I am excited to connect with you through PTO this year. Each week I will provide updates on ways the counseling team is supporting children and families. Then, I will provide resources that will help all of you navigate school, parenting, and COVID.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (email@example.com.)
End Of Year Message From Dr. Kassoy
5/24/2021 2:10 pm
Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to me this year with comments on my section of the newsletter.
Since this was my first year providing counseling updates and *Food for Thought* submissions, I welcome any feedback. Please let me know how this was helpful and ways that I can improve my communications with all of you.
In addition, please be on the lookout for dates and times for our monthly Summer Parent Coffees. Angela and I plan to use this as an opportunity to partner with each of you about ways to support your children and families as we continue to emerge from this pandemic. In addition, we will introduce the interim principal to ensure a smooth transition for everyone.
I wish each of you a restful summer with moments of joy and much needed laughter.
Until next time,
Counseling Team Updates
5/17/2021 2:02 pm
Just a reminder that Angela and I would like to invite you to our last Zoom Family Coffee on Monday, May 24th at 6:45 – 7:30pm (https://zoom.us/my/
Please note that our last Online Academy MeetUp is this Wednesday, May 19th, from 4:15 to 5:30. There was a previous INCORRECT date given for this gathering. My apologies. We will meet by the new benches at the front door of Wickliffe and end the year by making Warm Fuzzies to celebrate our successes throughout this challenging year.
And lastly, I would love your feedback. This was my first year providing counseling updates and *Food for Thought* submissions for the PTO newsletter. Please let me know how this was helpful and ways that I can improve my communications with all of you.
Dr. Kassoy's Food For Thought
5/17/2021 1:54 pm
The countdown to summer continues!
As you are planning summer opportunities, I would encourage you to think of ways to move your children off of their devices and back outside. There is no doubt that the increased use of screens over the past year was a necessity. Learning online and staying connected with family and friends via Zoom were vital to maintaining their social, emotional, and cognitive growth.
But now it is important to reclaim some of that screen time for other activities such as engaging with nature. In this National Geographic article you can discover a few ways to turn your children into *wildlife detectives.*
Have fun exploring in a park or just in your backyard.
Until next week,
Resources for AAPI Heritage Month
5/9/2021 10:14 pm
As we continue to pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success through our celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI), I would like to pass along additional resources from Common Sense Media.
I encourage you “to [explore these] exciting stories about people who live in or have ancestors in many different Asian and Pacific Island countries, including Japan, China, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan” in these books. You will find a variety of genres that appeal to all ages.
And although “Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander characters and actors are still underrepresented in Hollywood, the movies on this list are helping to lead the way toward better representation. [They] focus on authentic lived experiences, stories, and characters without relying on stereotypes. They portray and celebrate a wide range of people and cultures, from the Pacific Rim to the United States. From martial arts classics and fun romantic comedies to family-friendly anime, powerful documentaries, and intense action movies, these movies [also] cover a wide range of genres.”
Rudine Sims Bishop, professor emerita of education at The Ohio State University, who has been called the “mother of multicultural literature” reminds us that stories (books and movies) can be both mirrors and windows, either a reflection one’s own identity or a way to see and experience someone else’s. What a great way to celebrate our differences and embrace diversity.
I hope you and your family enjoy immersing yourselves in these AAPI books and movies.
AAPI Heritage Month - History and Activities For Kids
5/3/2021 1:44 pm
As we begin the month of May, I wanted to share some resources with you about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) which pays tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America's history and are instrumental in its future success.
Why it's important: The Asian American or Pacific Islander populations is the fastest growing demographic in the United States, yet the experiences of this group have long been overlooked and misinterpreted. And an increase in anti-Asian violence over the past year underscores the need to foster more awareness and understanding. But what does that mean for kids? Decades of research show that representation matters: When children see themselves reflected in books, movies, and other media, it empowers them to imagine more possibilities for their future. And for all kids, learning about other cultures nurtures empathy and a broader view of the world.
- This article from Parents magazine provides a brief look at the history of AAPI month as well as many activities to do with your children to help them celebrate their identity or better understand the identity of their AAPI peers.
- Although this webinar is designed for educators, I am passing it along to you as another resource. It is on my summer list of “Books to read, Webinars to watch, and Podcasts to listen to” so I have not watched it, yet. But it comes from a trusted nonprofit org, Learning for Justice, which promotes racial justice and the human rights of all people.
I am also excited to share that two UAHS students, who are Wickliffe grads, reached out to me about creating a program that connects our high school students with elementary schoolers during lunch. Their goal is to “educate younger students about the diverse voices found here in UA, as well as to provide the opportunity to talk about discrimination.” I will be meeting with them this week, so stay tuned for updates on this exciting idea.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save The Earth As A Family
4/26/2021 1:33 pm
This past Thursday, April 22 was Earth Day. It was established as an international event celebrated around the world to pledge support for environmental protection. The year 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of the annual celebrations. This year's theme for Earth Day is 'Restore Our Earth'.
As we begin to emerge from this pandemic, it is a good time to renew our commitment to being eco-conscious.
This article from National Geographic provides 20 ways to save the earth as a family. Personal actions can make a difference. I encourage you to share this with your children and friends and challenge yourselves to try something new!
4/19/2021 2:26 pm
As we are heading into the homestretch of this year, coupled with the beautiful weather this past weekend, I couldn’t help starting to think about this summer. Although this summer will look a bit better than last, each family still is faced with making decisions for activities based on their need for COVID-safety.
So here is one resource for summer activities. When you open this link, please scroll down and click on Franklin county. I will be sharing different ones over the next few weeks. Please note that I have not vetted them for COVID protocols. Therefore, I encourage you to do so. On a personal note, much to the disappointment of my 9 year old granddaughter, her mother and I have had to cancel a summer camp that she has been eagerly anticipating attending. However, after reviewing the camp’s family handbook (which wasn’t available at the time she was registering) the decision has been made that she will not be able to attend. My granddaughter is feeling let down, but her safety comes first. I share this to let you know that I, too, understand that there are difficult decisions that will confront you as you plan for the summer.
As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Apps Designed For Kids On The Autism Spectrum
4/12/2021 11:54 am
According to their website, “The Autism Society of America has been improving the lives of all affected by autism for over 50 years and envisions a world where individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued” The month of April is now a time to move away from using “awareness” to using “acceptance” to foster change and inclusivity for those affected by autism.
The concept of neurodiversity was introduced in the 1990s by Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist. The idea that there are brain differences are just that: differences. Those differences appear in how the brain is “wired” and how it functions to support thinking and learning. Autism is one type of neurodiversity.
As we continue to honor and celebrate diversity, neurodiversity is definitely embraced at Wickliffe. Although COVID temporarily paused Wolfpack, this is an amazing example of children at Wickliffe supporting one another. The Wolfpack, created by Kelsey Trausch, is a peer collaboration program in which students learn and work with their classmates who are neurodiverse during classroom activities and social opportunities with the goal of promoting acceptance of individuals of all abilities and creating lasting friendships. We eager to restart Wolfpack this fall.
Common Sense Media has shared several apps that are designed particularly for kids on the autism spectrum. I hope these resources are helpful.
Finding Hope at a Hopeless Time
4/5/2021 11:00 am
Emerging from the pandemic seems to be in the forefront of our minds. With so much work yet to be done and many COVID restrictions still in place, remaining hopeful can be challenging.
Although this article was written for educators, I think there are many helpful takeaways for parents and caregivers. Nora Fleming embedded many scholarly articles in her writing to demonstrate that the concept of hope and its impact on youth is supported by evidence-based research, not her opinion. Though I have not read each of the articles, the ones that I did read illuminated the concepts that she was discussing.
As always, I hope that this article validates something that you already know about or are doing with your children with respect to building hope as we emerge from this pandemic. Or perhaps, it gives you some new ideas or insights about how to support your families.
How To Help After Racist Attacks
3/29/2021 12:02 pm
Hate crimes targeting AAPI folks have raised many questions amongst our parents and children over the recent weeks. In this newsletter I will address two that have been brought to my attention and invite you to continue this conversation with me, your children, and each other.
How can I be an ally? This article from the Los Angeles Times provides strategies for adults who are witness to race-based harassment or violence. According to this article, “the most important thing to know about intervening as a bystander is that your job is to create a safe atmosphere for the targeted person, not to confront the attacker. You aren’t Batman stepping in to fight the bad guys. You’re a human, being a friend to someone who needs it.” I hope that the 5 Ds presented in this article are useful.
How do we support our kids? Last week I attended a webinar entitled, Violence Against Asian Americans: How Do We Support the Children, hosted by EmbraceRace and found it to be very informative. The conversation was facilitated by two experts in the field. Dr. Anatasia Kim a professor, clinician, and consultant in Berkeley, California and Manjusha P. Kulkarni, the Executive Director of Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON), a coalition of over forty community-based organizations that serves and represents the 1.5 million Asian Pacific Islanders in Los Angeles County. There were many helpful strategies discussed about this critical topic. The one that resonated with me the most was the importance of caregivers being grounded and providing compassion to oneself. When children are feeling unsettled, they need an adult that feels centered. Though this is no easy task, as Manju and Anastasia explained, it is critical to the well-being of our children trying to navigate their emotions and the world around them. I encourage you to listen to this webinar.
We must continue talking to our children about anti-Asian bias in a developmentally appropriate way as children begin to develop their racial identity at a young age. And we must help children have a healthy sense of who they are and celebrate our differences if we are going to create a better world for all of us.