Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Digitally Distracted Parenting

I love technology! I really, really love technology.  From the invention of the wheel, to the mass production of books with the printing press, to research on "beam of invisibility." However, without being an alarmist, it is also important to be informed on the unintended impact of technological advances.  Over the past fifteen years as a school counselor, I have seen many positive and many concerning changes in our children.  Below please find a link to a compelling blog post on this topic.  Let's commit to not being "Digitally Distracted" parents and help one another set sound boundaries on our children's access to technology, so they can develop solid life skills.

Excerpt from "The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids" by Becky (Your Modern Family)

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years. Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core. This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.

The results of that should scare all of us.
  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt “sad, hopeless, useless… that they couldn’t do anything right (depression).”
  • They felt left-out and lonely.
  • There is a 50% increase in a clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • A substantial increase in suicide rate.Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how the information correlates to the iPhones being released. They aren’t hanging out with friends nearly as much.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Good Morning Around the World

As many of you know, it is a tradition at the Lowell School that we welcome our students by name in the mornings.  This year (kudos to Ms. Notaro), we are learning how to greet each other in different languages.  So far, we have learned Arabic, Spanish, and Armenian. (Thank you to all our parents and students for helping us with the pronunciation!)  This week, lucky for me, we are greeting each other in Cantonese, a dialect of Chinese used in southern China and Hong Kong, my hometown.  

Friday, October 20, 2017


For an inside look at some of the going-ons of the guidance office, please consider following our newly launched “Lowell Guidance” on Instagram at “lowellroom122a”.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Feelings & ZonesⓇ

This year, our guidance classroom lessons are centered on the Zones of RegulationⓇ.  We talk about how feelings having different levels of energy, sometimes we have too much energy (Yellow Zone), sometimes too little (Blue Zone).  When we have the just right level of energy for learning, we are in the Green Zone.  It is important that students understand our feelings are not good or bad, because every feeling has a purpose.  Some of them feel more comfortable, while some are uncomfortable.  More about this to come...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Welcome Ms. Cuff!

This year, we have one guidance intern as part of our student support team. Ms. Alexa Cuff comes to us via the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Prevention Science, with a concentration in school counseling. She is looking forward to a great school year at the Lowell School, and our students love having her here already!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

PreK/Kindergarten Screening

We are super excited about spending time with our class of 2030 and 2031 during our upcoming PreK/K Screening days! While preparing for our parent presentation, I was reminded of the importance of reading to our children. The warm and inviting atmosphere of spending time with caring adults wires our children's brains to connect reading to positive emotions. The consistency of hearing and seeing words also builds essential pre-reading skills. Let's take a trip to the local library and find ourselves some good books this summer in preparation for a successful Fall transition!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

What to Do When You Worry Too Much

Ms. Tareen has a new post up - do check it out: Who doesn't love a TED Talk?

"Dr. Huebner is a psychologist, mother and the author of the bestseller "What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety." In it, she emphasizes her belief in empowerment and provides practical advice for caregivers and children."

You can find the link to this TED talk via her post (link above).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hakuna Matata

As part of her internship program, Ms. Sidra Tareen, our HGSE guidance intern, started a blog to house her learning as well as strategies and tips for managing worries. Please check it out and subscribe to it for updates.

Here is the link to: Hakuna Matata Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sphere of Control

We have all heard it: There is an increase of anxiety in our children. I have certainly noticed this phenomenon over the last fifteen years of counseling in schools. Although there are many contributing factors to this shift, there are some basic strategies that can help us practice talking down "Peeves" as my young friends and I call that creature of worry in our minds and hearts.

One strategy is understanding our sphere of control. There are some things we can (and should) control, such as our habits of being polite. There are others things that we cannot (and should not try to) control, such as the weather, especially living in New England where all four seasons can pass through in twenty-four hours.

This concept is helpful in dealing with peer relationships. We cannot control what others think, say, or do. If behaviors "crosses the line", of course we have policies and protocols for addressing issues of bullying. However, we cannot control "typical" negative behaviors of other people. Sometimes, peers are going to be unkind, or gossip, or be moody. While our caring teachers attend to such social-emotional dynamics by helping our peers to gain insight into their behaviors and cultivating the desire to change, it is often resilient-building for us to understand what we can do to minimize the negative impact.

We can control whose opinions we listen to and value. In our discussions, the students and I often talk about if someone is not a reliable and good friend, why do we care so much about what they think of us. We can choose to listen to those who are kind to us all or most of the time. We can take an inventory of who our trusted friends are and invest our energies in those relationships.

This short piece on HuffPost by Renee Jain: Teach your Child this Crucial Life Lesson (Challenge #2: Sphere of Control) is a short and helpful read.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Breath...Let's Calm our Brains

My favorite part of this video is the end, the strategies for repairing impact of stress on our brains.  Truth be told, I got more and more stressed watching the video until the end.  Let's breath together and take care of our brains!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 PreK/Kindergarten Information Night

Kindergarten/Prekindergarten Information Night 
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
(snow date, Thursday, January 19th)

Cunniff School: 6:30-7:30pm
Hosmer School: 6:30-7:30pm
Lowell School: 6:30-7:30pm

Parents/Guardians of children entering Kindergarten and/or Pre-Kindergarten in the fall of 2017 are invited to attend this information meeting. You will…..
  • learn about early education in Watertown 
  • find out when to register your child 
  • learn how to register your child for school 
  • ask questions about early education and registration 
  • pick up registration packets* 

Parents should attend the session held at their neighborhood school. If you do not know your neighborhood school, please call the Registrar’s office at 617-972-4216.

Kindergarten Requirements:
  • Your child must turn 5 years of age before September 1, 2017** 

Full Day Pre-Kindergarten Requirements:
  • Your child must turn 4 years of age before September 1, 2017** 

Registration Dates:
  • Pre-Kindergarten (only) registration begins. 
    • January 19, 2017
    • Return completed registration packet to the Early Steps Preschool (at the Hosmer School) 
  • Kindergarten Registration Week. 
    • Monday, January 23rd through Friday, January 27th, 7:30 AM – 1:00 PM
    • Tuesday, January 24th, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
    • Wednesday, January 25th, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
    • Return completed registration packet to the registrar’s office located at 30 Common Street

* Kindergarten registration packets are available on the Watertown Public Schools website,

** Please note the age requirement date change per School Committee meeting of 12/7/15