Be Ready! Takeaways from Dr. Myron Rolle’s Lecture

February 15, 2018
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Contributed by Grace Dennig, 8th Grade
A visit from “The Enlightened Warrior” on January 27, 2018, started the new year off with a bang! Listening to Dr. Myron Rolle at Holy Comforter was incredibly inspiring. Dr. Rolle is only 31 years old; still, he is an accomplished athlete, a doctor and he established a foundation. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Rolle is a Rhodes Scholar and an advocate for foster children and Native American groups. He also played football in the National Football League.
Dr. Rolle talked specifically about dreams, education, fitness and leading others. In a humble but incredibly confident way, he shared his tips for his success. Dr. Rolle gave three simple steps to follow to allow each person to make the most of their own life – how to fulfill their own purpose.
  • Identify your fire! What makes a difference to you?  What is your passion?
  • Load yourself! Equip yourself to do the things that need to be done. Get the right armor.
  • Move! Do it! Get going and mobilize.
Many people are born with an internal compass which seems to navigate the course of their lives. For example, Dr. Rolle was gifted academically and athletically. Still, you do not have to have the same gifts nor do you have to have gifts the world may seem to place the highest attention on. The takeaway for me from Dr. Rolle’s visit and conversation was to use your gifts to identify your passions, prepare yourself to make a difference and then, do it! As Dr. Rolle communicated many times, there will come a time in your life when you will get to choose the opportunity to bust through a door that has never been opened; so, be ready!




A Day in the Life of an HCES Preschooler

December 15, 2017
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“Good morning, sunshine!”

You are awakened from your cozy bed by your mom or dad’s warm, smiling face. Today is not a “stay home” day, but a school day – hooray! Hurry up and get dressed, brush your teeth and jump in the car. Oops! Run back inside and get your backpack. Buckle up and eat your breakfast as you race to school to get there before the bell.

As you pull up to the gate, you are greeted by a sweet, friendly teacher who helps unload you and all of your belongings from the car. You run to the playground and enjoy playing with your friends until the bell rings at 8:05. “8:05, 8:05!”- kids chant excitedly as they are ready to head inside for the start of school. You scurry down the hallway to your classroom where you are greeted by your teacher giving you morning hugs and reminding you to unpack your lunch and snack.

The classroom is set up with a variety of learning centers for you to choose where you would like to start your day. You may choose home-living where you can play in Santa’s workshop, the playdough table where you can roll out and pretend to bake Christmas cookies or recreating the Christmas story with the Nativity play set. Magnet blocks, legos, puzzles and the art center are also great choices. It is so hard to make a decision when there are so many fun activities to explore!

After playing in centers for a little while, we all clean-up and sit on the rug for circle time. Maybe it will be your day to be the leader or the helper. We do calendar, reciting the months, days of the week and counting to find out what day we are on. We then count by 5’s as we count how many days we have been in school. Wow, we made it to 71! Not too much longer until we get to 100 days of school and have our celebration!

We stand together and recite the pledge of allegiance and the honor code. We then check the weather, sing some songs and read a story about Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Now it is time to say the blessing, wash hands and eat snack. Snack time is fun as we get to visit with our friends and then it is off to music.

We love to go to music where we get to sing and dance. After music we head to chapel. We love going to chapel and learning about God and how to live in God’s way. We sing songs, say prayers and listen to bible stories. Chapel is over and it is time to go to the playground. We are so excited to run, climb, and ride bikes! We can build with waffle blocks, play in the sandbox, swing, play ball or just enjoy being outside and playing with our friends. Wow, we played hard and now it is center time again. We go inside and listen to a story about Christmas and giving gifts to others. We talk about the importance of giving to others and learn the difference between wants and needs. An important lesson for us to understand.

Now it is time to go to centers. We make a Santa craft at one table, gluing, painting and using a yarn to make Santa’s beard. We work on an activity with the teacher cutting and gluing wants and needs into each column where it belongs, helping us learn more about the difference between the two. We play in home-living, play with kinetic sand in the sand table, create a melting snowman out of shaving cream and build the North Pole with blocks. It is been so much fun in our classroom today and we have had a very busy morning!

We end the morning with a friend sharing her share toy, read our friend’s adventures over the weekend with the backpack buddies and pass out the class books. Time for the goodbye song for our friends who go home for lunch and then the blessing so that we can eat our yummy lunch! What an exciting day filled with learning, exploring and playing with our friends! We can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!





How to Help your Child See Failure as “Speed Bumps”

November 15, 2017
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Contributed by Beth McCann and Jenna Long, Guidance Counselors

“Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.” -C.S. Lewis

In the precious years of young childhood, we often shelter our children from things we consider “bad.” In many arenas of the big world, this can serve our children well.  However, there are times that our instinct to shield our children can keep them from learning valuable life lessons.  A perfect example of this is failure.  It can be so hard to watch our children struggle and fail, but the emotional growth that can be gleaned from these opportunities can be immeasurable.   I often refer to these early failures as “speed bumps.” Speed bumps are just that: bumps. Experiencing these bumps in the road at an early age while the stakes are lower can offer a chance to develop strong character and solidify values.

Speed bumps can pop up in a variety of ways.  Perhaps the bump in the road is a poor grade, a lie told, a friendship derailed, or a poor behavioral choice.  Whatever challenge is presented, adults can help children see these as opportunities to build character. Traits such as resiliency and perseverance are vital to success in the broader world. Allowing natural consequences to happen will help teach a young child that he/she is capable of handling difficult situations and that he/she  can do better next time.  Failure does not have to be the end of the world.  Supporting your child through conversation, mutual problem solving, and nurturing will help him/her feel empowered and a sense of “I can.”

Adversity can also help a child begin to solidify their values and gain a stronger sense of self.  What type of friend does he or she want to have and be for others? What kind of student does he or she want to be? Experience with both success and failure can be extremely valuable teaching tools.

As we applaud our children’s success, let’s also help them view speed bumps through a lens of learning and growing. Failure is a part of the journey of growing up. While it may be difficult to watch our children experience adversity, it offers a terrific chance to learn valuable lessons about who your child wants to be in life.  These core values and the ability to be resilient and persevere through the hard times are lessons that will undoubtedly stick with them far beyond their lower school years.





7 Things Parents Can Do To Keep Up With the Kids on Social Media

October 26, 2017
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Contributed by Holli Scharinger, HCES Technology Coordinator

Just when you’ve gotten the hang of Facebook, your kids have moved on to the latest and greatest social media app(s).  Keeping up with your kids on social media can be a lot like taking a drink of water from a fire hydrant.  It’s all just too much too fast!  New social media apps emerge all the time, and with these apps come new bells and whistles.  How can you possibly keep up with it all?  Well, the good news is, knowing what to look for in one app will help you know what to look for in other apps.  This will help you better guide your kids in their social media use and avoid some of the most common dangers.

What exactly should I look for in a social media app?  I’m so glad you asked.  Here are some things to look for with social media apps:

  1. Is the content shared on the app age-appropriate?  Most social media outlets feature user-generated content.  Is the content shared by others within the app age appropriate for your child?  Try using the social media app for yourself to see the content that shows up in the feed, and perform searches of content that you would not want your child to stumble upon.  See for yourself what a content search will return before allowing your child to perform searches of his/her own.  It’s a good rule of thumb to read through the app’s “terms of use” to see what it will and will not allow.  Make sure that the app allows those that violate the app’s policies to be reported.
    Some examples of apps with age-inappropriate content include: Ask.fm, Tumblr, Vine
  2. Does the app have public or private profile setting by default?  Most apps will allow their users to decide whether or not to make their profile public or private.  However, many apps make the user’s profile public by default.  This means other users of the app can access the names, posts, and pictures of anyone with a public profile.  Check the setting within in the app to see if your child’s profile is public or private.  Be sure to change profile settings that do not reflect what you are willing to have shared.  If this particular social media platform has a web-based version that your child uses, then make sure to check the profile settings there, too.
    Some examples of apps with public default settings include:  Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vine, Ask.fm

  3. Is the app tracking location and sharing it with others? Be sure to check the app’s setting to determine if your child’s location is being tracked.  If so, then be advised that it is sharing the location of your child in any post he or she makes.  The exact location of your child can be traced within a city block.  Locations settings can be turned off in the app’s settings and can also be turned off in the settings of your child’s device(s).  After disabling location, if posts made by your child prior to still show location, you can simply delete the old posts that display your child’s whereabouts.
    Some examples of apps with location tracking and sharing include:  Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger

  4. Does the app allow live video streaming?  Children can often do and share things hiding behind a screen in private that they would never do in front of a live audience.  Sometimes the content of the live videos can be intended to embarrass or humiliate.  The one thing that kids may not think about when streaming a live video on social media, whether it’s from the privacy of their own bedroom or not, is that they do have a very real and live audience.  Kids may be oblivious as to the makeup of their viewing audience and maybe sharing too much information to complete strangers.  Worse than that, the live video stream may be captured and shared by others.  Now it’s gone viral!  Kid generated videos are not always made with ill intent and can actually channel their inner creativity.  Talk to your child about the positive and negative uses of video sharing.  If you want to foster their creative side, then encourage your child to share videos recorded and edited with software programs rather than going live.
    Some examples of apps with live video streaming include:  Periscope, Facebook, YouNow, and Meerka

  5. Does the app feature “disappearing” videos and/or pictures?  When social media platforms tout that videos or pictures disappear after a specified amount of time, kids get a false sense of security.  This is extremely misleading and dangerous for our children who may think that a compromising video or picture will go away and never be seen again.  Digital footprints NEVER go away!  Discuss with your child the fact that “temporary” pictures or videos are permanent.  Others can screenshot and share what they’ve posted and can even be recovered by forensic experts.
    Some examples of apps with disappearing videos and/or pictures include:  Snapchat, Burn Note, Yik Yak, Line, Meerkat, Periscope, YouNow

  6. Are the tools within the app to report abuse or violators of the terms of use adequate?   Most of the social media outlets have a means for reporting those that abuse or violate the terms of use, but some do not and/or their reporting tool is ineffective.  As the parent, you should familiarize yourself with the terms of use.  Make yourself aware of what the app allows in terms of content within a post.  Evaluate the apps tool to report abuse to make sure it’s adequate.  Have your child read the terms of use of the social media app, too, and make sure he/she knows the proper method to report abuse or violators.
    Some examples of apps with ineffective reporting tools:  Snapchat, Yik Yak, Omegle

  7. Does the app allow people to comment on posts and remain anonymous?  Allowing people to remain anonymous when commenting on other’s posts can be a breeding ground for cruelty.  Kids these days use social media outlets to seek attention, approval, and feedback from others.  However, they may not always get the encouraging, positive, supportive comments they are hoping for.  Social media apps allowing anonymous comments makes its poster’s an easy target for cyberbullying.  Speak with your child about the uncertainty of posting on these types of sites and how it can open doors for people to make some very cruel and hurtful comments.  Make certain your child knows how to block/unfollow and report other users if needed.
    Some examples of apps with anonymous commenting:  Yik Yak, Omegle, Whisper, Ask.fm

Finding some of the above things in the apps your child is asking to use does not necessarily mean you should ban the app from being used in your home.  Remember, you can enable/disable certain settings that will make the app safer for your child to use.  Instead of forbidding the use of a particular app, use it as an opportunity to teach your child about safety, responsible and respectful behavior, and appropriate ways to use social media.  Be watchful and monitor your kids along the way!





“This I Believe”

October 10, 2017
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If someone asked you what your core values are, you would probably be able to identify them fairly easily. However, if someone asked you why those values are important to you and how they were instilled within you throughout your life, you may have to think about it for a bit.

For the 2nd year, our 8th grade students are tackling these questions through a reflective writing project, “This I Believe” essays. The essays are based on the 1950’s radio series of the same name, in which individuals from all walks of life wrote and shared essays that discussed how their past experiences shaped their core values

Since early September, 8th graders have worked in their TARGET advisory classes to identify their core values and examine how their past experiences are linked to these values/beliefs. It has been a challenging project; however, we are hopeful that it has also been impactful.

Throughout the writing process, students have explored questions such as,

  • How did you learn that it is always best to tell the truth?
  • When did you come to believe that it is better to be kind than right?
  • How did you learn that failing at something can make you stronger?

    However, the project does not end when the essays are completed. Rather, 8th grade students are assigned a date to read their essays aloud during chapel. We believe that it is important not only to identify your core values, but also to share them with others. Students’ parents are invited to attend and hear their child share the life experiences that have shaped their beliefs. At the end of each speech, the student presenter is welcomed outside to ring “Penny” the bell – a new tradition, established this year.

    We look forward to sharing excerpts from the speeches through the coming months.

“God answers everyone’s prayers the way that prayers need to be answered, not the way you want them to be answered. This I believe”





How Do We Prepare Our Children for Hurricane Irma?

September 8, 2017
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Contributed by Lisa Butera, Middle School Guidance Counselor

As hurricane Irma approaches, we are all making preparations to stay safe and take care of our loved ones. This time brings anxiety and uncertainty to all of us, including the youngest members of our family. It’s hard to escape the reality of the situation when it’s on every channel and news outlet. While as adults this is a difficult situation to process, let us remember that our children may also be struggling to understand and navigate a wide range of emotions.

Here is a great article that offers ideas and ways that you can talk with your children, as well as get them involved in the planning process. It’s important to note that each of us deals with stress and uncertainty in different ways, but identifying the emotions, being thoughtful in our responses, and empowering them in small ways, we can better support our children as they work through these feelings.

We are here as a school community and, as always, feel free to reach out and let us know how we can help. Prayers to all of our families over the coming days.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/south-florida-parenting/fl-fea-sfp-kids-and-hurricane-irma-20170905-story.html