WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1011917

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Page 151 of 207

held safety and security drills to instruct students on what to do in the unlikely event of a school shooting. Wellesley Middle School Principal Mark Ito explained, "At first we were worried that a drill would make the students feel more anxious. But we realized that it could actually reduce stress since the students would be prepared and know how to act in an emergency situation." Weston Public Schools follow a similar phi- losophy. "Our kids participated in the walkout last spring in partnership with faculty and staff," said Principal Parker. Although kids can experience stress at any age, tension really ramps up when they start middle school. "Kids go through a huge develop- mental spurt both physically and mentally," said Anderson. It's impor- tant to watch for extreme situations in your children. Reach out for support if the stress turns into debilitating anxiety, if your child starts to view himself or herself negatively, or if they are so anxious about what's demanded of them they start to avoid everything. "If left unaddressed, this level of functioning can lead to a feeling of defeat as well as helpless- ness and hopelessness," Anderson added. De-stressing With increased awareness around the dangers of heightened stress, a lot is being done in schools to help kids manage it. This fall, Weston High School is moving to a later schedule, 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., so kids can get more sleep. "When you have more sleep you can cope, manage, and think better," said Principal Parker. The school is also trying some inno- vative learning approaches. Two years ago they piloted a 10-day June seminar for 9th-11th graders. Students choose what they want to learn about — e.g. Jane Austen, organic chemistry, Shark Tank, etc. — from up to 80 different topics. The classes aren't held in a traditional class- room. They're pass/fail. And there's no homework. "Both the teachers and students love it," said Parker. Wellesley High School has partnered with Challenge Success, a pro- gram out of Stanford's Graduate School of Education, to better under- stand student pressure points (through anonymous surveys) and "provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to be 150 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 8

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