January 4, 2018
Dear Northwood Families,
Welcome back to school and welcome to 2018. We hope you had a wonderful Winter Break.
Topics in this letter include:
• Mindfulness and Focus Character Traits
• Student Conflict Resolution, Problem-Solving, and Discipline
• Upcoming Events
Mindfulness & Focus Character Traits
Our Social Emotional Learning continues school-wide. Please see our Mindfulness webpage to learn more about this month's Mindfulness Challenges and our Character Trait focus on Empathy. If you are interested in learning about and/or practicing Mindfulness with your child at home, please see this option for a parent-child practice, created by one of the instructors at MindfulSchools.org: A Mindfulness Practice with Your Child
Student Conflict Resolution, Problem-Solving, and Discipline
Conflict is a natural part of any community, whether that is a family community, a school community, or a larger community. How we, as a community, resolve conflict is truly at the heart of the matter. When two (or more) students have a conflict while at Northwood, it is our goal to not only get the current conflict resolved but to instill in all students involved the ability to problem solve, as this is a life skill that will support them in their future.
When students have conflicts, we want to take the necessary steps to make sure that all voices have been heard. We want the students to have some “take-aways” from the problem-solving conversations that can be applied to future conflicts, and we want to make sure that all involved feel safe.
At the elementary level, we are working on restorative practices with our students. This means that each individual has the ability to tell his/her side of the story, that students have a chance to share their feelings (I was scared, what you said hurt my feelings, I don’t know why you said you didn’t want to play with me because we are friends....) and that there is a chance to apologize. Once an apology has been made, we teach the kids that they have the ability to accept or reject an apology and if the apology is rejected, we continue to talk until all involved feel as though a resolution has been reached. We coach students to say “I accept your apology” rather than “That’s okay”, as the acceptance indicates that the conflict has been resolved and all involved can move on.
We also make conflict an opportunity to remind students that there are adults on campus who will help them: recess teachers, classroom teachers, office staff, to name a few. We may also use the a conflict resolution session to practice self-advocacy skills; how to say “No!” or “Stop!” like you mean it, as well as what to do if someone says that to you (stop the behavior as it is making someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable).
While we understand that some parents want to know the consequences that have been given to the “other” student(s), we are not at liberty to share this information but want to reassure you that we are working with the students to stand up for themselves, seek adult help, and report.
Conflict, while uncomfortable, can provide a great learning opportunity for all involved; an opportunity for those who have made a bad choice to see the impact of their choice, the opportunity to make amends, and the opportunity to learn and grow from the current conflict and apply this new learning to future interactions.
Students want to make good choices and sometimes they need some support along the way. We consider adult-assisted conflict resolution and problem-solving to be valuable supports to help students grow as community members.
• 1/15/18 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School
• 1/18/18 - Mercer Island Parent Edge Event @ 7:00pm in Northwood Commons - Jason Frelot "Kids and Race: Changing the Conversation"
• 1/18/18 - 5th Grade Band Curriculum Night @ 6:30pm in IMS Commons
• 1/23/18 - 5th Grade Instrumental Music Concert student assembly @ 9:30am
• 1/23/18 - 5th Grade Orchestra Curriculum Night @ 6:30pm @ IMS
• 1/24/18 - PTA hosts Northwood International Night in the Northwood Commons @ 6:00-8:00pm
• 1/30/18 - Kindergarten Information Night @ 6:00-7:00pm in Northwood Commons
• 1/31/18 - Kindergarten Registration Begins (online) 1/31/18 - Childfind @ 10:30am (see MISD website for information)
Principal | Northwood Elementary School
The Mercer Island School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, marital status, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.