A Letter to the Shorecrest Adult Community:Our daily lives have changed in ways that might have been unimaginable even a week ago. We are all feeling a wide range of emotions as a result of the changes in our lives due to COVID-19: anxiety, sadness, anger, loss, loneliness, frustration, maybe even irritation. These emotions are, of course, very normal human reactions to such an extraordinary circumstance.
Often when we think of high-schoolers, we are reluctant to single one out over another, or lump several students into a group. After all, college admissions, class standings and athletic achievement can put enough pressure on our kids. But, sometimes, being part of a team, and working together to win a good natured competition is just the thing to bring a group of classmates together and build memories that will keep them coming home.
The Homecoming Spirit Week tradition at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida is a frequent feature in the speeches of graduating seniors, spoken of as one of the best group experiences for their class, and something they hold dear.
“What are they teaching kids these days?” It’s a question that perennially pops-up among parents. From “new math” to iPads in the classroom, school curricula are ever changing. But, the more things change the more they stay the same. The goal at the forefront of education is still to equip students with the skills to solve the problems they will face as working adults. One of the newest approaches to problem solving integrates social and emotional learning with basic science and social studies. A process called Design Thinking is taking hold with educators across the country.
It may not surprise parents and teachers that social media use among middle schoolers and teens is growing. Yet, many of us struggle to make sense of what our kids are doing online. We don’t understand what the fuss is about, and can’t seem to keep up with all the new apps and tools that are popping up. Often teens are more savvy than we might give them credit for. Common Sense Media, a website offering expert, parent and child reviews of technological entertainment, reports that 72% of teens believe that companies manipulate users into spending more time on their devices.
Limiting screen time probably ranks near the top of most “Dreaded Parental Duties” lists. Finding the right balance between “I just need a few minutes of peace” and the endless playback loop of Netflix is never easy. In my house, our rule is no screens after school, since the Bubble Guppies join us for breakfast on many mornings. To tell the truth, I thought I was doing pretty well in the screen-limitation-parenting department, until the afternoon that my three year old tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Mommy, leave the phone down. Play with me.” Clearly, limiting my son’s screen time wasn’t enough. I also needed to check my own digital devices at the door. It was a hard thing to hear.