Hitting the Summer Reset Button
Natalie Schaefer, Secondary Social Studies TOSA
To say that this has been a difficult year does not begin to address the myriad of obstacles educators have faced this school year. Teachers, if you have not already had someone say this to you directly, we appreciate you, we know you are working harder than you have ever had to work before, and we know that the work you are doing is positively impacting students throughout Jeffco. You have truly risen to the occasion and provided safe, loving, and educational environments for students. Thank you for all of the work you have done this year -- your service to our community is important and valued.
While I imagine many of you already have plans to recharge and reset for the summer, please consider some of the resources and suggestions below to get the most out of your summer reset. Kathleen Remington, manager and counselor with the Jeffco Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provided the information below to support teachers. Throughout the article are links to additional resources provided by Fran Taffer from Healthy Schools/Employee Wellness. Moreover, you can use the Summer of Wellness Activity Board to build resilience through gratitude, empathy/kindness, and mindfulness. You are important -- even just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in your overall wellness.
Wishing you a wonderful summer break and hoping you take the opportunity to reset and rejuvenate for next school year. We look forward to working with you!
Building Resiliency throughout the Summer
by Kathleen Remington
How do people deal with difficult events in our lives? Many of us are feeling more anxious and stressed or irritable as the school year winds down. We also may have less patience with others and ourselves. Many aspects of our current daily lives seem to be influenced by situations beyond our control. Concerns such as COVID, budget reductions, and the economy create uncertainty in our world. It’s difficult to return to “normal” or to even know what normal is anymore.
Resilience is strength in times of change, the ability to bounce back after stressful events or simply manage the ups and downs of everyday living. Being resilient does not mean that you don’t experience difficulty or distress, it is the ability to recover from and successfully adapt to adversity and life’s problems. Resiliency can be improved with learned behaviors, thoughts, actions, and skills that can be developed by anyone.
We can help ourselves in the process of adapting by becoming more resilient and more skilled at recovering from stressors.
Here are some tips to build more resiliency this summer:
For more information on self-care and resiliency, or to speak with an EAP counselor, please contact your confidential Employee Assistance Program at 303-982-0377 or visit our website at teamjeffco.jeffcopublicschools.org/eap. Your EAP offers no-cost assistance to all Jeffco Public Schools employees, their family members over age 15, and retirees. “We’re here when you need us.”
This year Jeffco is celebrating 50 years of Visual Arts Shows. Perhaps you’ve attended a Jeffco show in the past, and it is very possible that you’ve known a student whose work was displayed either at the Elementary Art Show (at Red Rocks Community College), the Middle School Show (at Lakewood Cultural Center), the High School Show (at the Arvada Center), or at the Equity Show (at the Jeffco Ed Center). Due to the pandemic, there were no live shows this year but we still found a way to celebrate both the history of Visual Arts Shows in Jeffco and the resilience of both our teachers and students, who have had to teach and create under shifting remote and hybrid environments, with limited resources and interrupted instruction. A partnership between the Jeffco Schools Foundation, community donors, teachers and district staff has made possible the ability for student work to be recognized, an excellent example of the Jeffco Generation Skills “Agility and Adaptability” and “Collaboration”.
Jeffco’s Visual Arts teachers' commitment to nurturing creativity and artistic skills from K-12 is why our students in Jeffco are able to produce such amazing work. As we know the arts are important to the development of our students in many ways, as noted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities: “Decades of research shows strong and consistent links between high-quality arts education and a wide range of impressive educational outcomes.” (2016). What are these benefits to our students? They acquire skills in communication, connect their work to history, develop problem solving skills, are encouraged to be inventive and take risks, and through study and practice become connected to their own culture and cultures throughout the world (Seneca Academy, 2021). In addition, studies have shown that greater arts education has led to fewer disciplinary problems and higher attendance, graduation rates and test scores (Missouri Alliance for Arts Education, 2010).
Though we were saddened not to be able to enjoy the artistic efforts of our K-12 students in person, creating a virtual showplace has had the added benefit of increasing access to their work, as seen by virtual visits from all the family and friends who may not have otherwise been able to travel to an-in person show. Jeffcoarts.com is our website where all of this celebration has come together. It gives visitors an opportunity not just to view student artwork by both school and medium, but a place to learn about what makes the Visual Arts in Jeffco so special. Here one can learn all about the history of the last 50 years, get to know some of our outstanding teachers, and gain appreciation for our sponsors and donors, without whom Visual Arts shows would not be possible. Another great feature of this website is the Guest Book, where visitors can share their thoughts and congratulations and vote for their favorite works. On October 9, the Jeffco Schools Foundation will have a live gala at the Arvada Center celebrating our 50th year, and the top three community selected works will receive a special recognition, one at each level (Elementary, Middle and High School). Please come visit and see for yourself!
Amy H. Flynn, M.A., Assistant Director C&I - Electives
Shannon May, Visual Arts Coordinator
Curriculum & Instruction