Bronco News 2-2-2022
.Hello from the Executive Director.
"There is always a storm. There is always rain.
Some experience it. Some live through it.
And others are made from it."
- Shannon L. Alder.
Hello Bronco Families!
I grew up in Washington with an orchard of trees and many types of fruit. Smelling the cherry blossoms in the spring and the apple sauce cooking in the fall are two of my favorite childhood memories. I remember climbing in the trees to pick the delicious fruit as it ripened into sweet perfection…and the fun of a good rotten apple fight with the neighbor kids when the fruit grew overripe and mushy. Orchards still bring me warm, fuzzy feelings whenever I see or visit them. A conversation in the office today reminded me of what I learned from an orchard about growth and strength.
As a child, I helped my dad plant new trees and listened to him talk about how important it was to give them support to grow up straight. We would put stakes in the ground around the trees the first year to help them get established. Then, in the second year, we pulled out the supports. During a particularly strong wind and rain storm I asked my dad if we should go out and put the supports back in. He said, “No. The trees will grow stronger trunks and branches because of the storm.” My eight year old brain didn’t quite understand how that could be possible, but my dad knew everything, so I trusted what he said.
When I grew up and decided to plant my own orchard, I heard the same thing from a wise, elderly tree nursery attendant. I lived in a windy area and planned to stake the trees well so they would grow straight and strong. The nursery attendant advised me to let the wind and elements build strong trunks for my young trees. I worried about my trees, fertilized them, pruned them, and kept damaging insects away, but I let the wind and elements strengthen them as I was taught. Fifteen years later, I had the most beautiful, abundant garden that brought joy to my own children and community.
The past couple of years seem like one very long tumultuous storm. Not that our children are trees, but they have definitely been hit by a storm of changing school scenarios, restrictive new rules, illness of family and/or loved ones, and a world torn up by two years of pandemic life. It has taken a toll! We are seeing it in our classrooms and hearing about it from many families. Fortunately, our students started life with structure, support, and a firm foundation. They have families, educators, and a community that cares for them. The storm will reside, and I believe they will come out the other side stronger. We are here to help. We want to help. We also need to recognize that it will take time.
We ask your help and understanding again in light of some somber facts about where we are right now. I am sharing information from the PEW Trust Institute and other research agencies about what is happening in education not to alarm you, but in the hopes that it will bring you some relief to know that what our school is experiencing is not an isolated situation. As adults, we are not always aware that children experience and process stress differently than us. Our children are stressed. Many are acting out in ways we would have never thought possible. Until the storm passes, and we have time to clean up the debris, a bit of chaos will be our reality. My hope is that we have enough energy and grace left in ourselves to pull together in love, understanding, and support to help our kids reclaim a sense of order and control. If we can do this, I believe they will become as strong as oak trees.
The grief, anxiety and depression children have experienced during the pandemic is welling over into classrooms and hallways, resulting in crying and disruptive behavior in many younger kids and increased violence and bullying among adolescents. For many other children, who keep their sadness and fear inside, the pressures of school have become too great.
Noting the pandemic's "devastating impact on the mental health of children, teens and young people," the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children's Hospital Association recently declared a national mental health crisis among children and teens.
“Nearly every child in the country is suffering to some degree from the psychological effects of the pandemic,” said Sharon Hoover, co-director of the University of Maryland-based National Center for School Mental Health.
Schools can provide extra support in the classroom to help students improve their aptitude in reading and math, but far more difficult is reteaching classroom manners, like raising your hand, waiting in line in the lunchroom and treating classmates with respect and kindness.
"We're seeing this whole big gap in social maturity that only happens when children grow together in person in the classroom," he said, adding that some teachers are reporting their students are arriving at school "angry, stressed and aggressive." Many elementary school-age children are displaying defiant and disruptive behavior that even experienced educators have found daunting.
“All of our schools are struggling to make up for learning loss,” Andria Amador, director of behavioral health services for Boston Public Schools. “But the schools that are the most successful are those that are focusing first on re-creating the school community,” she said. “Schools that are focusing purely on academics without helping kids feel like things are back to normal, are really struggling.”
The devastation is there. We want things to be fixed and back to normal. Better times and conditions are ahead, and we will get there with patience, understanding, and a commitment to rebuild the emotional, social, and behavioral strength of our precious kids. The challenges our children are facing can help them grow stronger with the right kind of nurturing and support. We are stronger than the storm.
.Hello from the Dean of Student Services.
When my mother attended school in rural Montana in the 1950s “school appropriate behavior” included wearing a dress every day, walking home for lunch (in the snow), and not speaking during lessons. My upbringing in Montana had tinges of the same. Our farming community was changing, but felt quiet and old still.
What does school appropriate behavior mean today?
Both educators and parents must re-define what school appropriate behaviors look like coming out of COVID, not just because distance learning has changed things, but because even beforehand, shifts were occurring that impact how people work together.
Some experts believe children in the 2020s are different because changes in technology have changed brains. Children access information quickly and easily, they are not accustomed to boredom, or stillness and silence being around their bodies. Technology infiltrates our lives and -without even realizing it- children come to school with far less practice in what most people still consider “school readiness.” Some experts think children do not know how to embody stillness because they’ve never really seen it fully - and that adults are wrong to blame children or find fault with them, but must find new systems that now meet their needs.
The Child Psychiatry Emergency Service at Massachusetts General Hospital argues that increases in anxiety in society in general are dramatically impacting children. Because children don’t want to expose their vulnerability, they act out instead in a variety of ways.
Other experts suggest parental expectations play a vital role in school changes: perhaps children are given their own way and our society revolves around children in a different way, so they have little skill in being a team player in a meaningful way with strangers.
It might be easy to mourn the loss of the old ways of schooling (or even parenting), but history has shown us that the only way we can move is forward. We must look closely at the treasures of the past, preserve them as best we can, and find new ways.
For the next several weeks, I’ll be talking about this concept of school readiness here. I think about it every day, as I attempt to support adults doing their best to figure out how to meet new needs.
This first week, I’ll offer one idea. School readiness - in our day and age - is about a readiness to play “student” alongside peers. It is not about knowing letters or sounds, or being ready to read. It is about readiness to listen to others, and a willingness to play with them and engage in give and take. It’s about the ability to be a two-way street and not just a one-way avenue.
Play remains at the core of authentic learning for children. But play takes many shapes and is not just our stereotypical idea linked to a playground or a board game. Play does not happen during recess, but is a part of everything. Children “play” being a professional student and learn the game. At times, we talk about this as a negative, but (according to historian Johan Huizinga), actually most all social systems and meaningful systems are versions of play.
Think about judges’ robes and priests’ garments. They are costumes! As serious as adults might get, this is still a kind of experimentation. We too put on an identity with a costume. That is play! This is entering a new space and being an “identity” temporarily.
Play matters because what we learn during play is something we can take out with us. When the “game” is over, we leave with new ideas and new information. Coming to school is a lot like that. Children take on a school identity and “play” student, leaving with things they learned while they played that game.
Perhaps schools are struggling right now, in part, because children may not always love this game anymore. While I grew up loving the smell of pencils and laminating things, those simple pleasures of the school house and it’s inherent joys seem harder to connect with. With COVID, this is particularly hard to pull off. Some of the “magic” of being a student can be lost.
As a parent, one of the things you can do is help your child find joy in being a student and “playing” school. What are the small and vital joys of being a child at school? What things does your child adore? As an adult, it can be easy to forgot how exciting and meaningful the small details are.
If you’re able, take time this week to talk to your child to learn what joys can exist for them at school. Is it the tiny slips of paper they get for respecting bubble space? (Bubble Coburg Coupons?) Is it walking to the gym, and the way the wall is strange there on the corner, like a climbing gym?
One way to help your child be ready for school, is to help them remember and savor the joy of being in a school building and all the sensory experiences and social experiences of being with peers, and adults who think the world of them.
- Liz Bruno
U of O Covid Testing: If your student is enrolled in the weekly covid testing through the University of Oregon, please put the provided label on the outside of the sample bag and write the date on it.
Existing Student Re-Enrollment:
To ensure placement in a class for returning students, please complete one re-enrollment form per current student. The online form can be found HERE or on our website by clicking on the school information tab and then the admissions ribbon.
Failure to complete and submit forms by 3:30 on February 11, 2022 may result in loss of placement in a class. If you have any questions, please contact the office. We are happy to help!
New Student Lottery Applications:
Siblings who are not currently enrolled but will apply to attend in the 2022/23 school year (as openings become available) must complete the Application for Lottery/Waitlist form. Forms received post lottery will be added to the waitlist. The online form can be found HERE or on our website by clicking on the school information tab and then the admissions ribbon. Applications are due by March 18, 2022 at 3:30pm.
You can sign up to receive emergency and weather-related text messages from the CCCS office by texting EZCCCS to 313131. You must sign up annually to maintain the service. Standard text rates apply.
Tuesday, February 7- Board Meeting at 6pm
Monday, February 21- Presidents Day NO SCHOOL
Thursday, February 17- Lottery Information 6pm VIA zoom
Thursday, February 24- Lottery Information 8:30am VIA zoom
If you got a letter in the mail regarding your child's immunizations, please get us updated information ASAP as exclusion day is fast approaching on February 16, 2022
Hello from PCS (People for Coburg School), the school's parent group.
The food drive was a success and the Coburg Panty is very appreciative! THANK YOU to everyone who was able to participate, and to the three lead volunteers: Andrea Cleveland, Charity Wright & Jaime McEvoy!
Three things to know or help out with this week….
TONIGHT! In case you forgot that Tasty Take Out Tuesdays started yesterday, you can still go to Coburg Pizza Company tonight and 25% of your purchase will come back to CCCS. Even if you have dinner plans, you can swing by and get a gift card. Note: you do have to go to the Springfield location tonight, but gift cards can be used at their Coburg location in the future. Here is the Coburg Pizza Flier for tonight.
Next week, Crumbl Cookies is giving a percentage of all sales from 3-6pm on Tues. Feb. 8th - even gift cards, which is a great Valentine’s Present. You don’t even need a flier for this one (but one is attached HERE if you want to see more details). Please help spread the word! For the full list of upcoming restaurants or to download the fliers, see the PCS Current Events.
PCS will meet on Friday, Feb. 11th at 8:30 am (via this Zoom Link; Meeting ID: 810 8114 5305; Passcode: 727309). Please join us to discuss the spring events!
Questions or comments? E-mail PCS@coburgcharter.org. Thank you!
Thank you to our February sponsor, Kara Schmidt - Principal Broker & Agent with Elite Realty Professionals!
Help support people, that support our school! Kara is a residential real estate broker that works with buyers, sellers, and investors!