From the Dean of Students
24 Pound Street
News from the Dean of Students
As I begin my second year in Medfield as Dean of Students , I am looking forward to meeting a new group of sixth grade students and their families as well as seeing familiar faces from last year. After 18 years of working with middle school students as a Spanish teacher and an administrator, I find that students in this developmental stage are fun, unpredictable, and very rewarding to work with. While the technologies that fascinate them are constantly evolving, middle school kids remain predictable in their unpredictability. One of the best parts of Blake is that there are opportunities for students to learn in an atmosphere that sets high expectations while providing plenty of supports. We even manage to find some time to have fun along the way.
Both students and their families need support and understanding in order to ensure a successful middle school experience. There are many ways that we at Blake are available to help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me, your child's guidance counselor, or your child's teachers if you have any concern or if you just want a sense of how things are going at school, academically or socially. You may call any of us at any time; do not be concerned that you are calling the wrong person. We are all here to help and will happily point you in the right direction if there is someone who will be better equipped to assist you. Families often ask me what they can do to support their changing middle school child at home. Below are a few suggestions that I have found to be helpful to some families:
1. Sleep—be sure that your child is getting enough uninterrupted sleep. Our school day is very busy and difficult to navigate when overtired. Help with this by trying to establish a consistent bedtime and distraction-free sleep environment. "Unplug" your child by docking electronics in an area away from his/her bedroom.
2. Offer organizational support—help your child get into the habit of checking the agenda book nightly, overseeing that everything is packed into the backpack to return to school the next day, and that s/he has a sense of time management for long-term projects. Some busy families find it helpful to note outside of school activities in the agenda book as well so that students have a clearer sense of when they will have time to work on school work. Not every child needs the same level of oversight—you know your child best and feedback from teachers will clarify what level of support is necessary for your child. Sometimes middle school children welcome support from school better than from home so be sure to let us know if this is a challenge at home.
3. Balance – It is important that our children have a sense of balance in their lives. This means time for school work, time for organized activities, and time to just play or relax in an unstructured way. As adults, we know that "unplugging" can be a difficult challenge, but a liberating one. Help your child to unplug, engage in free play, and enjoy family time. Be sure to reach out to us if schoolwork is creating a major imbalance in your child's life.
4. Monitor and report—Please reach out to me or to a guidance counselor if your child is struggling with a social situation that is causing sadness or worry. We continue to stress with students and parents the difference between reporting and tattling. Reporting is letting an adult know when someone is in need of help, tattling is telling an adult in an effort to get someone in trouble. From time to time, parents ask me what to do if they are aware of a child who is being targeted electronically outside of school, via texting or social media. Please consider contacting the parent of the other child if you feel comfortable, having a conversation with your child about the situation, and/or calling the school to let us know that a child is being targeted. When you reach out to us, we will take time to talk about how best to handle it. Often there is simply a need to let parents know that there is something inappropriate posted on their child's page that needs to be removed. Social media can be a challenge for adults to navigate responsibly—our young adolescents need our help making good decisions as they enter the world of social media.
Please do not hesitate to reach out at any time. Best wishes for a successful school year!