this is why your child knows every single lyric to every single song in Hamilton, but can’t remember what they’re supposed to do for homework). Match the tasks in a routine to a song, and put your routines on a playlist. This is especially good for bedtime routines – you can start with something lively for cleaning up whatever the kids are doing, a calmer song for teeth brushing and pj changing, and end on a quiet song for getting in to bed for story time or lights out. This has the added benefit of being its own cue for starting the routine so you don’t have to be, which can cut down on bedtime conflict. Works for homework time, too!
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. If you try a new routine or system, and find that it’s not working, than it’s not the right system for you. Think about what parts worked, and where it didn’t, and try it again. For instance, if you create places for the things that get dumped in the front hall and the dump pile remains, than look at what parts of it didn’t work. Do the designated places need to be closer to the door, more accessible, or separated by item or family member? A system is only as good as it is effective for the individual using it, and it may take a few tries to come up with the system that will work for the unique needs of you and your family.

In general, when creating these systems, follow these guiding principles:
Routines – make it automatic so you don’t have to think about it.
KISS – keep it short and simple (and easy to remember) – the fewer steps to do, the more likely they’ll get done.
If it’s out of sight, it will be out of mind – keep the things you want to pay attention to out in the open.
A small change can make a big difference, and you gotta start somewhere.

For more specific strategies I’ve found this book to be a great resource: ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen Nadeau.

Thanks for reading and have a great Spring!
Sara Solomon
Janney School Social Worker


Alysia Lutz, Principal

  • Janney Calendar

    February 2021

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    • Beginning of Third Advisory
    • No School for Students, Teachers, Staff
    • DCPS Virtual School Day (No In-Person Learning)
    • Nando's Janney Night (40% goes back to Janney!)

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