Principal's Corner

Family 5

Sunday 6
March 29, 2020

Welcome to the close of another fantastic week at Marie Curie Middle School! Here is your weekly dose of the “Friday 5” (in the form of our first “Sunday 6”) – a list of what is happening at our school and what is on my mind. As always, please give me feedback. What information do you like the most? What do you want more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!!

Daily Attendance –
Starting tomorrow, Monday March 30th, we will change the location of the attendance tracker in your child’s google classroom. Instead of being in your child’s grade AP’s “stream” section it will be located in the “classwork” section in the form of a classwork assignment. It will also appear in the daily To-Do list as they log in. Please ensure your child logs in each day and completes the attendance question as this is our current system for tracking attendance. If you have any issues, please contact your child’s guidance counselor or grade assistant principal.

8th Grade Graduation –
We heard back from Queens College regarding our graduation ceremony date/time. More information on the day will be coming soon, but in the meantime please hold the following date: Monday, June 15th, 12:00PM, at Colden Auditorium at Queens College. Obviously, given the current health crisis this could be subject to change. We will keep you updated.

Managing Screen Time –
Here is the ironic situation I am in right now with my children (and I am sure you are too). As parents, we have went from “Put down your tablet and do your work and connect with your family and friends” to “Go get your tablet so you can do your work and connect with your family and friends”. Whether elementary or middle school, I am concerned the impact being so heavily plugged in will have on them when we do go back to social grouping. I was sent the below from our LMHC, Ms. Villacres. While not mind-blowingly original, I found reading through it to be helpful enough to increase my awareness and attentiveness to how my own children are engaging with their screen time while home.

Managing Screen Time
Technology has become an increasingly present part of our lives and culture. Phones, tablets, apps, social media, texting — they all can captivate kids (and adults) starting at a very young age. How can parents keep screen time healthy? Here are some tips to get you started.

• Model Appropriate Screen Use
Did you know? According to Common Sense Media, parents of children ages 8-18 spend more than 9 hours per day with screen media. Even before your child has a phone or tablet of her own, lead by example. Minimize the time you spend on devices when with your children. Show interest in non-screen activities. Set times of day that are screen-free, such as family dinner. Remember, your children are always learning from your behaviors, so be the person you want them to be when it comes to screens.

• Maintain Open Communication
Have frequent and open discussions with your kids about their use of social media and devices. Take the time to hear your child’s perspective; this will give you a platform to discuss digital issues that are important to you and make him more likely to come to you with his concerns. Cover topics such as showing respect and integrity, keeping personal information private, reporting any concerns about cyberbullying, and thinking before posting.

• Supervise Your Child
Parental monitoring is key to keeping your kids out of trouble, including online:
o Follow your child on social media sites
o Ask questions and have an open dialogue about your child’s activities
o Utilize tools to monitor or limit phone/tablet/computer use

• Remember, Screen Time Is a Privilege, Not a Right
Set and clearly communicate screen time rules and limits to your kids:
o Set time limits for weekdays and weekends.
o Be clear about which devices count as screen time; you may also want to set different limits based on the device (e.g., phone, video games, computer).
o Set a “digital curfew” for when devices will be shut off. Shutting devices off at least an hour before bedtime can help promote healthier sleep.
You can also utilize screen time to encourage positive behavior; kids can earn additional screen time for engaging in specific positive behaviors, and they can lose screen time privileges (in small doses) if they do not practice appropriate screen use.

Family Survey on Remote Learning –
As we all know, we are exploring uncharted territories as we build our remote learning system. I know that the teachers, support staff, and administration have received some emails with feedback on the family experience of our first week in remote learning. I would love to get a much broader view of your experience at home so I can bring data to our teams and help inform future planning. To that end, I ask you to please take a few moments to complete this brief survey. Thank you!

Podcast I’m Following –
I made a commitment to replace my commuting time with exercise and for me that means hitting the pavement and just running along with some of my favorite podcasts. Up toward the top of that list is The Peter Attia Drive Podcast. Over the last few years I have learned more about health from Dr. Peter Attia than anyone else I follow and [try to] model my nutritional, physical, and mental health around his research and experiences. In this past week’s episode he reviews the latest information coming out of John’s Hopkins on COVID-19 (now only a week later is very out of date) and is also joined by Sam Harris to discuss how his experience with meditation practices can help those who are struggling emotionally during this time, including talking to children without contributing to undue stress. I will highlight this latter portion of the episode as the reason I share, which takes place from the 38:00 mark to the 109:30 mark.

Quote I’m Pondering –
“If you understand the mechanics of your own mental suffering, if you understand how anxiety arises from the first person side… just actually able to witness it as a matter of experience, moment to moment… that allows you to get off the ride whenever you can remember to.” -- Sam Harris (from the above mentioned podcast)


Have a wonderful, safe, and healthy week!!

Hank Schandel