Dear DGS Families,
We blinked, and suddenly we are three weeks into September!
This week is a “Principal up on her Advocacy Pony” moment. Currently, teenagers in our school are asking us for help and they don’t even realize it.
Parents, we need your help. It’s important to have a “parenting relationship” with your tween or teen and the “T” word- technology. They experience a life online that as adults, we could have only imagined. This isn't meant to be about the "evils" of social media- it's about open involvement in your adolescent's online presence, digital citizenship for all, and putting protective factors in place for those times when their developing adolescent brains are on overload. Kids need us more than ever to show them we care, we are interested, and we are involved. Please, be involved. And, feel free to share this with other parents beyond our school, should you find it useful.
1. Know what your adolescents are doing on Social Media. When I say Social Media, I mean anything where they interact with content or other users, including youtube, Tik Tok, Snap Chat and Send It, Instagram, Omegle, Facebook (less common for teens to use in 2023), Discord, google docs and google hangouts, gaming platforms, messaging apps, etc. When I say know, I mean scroll it with them, ask them to share their DMs, group chats, if it’s a game, play it with them, be linked to them on the apps with your own account, ask them lots of questions, maybe even consider a program like Qustodio. (And the second they refuse to share what they are doing with it, pull their phone- technically, no matter who "pays" that bill, 13 year olds don't have registered mobile devices- adults do- and, it's your responsibility.) It's eye opening for parents when they realize this, especially when an adolescent has been making poor choices with social media.
2. Ensure that they are not connected to people they don't know IRL (In Real Life). Ask them questions about the people they do know. Don't be afraid to speak up to other families if you see their kiddos doing sketchy things online. Remember that it's quite likely that family doesn't realize what their young adult is posting/saying/doing. Come at it from a place of care, a place of "I am not sure if you are aware of this, and..."
3. Educate yourself about the apps and platforms they are using. Have accounts yourself. Know how to use what your kids are talking about, no matter how uncool they tell you you're being.
4. Ensure their profiles are created as "private" AND that they stay that way. As I have said to adolescents and parents, "If I can find your child's account, so can icky people."
5. Actually adhere the age restrictions for different Social Media apps. Most of what your kiddos will start asking you for in Grade 6 probably has a Terms of Service that states the user must be 13 years old to have an account. There are good reasons for this- “because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behaviour.”(raisingchildren.net.au). As you can imagine, one important consideration needs to be a child’s developmental readiness- at 11, they are not developmentally ready.
6. Repeat items 1-5 REGULARLY. It's not a one and done situation. What they do today they can undo tomorrow and then you're no further ahead and they are no safer.
7. Start today- be open-minded, caring, curious and most of all, be the thoughtful and "protective factor" adult they may not think they need, but they well and truly do.
The point of all if this is to say that the school cannot be solely responsible for social media protection and problem solving. When issues occur in the evenings and on the weekend, if the incident causes distress, harm or further issues for someone on a Monday morning, I need to be able to respond to it. Part of this response needs to be parental supervision and support of students and their devices. We greatly appreciate your willingness to work with us.
The Continued Work of Reconciliation- Activities Leading up to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
During the week of September 25-28, our students and teachers will be taking up work in our school related to our June 2023 Truth and Reconciliation commitment to further strengthening our learning community’s ties to land-based learning. We are taking guidance from our CBE Indigenous Education Team related to moving the work forward in a good way. Students are welcome to wear Orange any or all days next week. Each Grade Team will communicate their learning plan to you and your family at the end of this week.
School Engage digital forms regarding Demographics Verification and Annual Media Authorizations are now available for all families to complete. We know the system can be a bit temperamental and it may take a few tries to be able to successfully complete the form- please take the time to complete these important steps so that our office staff are able to finish their work with your forms.
Fall Interschool Sports Teams
Practices, meets and some games for Cross Country, Soccer and Basketball are all underway. The September Calendar for Fall Sports is posted on the DGS School website and has been attached to this message for your family’s reference. All tryout and practice schedules are made available on our school website for families and student athletes. If you have questions, we ask that you contact your child’s coach directly.
Cross Country Schedule
When’s Lunch? What to Bring Each Day…
This week we have seen an increase in the number of students coming without lunch. While we keep a minimal stock of emergency lunches on hand, we want to remind families that food for lunch is quite important to learning readiness in the afternoon. Healthy Hunger deliveries began this week, and we are offering a wider selection of food for sale in our servery at lunch. Items range in price from $1-3 dollars. We continue to offer hot water for soup.
Healthy Hunger is ready for orders
Account registration, meal selections and electronic payment are all to be completed by families on the Healthy Hunger website.
Orders are required 5 days before the lunch date.
Need to cancel an order? That is possible on your Healthy Hunger account, prior to the cut-off.
Please see their website for further information on the program.
If your child is absent on the day of an order, you may contact the school office to make alternative arrangements (examples: parent pick-up, donation, etc.).
Orders will only be held until 1:00pm the following school day.
Did You Know…
When we offer fieldtrips, we want all students to be able to participate, free from financial barriers. If you are facing challenges with fieldtrip fees, please let your child’s homeroom teacher know, and we are happy to set up alternate funding and/or payment arrangements.
Come Volunteer At DGS.
We welcome volunteers on field trips and with certain tasks at school or at home. Many activities or field trips would not be possible without the active participation of our volunteers. Follow this link for steps to volunteer with the CBE. As a CBE volunteer, you must have completed the annual CBE volunteer form and have a current police information check (PIC) to volunteer in the school CPS Vulnerable Police Information Check. If your PIC is not up to date you will need a volunteer letter. If you need to check if your clearance is still valid, please complete the registration form and send it to the office, so that we can look it up.
New this school year: it is no longer paid for by the CBE. The cost is $21.25.
Straight from CPIC website main page as of today:
"Processing: Police Information Checks are processed in date order. We are currently experiencing high volumes. We will not respond to status inquiries unless a full month has passed from the date your application was submitted. Once you have applied, please be sure to follow any further instructions you receive. Your patience is appreciated while we process your application. Results are available in your account for 60 days from completion. Please make sure you download and save a copy within this timeframe if desired. Your certificate will not be accessible in your account past 60 days, however, will be accessible if saved to a personal desktop or folder. Applications will not be processed immediately or expedited. We process all applications in date order of being received."
Parent Fundraising Society “Meet the Teacher 50/50 Draw”
We can’t wait to see you all on the evening of September 21! Who couldn’t use a little cash for late September? Our last 50/50 draw saw the winner walk away with just over $2000 in prize money. As of today, the total Jackpot sits at $1160, with $580 going to the winner. Funds raised last Fall have been invested in the purchase of 5 additional iPads for classrooms. We have ONE day until the big draw! Click here to get in the game.
We have again partnered with Pro Sport Clothing Company for our school branded items. The store will close at midnight on September 23, and orders are expected to be delivered to your home address around Thanksgiving. Check out our swag here:
Important Upcoming Dates:
As always, I am available to answer questions- email@example.com
Principal, Dr. George Stanley School