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    Family Letter from Kathy Hanson - May 8, 2020
    Posted on 05/08/2020
    cairn_sunsetDear TOPS Students and Families,

    I hope that you were all able to watch ANGST last week. I was amazed at all the information they shared for understanding the causes of anxiety and how we can all address anxiety in ourselves and in our children. The links to community providers were also quite impressive! If you missed the film and you would still like to know about the resources, please feel free to contact me.
    One technique that was mentioned in the video was “exposure therapy.” This technique helps people to identify a goal and then create a step-by-step plan to reach that goal. The steps gradually increase exposure to something that is overwhelming or scary. In my K-5 video this week, I offered a narrated PowerPoint that combined exposure therapy principles with basic principles of breaking down a challenging goal into small steps. I encourage you to watch it with your child and then work with your child on setting small goals for achieving a big goal. One thing that is challenging for many of our students, K-8, as well as our staff and families is online learning. I have had to create a step-by-step plan for myself! Before our closure, I did not know how to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Schoology, and I did not know how to create and edit a YouTube channel or a narrated PowerPoint. Whew! Creating small steps for myself (that also account for demands outside of work) has been very helpful. Additionally, being kind and patient with ourselves is not just important for us- it models this behavior for our children.

    Here is the link to this week’s K-5 video. That being said, this is very helpful information for all students and adults:
    K-5 Video: Steps to Success

    High School Course Registration for 8th grade families:

    Our TOPS 8th graders will be dispersing to at least 9 public high schools in our district, plus private schools. Please check on my Middle School Schoology page with your student for specific information and resources for each SPS high school. Some of you have students on waiting lists and are wondering if you should have your student register for courses at their currently assigned school. The answer is YES. Your student might not get the courses they want, otherwise. This course registration has nothing to do with waitlist status.

    Counseling Supports:

    I will be available to speak or email with you and/or your children while our school is closed (Mon. - Fri.). These sessions are FREE OF CHARGE and can happen by phone, email or video session. If you would like to set up a time to speak, please email me and I will reach out to you to schedule a time. If you or your family is in emotional crisis, call the Crisis Line at (206) 461-3222 or call 911.

    Resources specific to COVID-19:

    Support for Families During Covid-19 (Sound Supports)
    Talking to Children About Covid-19 (National Association of School Psychologists)
    Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety (Mental Health America and Shine)

    Health Resources:

    How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing (Mental Health First Aid)
    Mental Health Resources (SPS Coordinated Health)
    Fitness and Character Videos for Families at Home (Access code: AtHome)


    Basic Needs Resources:

    Basic Needs Emerald City Resource Guide
    Office of the Mayor: COVID Resources
    Rent Assistance- United Way King County
    Rent Assistance- All Seattle Kids Home


    Racial Equity Resources:

    Seattle Student Tech Exchange (technology donations and requests for students of color)


    Parenting Supports:

    World Health Organization's Healthy Parenting tips
    ReStart: Net Addiction Resources (resources for support with internet/screen addictions)
    Sound Discipline (parenting resources and supports during school closures)
    Digital Citizenship (K-8 lessons on healthy use of digital media)
    Supporting learners with ADHD

    Books I use to support students:

    Helping Your Anxious Child by Ronald Rapee, PhD et al.
    Freeing Your Child from Anxiety by Tamar Chansky, Ph.D.
    Yoga Calm for Children by Lynea Gillen, MS and Jim Gilen, RYT
    What to Do When You Worry Too Much, What to Do When Your Temper Flares, What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck, What to Do When You Grumble Too Much by Dawn Huebner
    The Invisible String by Geoff Stevenson - for young children to discuss difficult feelings related to death, loss and separation
    Impulse Control and Evidence-Based Insights and Activities for Teaching Kids Impulse Control by Tonia Caselman


    There are new TOPS elementary and middle school counseling courses in Schoology. I will be posting updates and resources for your students there. Additionally, I can now email students and set up appointments with them through the site!

    Kathy Hanson, M.A.Ed., Licensed Mental Health Counselor