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On The Point blog
from Rock Point School

Current Affairs: Teens and Anxiety

on May 4, 2017 By CJ Spirito | high school anxiety
I had a plan going into our weekly School-wide Reflections meeting before vacation, but as often happens when working with teens, my plans changed. Looking at their faces, tense bodies, and the general lack of attendance, I wondered what was going on. So, I asked. My students, as usual, surprised me with the depth and breadth of their answers.
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Drawing Out the Quiet Power of Introverts in the Classroom

on April 6, 2017 By Abbey Baker | high school anxiety
Earlier this year, I read an NPR interview with Susan Cain, author of Quiet, and most recently of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. In it, Cain reveals a nationwide growth in understanding that sometimes quiet students are just as engaged, talented, and successful in school as their extroverted peers. Cain points out that as a culture we’ve tended to value the extroverted person for their willingness to contribute, their confidence, their assertiveness. In school, we often encourage extroverted behavior by grading students on class discussion and presentations. But this approach may have missed something important: introverted students need to be valued for who they are, and then led slowly, rather than pushed, out of their comfort zone.
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Summer Planning for Teenagers

This time of year, many of our students and families are planning for the summer. As the weather warms up, our students are already anticipating sunny summer days with fewer responsibilities and the possibility of sleeping in. While having time to relax and to take a break from the rigors of the school year is important, we also know that having some kind of structure in place during the summer helps keep our students on track to be successful in the following school year.
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What's in a Pronoun: Language and Inclusivity

on February 22, 2017 By CJ Spirito | Open & Inclusive
In my work with high school students, the “pronoun question” comes up regularly. For some students, it is something they have never thought about before - some might even not remember what a pronoun is! For others, the pronoun you use when talking with them is something that matters deeply to them and signals either acceptance of their identity or rejection. Some students may still be struggling with their gender identity and not be certain how they want to be defined, and others may not fit neatly into the gender binary of the English language.
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Setting Goals to Stay Motivated in the New Year

on January 9, 2017 By CJ Spirito | Motivation high school life skills
It’s the start of a new year and everyone, it seems, is making resolutions and setting goals. While many people are unable to maintain their resolutions beyond the first few months, there are ways to help make them stick. At Rock Point, we love helping our students set and achieve their personal goals. One way we are doing this, is through Personal Learning Plans, where each student outlines their long term and short term goals, with the steps required to achieve them along the way.
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Teaching Teens to Navigate Health Care

on December 1, 2016 By Alison Cannon | high school resilience
There are so many skills we work to teach our children, and among them is how to become a good self-advocate. As the nurse at Rock Point School, one of my jobs is to help students learn how to utilize the health care system and to become effective consumers. As children get older and become teenagers, it is important for them to begin to take ownership over their health and wellness.
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Teens and Adoption: Identity, Inclusion, and Independence

In October, we hosted a discussion with local therapist and adoption specialist Benjamin Houchen on Adoption and Adolescents. We invited families in our community to join us to share insight and ask questions about how best to support teens who were adopted. While each family is unique, Houchen addressed the themes that emerge during adolescence and the particular significance they have for children who have been adopted.
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Helping Teens Transition After Therapeutic Programs

Wilderness and therapeutic programs can be a significant resource for some teens and families. These programs provide a safe and structured environment where young people can work through a crisis point, address behaviors that are harmful, and gain emotional and social skills that will allow them to flourish. Because many of these programs are designed for short term treatment, families and educational consultants can be left searching for the right “next place” for their teenagers.
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Nurturing Grit and Resilience for Better Learning

If you’ve been paying attention to the educational landscape in the past few years, you’ve probably heard the terms “Social and Emotional Learning,” “Grit,” “Resilience,” “Life Skills,” or “Soft Skills” being thrown around. While it is clear that these skills are extremely important to our young people and can be a large factor in determining success, it can be difficult to sort out which specific skills fall into these categories and how to teach them. At Rock Point School, we refer to teaching these skills as educating the “whole person.”
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Are You Worried about a Gap Year before College?

on June 1, 2016 By CJ Spirito | gap year
You may have heard that Malia Obama is taking a year ‘off’, known as a gap year, before she enters Harvard University in the fall of 2017. This news has brought lots of attention to what has become a trend - students taking a year between graduating high school and beginning college. To some, this seems like a luxury, and certainly there are luxurious excursion or adventure options for a gap year, but to others this year can be extremely beneficial and make their college experience more meaningful.
Read - Are You Worried about a Gap Year before College?