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September 6, 2013

posted Sep 8, 2013, 1:12 PM by jmarcotte@sau4.org
Dear Parents and Guardians,

Why do the short weeks seem like the longest weeks?  We are just starting school and I feel like I am back on the treadmill, running.  It was good timing to receive my monthly Educational Leadership magazine.  This month’s focus is on Resilience & Learning.  Although I haven’t had a chance to read through the whole magazine yet, the few articles I have read have been informative and inspiring.  It has helped me reflect and reassured me that although I am “running”, that effort and energy does make a difference.

As I am reading these articles, I feel both hopeful and sad.  I am sad to read the different statistics on the numbers of students who live daily in adverse and challenging environments.   In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study entitled, Adverse Childhood Experiences Report by Adults.  Of the 29,212 adults surveyed:  59.4% experienced at least one of eight adverse childhood experiences.  The eight experiences included:  verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, incarcerated family member, mental illness of a family member, substance-abuser in their household, domestic violence and the absence of a parent because of divorce/separation.  29.1% had a substance abuser in their household and 26.6% experienced parental separation or divorce.  However, I am hopeful to read that research shows that schools are filled with the conditions that promote resilience (Werner, 2003).  Schools provide caring, encouraging relationships, role models and mentors; clear and fair boundaries and structure (Theron & Engelbrecht, 2012); exploration of other worlds and possibilities (Birdsall, 2013); and stories of overcoming adversity in literature, films and history (Walsh, 2012).  Community mentors, supportive adults and caring relationships do make a difference.  Having mission statements that include character development and a focus on building safe and welcoming environments help all students in their growth and development.

As I continue my journey on this treadmill, I will remember that taking those moments to care, support and listen does make a difference.

Have a great weekend