This year's International ShakeOut Day is October 20, when millions of people worldwide will participate in earthquake drills at work, school, or home!
At 10:20 am (local time) on 10/20, you can join millions of people across the world practicing earthquake safety. While we encourage you to participate with everyone, you can register your ShakeOut drill for any day of the year, and drill at a time of your choice.
More information is available at shakeout.org.
Washington State now has an Earthquake Early warning application you can put on your phone.
The MyShake App sends a warning to mobile phone users that shaking is about to occur. The system uses ground-motion sensors to detect earthquakes that have already started and estimates their size, location, and impact. When it detects a significant magnitude, the system issues a ShakeAlert® Message, providing a warning a few seconds before shaking begins.
NOTE: The MyShake App will be sending a test alert at 10:20 a.m., Oct. 20. The test alert should include test audio telling people that this is a system test, and no action is required.
More information about the app is available at https://mil.wa.gov/alerts#shakealert.
Resources in Multiple Languages:
Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA), an organization in California, has pertinent earthquake safety informational resources available to download in multiple languages. These resources are useful in any area prone to earthquakes, including Washington. Download resources in multiple languages.
Some scams may spoof the email of another officer to help make the request look legitimate. But there are things to check for before you reply:
Protecting Your PTA
There are a few things you and your board should be doing in order to protect your PTA:
Money Handling Policy
Need some help putting your money handling policies together or updating them? Council's money handling policies is available for you to use as a sample. Still have questions? Contact Council Treasurer, Serena Xu.
More Online Safety Tips & How to Report Internet Fraud
US.gov Online Safety
Remember: There is nothing more urgent for your PTA than to follow best practices and policies to ensure you don't get caught in a scam!
Phew! We’ve made it through another year! Oh, how we all could use time to recharge our bodies and minds. Our kids have gone through the wringer this year, with changing Covid protocols, school shootings, and other unpredictable events. These things quickly add up and take their toll on our mental health.
School is almost out, making this a good time to focus on recharging our bodies and minds. These upcoming summer months are a great time to revisit some mindfulness and self-care practices.
Mindfulness practice is an excellent (and simple!) way to ground ourselves in a busy world, to stay fresh, and to simplify our lives. Who couldn’t use that? When you focus on right now, this very moment and not the past or what is coming up tomorrow (or even in the fall), you can be more open-minded, intentional, have gratitude and grace.
One way to practice mindfulness is to start your day with a purpose. When you set an intention, it is more likely that your actions, words, and responses, especially during tough moments, will be more mindful and compassionate. This practice is best done first thing in the morning, before turning on screens or checking social media.
Here are some additional mindfulness exercises to try:
Remember: the purpose of these mindful exercises is to be intentional and focus on one thing at a time. By doing so, you will see improved balance and happiness in your daily lives.
Summer is the perfect time to slow down and smell the roses, as the saying goes. Play that extra board game with your kids before bed. Jump on the trampoline with them after lunch. Take a walk with your partner at sunset. Notice the little things that bring you joy. By being intentional and focusing on one thing at a time, you will see improved balance and happiness in your daily lives.
Be mindful. You, your family, and your mental health deserve it.
This article was brought to you by Northshore Council's Mental Health Committee.
Guest Presentation by Northshore School District Ethnic Studies Framework: NSD Assistant Director of Equity and Pedagogy, Melissa Riley, and Northshore students shared a presentation on ethnic studies in the Northshore School District. This presentation answered the questions "What is ethnic studies, why is it important, and what will it look like for kids?" The curriculum will be for grades Pre K-12 and more information can be found here: https://bit.ly/pesbccdei.
Approval of the January 20th, 2022 Meeting Minutes which were accepted with minor changes. Approval of the preliminary budget for the 2022-2023 school year.
Election of our 2022-2023 officers:
Thank you to our hardworking Nominating Committee, Diana Christiansen, Cherry Holmes, and Jasmine Lee Fry, for putting together the slate of candidates! Diana Christiansen read the Nominating Report. The self-nomination period was held in accordance with our e-voting policy with no others submitting their names for nomination. The election script was followed with a reading from the WSPTA bylaws. A motion was cast to accept the slate as presented, seconded, and approved by a voice vote.
Congratulations to our incoming 2022-2023 officers!!
*Please be advised that by the time the self-nomination period closed, no candidate had come forth for either Secretary or VP of Events. Council will continue to seek volunteers for these positions with the goal of holding elections for them at a future General Membership Meeting. If interested in serving in either of these roles on an interim basis, please contact us at email@example.com.
We hope you will join us for our next General Membership Meeting on May 16th, 2022 @ 7pm. This meeting will also include our annual Spring Recognition Event!
For a full list of our upcoming meetings and events, check out our Calendar.
It's April, and with only 2½ months of school left this year, it may be surreal to think that we are nearing the end of our 3rd school year affected by the pandemic. We may have lost things and we may gave gained things, but life is starting to emerge as something somewhat familiar. Some of us may feel abuzz with possibility. Some of us may feel trepidatious or overwhelmed.
How do we slow down, collect ourselves, and progress with more purpose and less stress after such a wild ride?
By practicing self-care.
By definition, self-care means doing what is best for us, like increasing our emotional and physical stamina, improving our self-esteem, and building resilience towards stressors that we can’t eliminate. Basically, the term describes a conscious act we take in order to promote our own physical, mental, and emotional health in order to be better equipped to live our best
Self-care isn't just about finding ways to relax. It's about taking care of yourself:
Carve out time each day to deliberately focus on self-care.
At first, this may seem like a luxury or selfish. However, proper self-care is something we all need AND deserve.
It is never selfish to make your mental health and well-being a priority.
Remember, you have to be okay before you can help others be okay!
This article was brought to you by Northshore Council's Mental Health Committee.
Following the film will be a pre-recorded panel session addressing frequently asked questions and common discussion topics from the film.
Register for a viewing link here: https://forms.gle/QPTrFZbXaf6FcnKY9
Deadline to register is Friday, April 1st.
This event is co-sponsored by Kenmore Middle School PTSA and Northshore Council PTSA.
For questions, email Abby Polasko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Almost all of our kids will be bullied, or be a witness to bullying, to some degree in their schooling years. The studies vary on how often, how many kids, and who gets bullied, but the fact is that too many kids are victims of this phenomenon.
The consequences of bullying can be disastrous. It can lead to physical injury, social and emotional scarring, lower academic achievements, self-harm, mental health struggles, and even death. Kids who bully others and are bullied themselves are at the greatest risk for mental health and behavioral problems.
What is bullying?
According to Psychology Today, bullying is a distinctive pattern of repeatedly and deliberately harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. The deliberate targeting of those of lesser power is what distinguishes bullying from garden-variety aggression.
Who Gets Bullied and What to Look For
The statistics are all over the place with bullying. Some things we do know are that a higher percentage of males than females report being physically bullied, whereas a higher percentage of girls report being the subjects of rumors and exclusion. As far as cyberbullying, it is reported the most among middle schoolers. Those that are cyberbullied are likely to be bullied offline as well. Students with specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavior disorders, and speech or language impairments are more often victims of bullying than their peers without disabilities. Also, students of color, and those who identify or are perceived as LGBTQ are at a higher risk.
Not all kids who are bullied ask for help. It is estimated that less than half of bullied students notify an adult at school. There are some signs to look for but understand that not all kids show signs. Another thing to note is that simply observing bullying can lead to a negative impact on mental health.
When school-age kids are victims of bullying, they are much more likely to have headaches and stomachaches, depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems. They might even experience sleep issues and nightmares, dropping grades, and may even drop out of school. They may come home from school with unexplained injuries, destroyed or lost personal belongings, and may also start showing discipline problems, as well as becoming increasingly more aggressive. Not surprisingly, there is also a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors.
Who Bullies and What to Look For
Children who feel secure and supported at home, school, and among their peers are less likely to bully. There are several factors that may contribute to youth that bully, but every individual is unique. Those who bully chronically tend to have strained relationships with parents and peers, and may also have school factors and emotional factors to consider. Due to these struggles, bullying can be a way of establishing social dominance. This can lead to a downward spiral if not addressed properly. Some of these behaviors may actually be cries for help.
Research shows that long-term bullies lack prosocial behavior, are not troubled by anxiety, do not understand others’ feelings, and often do not accept responsibility for their actions. They often misread the intentions of others and tend to have a kind of paranoia. As with kids who get bullied, kids who are the bullies have a higher risk of suicide-related behaviors.
What Can Be Done
The good news is that bullying is a behavior that can be changed. Those that bully or are bullied can benefit from support from school, the community, and trusted adults. These adults can teach new social and emotional skills, as well as healthy peer connections.
At the onset, the best defense against bullying is teaching kids social skills and helping them develop confidence in their own abilities. The second-best defense against bullying is to walk away and not fight back. As parents, we can regularly inquire about challenges our kids are having, and maybe even role-play some solutions. It's also beneficial to understand safety while using technology. Cyberbullying is a real thing. It's important to teach kids to use social media responsibly, respectfully, and safely and to keep their passwords private. If you are the victim or a witness in cyberbullying, don’t engage in any conversation online where bullying is occurring.
Bullying should never be ignored. For issues that are severe, persistent, or unresolved, the individual(s) who has(have) been the target of bullying or who has observed bullying should report the incident in writing or verbally to a staff member at
that school. Northshore School District is committed to a safe environment for its students where everyone is treated with respect, and no one is physically or emotionally harmed. NSD makes it easy to report tips on bullying, harassment, or any safety issue through SafeSchools Alert. Reporting can be done online, through an app, or by calling, texting, or emailing. NSD's SafeSchools Alert can be used by students, families, or staff to report the incident and can also be done anonymously.
Calling All PTA Advocates for Mental Health Awareness
Council's Mental Health Committee has been noticing inconsistencies with the accessibility to a school's mental health resources. We are asking our local leaders to take a few minutes to check out the website for their school to determine the following:
After checking out your school's website, if you find these things hard to locate or not available, we encourage you to advocate with your school office staff and principal to get these things included. If your school is already doing a great job at making mental health information accessible, we would love to know! Please email the link to your school's website so we can share it as a resource with other PTA leaders and schools looking to improve their mental health accessibility and awareness.
Last month Council held their 2nd General Meeting of the 2021-2022 school year. We appreciate all the local leaders from across the district as well as community and school partners who took the time to attend! Continue reading for a recap of this meeting.
General Updates from President Jane Chiodo:
Council Business: The minutes from the September 2021 meeting were approved as written. Council's AIM insurance for the year was renewed and paid for in October. The mid year financial review committee was appointed while the election for the Nominating Committee was postponed until the next membership meeting.
We hope you will join us for our next General Membership Meeting on January 20th, 2022 @ 7pm.
For a full list of our upcoming meetings and events, check out our Calendar.
In our area of the Pacific Northwest, many of us suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Often when
the seasons change to fall and winter and the days get shorter and darker, we might feel sad and not ourselves. We may have trouble sleeping, overeating, and have low motivation. Not only is SAD common in people with depressive disorders, but also those with anxiety, panic, or eating disorders, and those with ADHD. SAD affects mostly women, and generally the onset is between ages 20-30 years of age. This means it may not affect our children as much as us caregivers.
We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our loved ones.
While it is not fully known what causes SAD, research shows that low levels of the brain chemical serotonin plays a large role, as well as high levels of melatonin. Both of these help maintain daily body rhythms, along with sufficient levels of vitamin D. Traditional treatments include light therapy, vitamin D, talking to a therapist, and possibly some medications.
Additionally, with the holidays approaching, even more of us may suffer the Holiday Blues. This time of year can bring more anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness, unrealistic expectations, and even memories of the past that can lead to sadness. It might be helpful to remember that the Holiday Blues are short term, however, the effects can still feel all-consuming and should be taken seriously.
Here are a few ideas for Avoiding the Holiday Blues and SAD:
Get plenty of sleep
Exercise, even a little
Sit by a sunny window
Keep things simple
Eat a well-balanced diet
Set reasonable expectations and boundaries
Do things that make you happy
Take time for yourself to recharge
If these coping strategies do not help, consider talking to your doctor or your mental health professional.
Check out these links for more information:
Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Seasonal Affective Disorder (nih.gov)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) | Mental Health America (mhanational.org)
This article was brought to you by Northshore Council's Mental Health Committee. Visit our Mental Health Awareness Resources page to learn more about this committee and the other resources they have provided.