Thursday, March 2, 2017

SOS Program Updates and Continued Support for our Learning Community


Singing Valentines in the Administrative Office

I hope that you and your families were able to relax and have some fun during February break. Our 5-year-old son had his first snow tubing experience in 65 degree weather...something he's not likely to experience again soon, I'm sure...

As our superintendent Dr. Brand referenced in his letter to parents and guardians earlier in February, we are putting into place some additional, preventative measures in the area of mental health for our students. As you may already know, we currently offer a health & wellness curriculum through our Physical Education department, SOS screening for all 9th graders, grade level counseling groups that focus on wellness, and trainings for staff regarding mental health, wellness, and learning. We have also done presentations on depression and suicide this year, including how to ask for help and access resources, for all students in grades 10-12.

In the course of the next month or so, we will screen our 9th and 12th graders based on the Signs of Suicide Prevention Program, a school-based suicide prevention curriculum and screening tool. Our 9th graders are screened annually; we are now adding 12th graders to be screened as well.  It is important that you read carefully the relevant items below if you are a parent of a 9th and/or 12th grader in order to provide the correct opt-in information for your child's participation in this program.

If you are a parent/guardian of a 12th grader, please click HERE for information about the upcoming Signs of Suicide (SOS) Booster program and screening, and click HERE for the permission form.

If you are a parent/guardian of a 9th grader, please click HERE for information about the upcoming Signs of Suicide (SOS) lesson and screening, and click HERE for the permission form.

Thank you in advance for your continued partnership in supporting our students' health and wellbeing. I hope you will consider attending the parent/guardian information session on March 16th at 7pm in the ABRHS auditorium to preview the SOS program.


Upon returning from the vacation week, I sent the following message to my staff. I wanted to share it with you as well:
You may have seen that Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester issued a statement in support of transgender students on February 23rd that reads, in part: I would like to affirm for you that Massachusetts remains dedicated to protecting the rights of transgender students even in light of recent federal actions. No one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity, and under existing state statute and regulations, protections for students and families will remain in place in the Commonwealth.

At ABRHS, we, too, affirm the rights and protections of our LGBTQ community, including our transgender students.  As challenging as this time is in many ways, it also offers us the opportunity to return to our core values as a school and district and be explicit in our support for all within our learning community.

JoAnn