Sunday, February 9, 2020

Feb 9 Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope this message finds you well. I would like to thank everyone for making arrangements to take care of your children last Monday afternoon so our staff can have the opportunity to take part in professional development sessions. There were multiple opportunities offered for Winchester educators on a wide variety of topics that afternoon aligned with our district and school goals.  For example, McCall teachers worked on creating Performance Based Assessments (PBA) for science courses and learned about effective ways to give feedback to students through PBA’s. Many other teachers attended sessions related to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Those topics included a session on helping dysregulated students in the classrooms, supporting stress and anxiety at school, as well as learning about how to implement the RULER approach through its four anchors.

Many of you are familiar with the Charter and the Mood Meter - the first two RULER anchors. The Charter is about helping us think about the feelings we want to experience at a setting and determine what behaviors we should exhibit in order feel those emotions.  The Mood Meter promotes self-awareness by teaching us how to identify our feelings and helps us think about what information those feelings are giving us.

Some of our staff members are now progressing toward the third RULER anchor which is the Meta-Moment.  SEL is not just about helping us be self-aware; it is also about teaching us what to do with the feelings we have and how to regulate our emotions so we can achieve success.

The Meta-Moment anchor includes three important concepts which are Pause, Best Self, and Strategize. Learning how to Pause is critical when we encounter challenging situations that bring out strong emotions so that we do not respond in manners that we will later regret. Best Self helps us visualize the person who we aspire to be and think about how that person would respond to the difficult situation we are currently in.  Lastly, Strategize helps us  access the tools we have learned so that we can be that Best Self we want to be. Those tools can include deep breathing and take a water break.  The diagram below summarizes the key concepts of a Meta-Moment.


I am also attaching an article here by Marc Brackett, the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and RULER guru, titled
"Feel like you’re about to lose it? It could be a good time for a Meta-Moment".  In it he talks in detail about what it means to take a Meta-Moment.

Lastly, I would like to thank the following parent volunteers Beth Lepore, Jason Paragas, Colleen Tifrhalt, and Reza Jalinous who came to help chaperone Friday night’s 7th and 8th grade dance.   It is always a joy to see students be free of the typical pressures of a middle school day and have fun with their peers.  We could not create these opportunities for our students if we do not have your support.

Thank you and enjoy the upcoming week.

James Lin 

McCall Middle School

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