Message from Dan Rubin, Department Chair for Guidance

Dear Newton South Families,

I don’t know for sure the origin of the phrase, “May you live in interesting times”, but boy have the past few weeks been…well…interesting. As we’ve all been challenged to adjust our lives and routines, I hear people left and right using phrases like “new normal” and “unchartered territory”. I also have been hearing a lot of folks saying “we’ll get there” or “we’re not there” yet. It’s enough to make me wonder where “there” is anyway?

All of the changes to our lives are requiring us to adjust not only our routines, but also our goals and our vision. When I think about how we assess the success of distance learning, it strikes me that getting “there” is primarily about engaging students to feel ownership of and responsibility for their learning. With ownership and engagement as the goal, the content becomes a vehicle to get there, rather than the goal in and of itself.

This paradigm shift is a radical change for many of us. Regardless of whether you support this change or you are highly skeptical of deviating from traditional classroom instruction, our community is transitioning to distance learning. The more quickly students can embrace change and adopt a curious mindset, the more likely they are to develop new routines that will support success.

You may be wondering what you can do to help your child to adjust to schooling from home. Talking to your student about how they are feeling about the disruption to their school lives and this unfamiliar format is an important step. Acknowledging the range of emotions that accompany the uncertainty of the moment may help students to move from a feeling of loss to a feeling of acceptance

You will find a list of strategies in this article – That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief  that you can implement at home to support your students. If you have the time as a family – and it seems as though we all have a little extra time on our hands these days – I encourage you to take the time to watch this webinar that presents strategies to support healthy emotional regulation during stressful times. As always, please be in touch with your student’s school counselor and/or dean if you have any questions or concerns.

Dan Rubin, Department Chair Newton South Guidance