The following information was pasted from Tim Elmore's Growing Leaders blog. The 13 Reasons Why program on Netflix is stirring a lot of conversation. While the content isn't middle school age appropriate due to its nature (it contains scenes of self-mutilating and a graphic rape), a surprising number of Awtrey students are talking about it. Elmore provides an excellent resource for anyone connected with students to use as talking points to help students process the program contents in a safe environment.
13 REASONS WHY: HOW TO TALK TO YOUR TEENS ABOUT THE SHOW
Suicide. It’s never a happy topic to talk about. And now,
Netflix has sponsored a television series called, “13 Reasons Why” to showcase
the issue. I am hearing more and more high school and college students talking
about it, too.
In the show, Hannah has committed suicide, but has left
tapes describing why she felt it was necessary and all the events (including
bullying, rape, partying, and more) that led up to her decision to end her
life. Hannah narrates her story as we see the remaining students in awkward
moments grieving her loss—not knowing what to say or whether they should feel
regret, anger, or something entirely different. In particular, the story
focuses around the thoughts and actions of Zach and Clay who were both close to
the situation and, consequently, haunted by Hannah’s death. The show highlights
the tangible loneliness high school students feel too often, and the depression
and angst that follow both the trivial and serious incidents that teens often
I have said for years the stakes have become too high in our
teen’s lives today. Events that might have caused a “bad day” when I was in
school are now sources for a bad life today. According to the Jason Foundation:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
More teens or young adults die from suicide than from
cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, pneumonia, influenza and lung
There have been more military deaths from suicide than from
battle in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240
suicide attempts by young people in grades 7-12.
What’s more, four out of five teens who attempt it—give
clear warning signs.
The show has many parents, school leaders, and counselors
concerned. One superintendent cited the show as the catalyst for a string of
self-harming incidents in his school system. In response, Netflix has updated
the show to include trigger warnings before particularly graphic episodes
depicting both the act of suicide and rape. They also released a documentary
(again, on Netflix) where actors and actresses in the show discuss their
decisions to take part in this troubling story. Naturally, many parents and
leaders, including myself, believe the ultimate solution is for teens,
especially those under 18 and those struggling with mental health, self-harm,
or suicidal thoughts, to simply not watch the show at all. The trouble is, as
with much content on the internet, many of our teens have already seen it.
So how do we talk about this topic and this show, 13 Reasons
Why with our students? I’ve had some of our blog readers request some
discussion points for this topic. Let me suggest a few starter questions for
Questions to Discuss with Your Students:
1. How can people
feel lonely when they are never alone and always connected?
2. Why do kids often
feel depressed as they post happy pics on social media?
3. We know that life
is always better than death. But why is that so?
4. What enables a
student to hide their loneliness or angst, and later surprise people with a
5. When is it time to
“give a friend space” and when must we intrude if we suspect someone is
6. What drives a
person over the line when they believe ending their life is better than pushing
ahead with life?
7. If you or someone
you know is considering suicide, where should or could you go to get help?
(Hint: make sure to mention: school counselors, parents,
teachers, administration, and suicide hotlines [below])
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal
thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide
Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The following test taking strategies and tips are provided by the GA Department of Education.
Before the Test:
•Prepare yourself emotionally for taking the test. If you are overly anxious, much of your energy and potential will be sapped by the anxiety and you will likely not be able to demonstrate your true ability on the test. It frequently helps to reduce anxiety if you know more about the test in advance, such as what type of test you are taking, what subjects are tested, and the purpose of the test.
•Follow normal routines. Interruption of normal routines may affect your performance. The night before the test you should not stay up later than usual since fatigue may lead to poor test performance. The day of the test you should eat a normal breakfast and lunch. Skipping meals or overeating before taking a test may adversely affect your performance.
At Test Time:
•Concentrate. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by noises or movements around you.
•Read instructions or directions carefully before marking any answer. If you do not understand the directions, raise your hand, and ask for help.
•Follow instructions. Pay close attention to the samples. They are on the test to help you understand what the items on the test will be like and how to mark your answer document properly.
•Read the entire question and all answer choices. You need to read each item and all answer choices before marking your answers.
•Make an educated guess. Making an educated guess means that you are able to eliminate one or more choices. For example, if there are four choices and you do not know which choice is correct, but do know that two choices are incorrect; you have a 50-50 chance of choosing the correct answer. You should also remember that there is no pattern of correct answers. For example, if the last three correct answer choices were "D," the next correct answer may be A, B, C, or D.
•Keep track of the time. Since most statewide tests have a time limit, be aware of the amount of time allocated to each section. Pace yourself so that you will be able to complete the section within the time limit. Use all of the time allocated. Persistence pays off.
•If you are testing online, be sure to use the scroll bars to view all of a reading passage or test question. The whole reading passage or test question might not fit on the display of your workstation.
•When testing online and where necessary, make sure you transfer your answer from the draft area to the final response section of your online test.
•If you are testing with paper testing materials, place your answer correctly on the answer document. While taking tests, you should match the number on the answer document to the item number in the test booklet. This is especially important if you skip questions and go back to them later. You should mark only one answer for each item. If two answers are marked for the same item, the item will be counted as incorrect. If you erase an item, you should be certain that it is erased completely and carefully so that holes are not made in the answer document.
•If you are testing with paper testing materials, keep your test booklet and answer document together. This saves time and lessens the chance of marking answers in the wrong place.
North Cobb High School is presenting a 9th grade parent night along with a sports and club expo on April 13th. Awtrey students will attend the sports and club expo from 6:45-7:15, then attend the parent presentation from 7:30-8:00.
When my son was diagnosed with ADD this was an excellent resource that helped me better understand him and the obstacles he would face.
For adults with ADHD, problems with attention, planning, problem solving, and controlling emotions can make daily life an uphill battle. Fortunately, effective help is out there. No one is a better guide to how to get the best care—and what sufferers can do for themselves—than renowned ADHD researcher/clinician Russell A. Barkley. Dr. Barkley provides step-by-step strategies for managing symptoms and reducing their harmful impact. Readers get hands-on self-assessment tools and skills-building exercises, plus clear answers to frequently asked questions about medications and other treatments. Specific techniques are presented for overcoming challenges in critical areas where people with the disorder often struggle—work, finances, relationships, and more. Finally, an authoritative one-stop resource for adults with ADHD who are ready to take back their lives.
Eighth grade students for both
North Cobb and Allatoona received their high school course selections
today. Please note the following as you
review the information.
The profiles list all of the
classes students are registered for next year. It is not a final
schedule, just their course requests. Electives may change
from what is listed. Once the high schools run their scheduler programs,
if one (or more) of the electives will not fit in their schedule, or if that
class is full, alternative electives will be selected in order to make the
Some of the course requests have
no courses listed for that student. This
is because the student is in the system, but they did not turn in any course
requests. If students plan on attending either of the high schools, they
will need to get their course requests in ASAP so they will have a
schedule. Please see Dr. Deane if
replacement copies of the forms are needed.
Due to a computer glitch it is
possible some students are missing a core class. Please double check selections to confirm a
Math, Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts listing. If not, students should see their content
area teacher to have that recommendation written in under the add section on
The request profiles are for the
students to keep for their records, unless they wish to make any changes.
If they want to change any of the courses listed, including core classes, they
must fill out the Add/Drop section on the form. They will not receive another copy of their
requests, so they may want to photo copy their form before turning it back in
to Dr. Deane. Forms with changes are due
back to Dr. Deane no later than the dates below.
North Cobb forms are due by Monday,
Allatoona forms are due by Friday,
All students will receive their
final schedule the first day of school.
Students planning to attend a
magnet program should simply write the name of the magnet program they plan to
attend on the course selections form and return it to Dr. Deane. This provides documentation to the regular
high schools so they know to update their records. Magnet students will make their course
selections at a special registration event at each magnet school at a later
Students received permission slips for the North Cobb campus tour during homeroom. The tour will take place on March 30th. Students wishing to participate should return permission slips to homeroom teachers no later than the 29th.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as it is clinically known, is an increasingly pervasive condition impacting millions of people worldwide. The commonality of the condition, combined with the confusion and controversy surrounding it, makes it imperative that those in the education profession be informed about ADD. The on-going debate demands three questions be asked: What is ADD, what are the causes, and what treatments are effective?
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a psychological term currently applied to anyone who meets the DSM IV diagnostic criteria for impulsivity, hyperactivity and/or inattention (Gallagher, 2007). Consensus is ADD is a developmental disorder, largely neurological in nature. ADD is currently considered both chronic and incurable. According to Dr. Peter Jaksa, who writes for the Attention Deficit Disorder Association, the most common core features include: distractibility (poor sustained attention to tasks), impulsivity (impaired impulse control and delay of gratification), and hyperactivity (excessive activity and physical restlessness) (Jaksa, 2007). Jaksa says in order to meet diagnostic criteria, these behaviors must be excessive, long-term, and pervasive to the point behaviors must create a real handicap in at least two areas of a person's life, such as school, home, work, or social settings (Jaksa 2007).
The impact of ADD varies significantly between individuals. One person may be severe with extreme difficulty focusing for any length of time while another may be mild to the point medication is unnecessary and a behavior management system is adequate for controlling the behaviors. John W. Santrock says those with ADD fall into one of three broad categories. He says, “They can be diagnosed as (1) ADHD with predominantly inattention, (2) ADHD with predominantly hyperactivity/impulsivity, or (3) ADHD with both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity” (Sandtrock, 2006). While approximately four to six percent of the U.S. population has ADHD, it is estimated one-third of people with AD/HD do not have the hyperactive or overactive behavior component (Jaksa, 2007).
The causes for ADD are relatively unknown, but research is on-going. The most common theories are heredity, food related, and minor head injuries. Teresa Gallagher, author of the website Born to Explore: The Other Side of ADD, reveals heredity as the primary cause of ADD (Gallagher, 2007). Jaksa’s research confirms that saying, “There is a great deal of evidence that AD/HD runs in families, which is suggestive of genetic factors. If one person in a family is diagnosed with AD/HD, there is a twenty-five percent to thirty-five percent probability that any other family member also has AD/HD, compared to a four percent to six percent probability for someone in the general population” (Jaksa, 2007). Jaksa adds there is no truth to the speculations ADD is caused by poor parenting, family problems, poor teachers, too much TV, food allergies, excess sugar, or even minor head injuries as was once thought to be the case (Jaksa, 2007). He goes on to say most research indicates ADD is apparently caused by biological factors which influence neurotransmitter activity in certain parts of the brain, and which have a strong genetic basis (Jaksa, 2007). Beyond that, little else is known.
Jaksa also addresses the common misconception that refined sugar and food additives make children hyperactive and inattentive. He states, “Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that this may apply to only about five percent of children with ADHD, mostly either very young children or children with food allergies” (Jaksa, 2007).
Treatment methods for ADD are varied depending on the severity of the condition. Treatment usually involves combination of medication, behavior modification, life style changes, or counseling. A physician must prescribe medications. Eileen Bailey, author of the website About ADD/ADHD points out, “Stimulant medications (Ritalin, Dexedrine, Adderall) are commonly used because they have been shown to be most effective for most people with ADHD (Bailey, 2007). ADHD medications work to increase dopamine and norepinephrine amounts in the brain. As with any medication, these prescriptions are only effective for the specified time they are in the person’s system. Jaksa says, “Clinical experience has shown that the most effective treatment for ADHD is a combination of medication (when necessary), therapy or counseling to learn coping skills and adaptive behaviors” (Jaksa, 2007).
Attention Deficit Disorder is a real and relevant part of society. While some wish to debate the reality of the condition, educators wrestle daily with children doing their best to succeed in a world requiring them to function in a way opposite of the signals their brains are sending. Contrary to common thought, children with ADD are not by default poorly behaving children. They are not dysfunctional, nor are they learning disabled. In fact, some of the best thinkers in American history are believed to have had ADD, including Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.
ADD is a neurological condition. It is more than simple boredom or attempts to gain attention. Although researchers are still discovering more about the causes of ADD, it can safely be said one the condition arises in a family, it will continue to be passed to successive generations. Finally, while it is undoubtedly true some physicians are too quick to medicate children without proper testing to ensure ADD is in fact the root cause of the behavior, that in no way negates the fact there are legitimate cases where medication and a proper behavior management system enables those with ADD to function successfully where they might have been otherwise unable.
By Chris H. Deane
Bailey, Eileen. About Health. (2007) ADD / ADHD Available from http://add.about.com /od/medications/a/adhdmeds.htm.
Children and Adults with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. (2007) Understanding ADHD available from http://www.chadd.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=
The following is an important announcement regarding high
school course selections for future North Cobb students only. Allatoona
students will be receiving their course selection information the week after
Through the Student Vue program students are able to see the
initial computerized draft of their course selections for next year.
Please note the following reminders as you look at the information:
This is an early draft generated by scanning the bar codes next to the courses
the students selected. Everything students are able to see is subject to
change as the high school works through the steps to prepare the final
drafts. The only draft that matters is the one that will be sent home at
the end of April for parents to sign. Parents will be able to make
changes at that point, including the core class recommendations. The
exact date that paperwork will be made available has yet to be
The core class recommendations are made using guidelines established by the
high school. Teachers cannot change their recommendations. However,
the paper draft coming home in April will have a waiver section where parents
can request changes to the core classes for next year. While parents can
waive a student into a higher level of a core subject, the high school
representatives say in the majority of cases students end up regretting the
change and become overwhelmed with the workload. The guidelines have been
tested over time and have proven to be the best predictor of student success.
You are invited to attend a MOWR Dual Enrollment Summit to learn
about opportunities available for your student to earn college credit
while enrolled in high school as well as receive 100% paid tuition,
mandatory fees, and books! Cobb Counselors will present details on
enrollment while you also have an opportunity to meet with College
Representatives! Download the Flyer.
This morning Awtrey staff received training on recognizing victims of sex trafficking. This was particularly relevant to our staff because the "average" age of victims is 11-14. Susan Norris, author of the book Rescuing Hope, conducted the training. While the story is fictional, all of the events actually took place. The events were taken from different stories of rescued victims and combined to create the narrative. Every middle school parent should read this book, if for no other reason than being able to warn students about the traps traffickers use as lures.
Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers tells the stories of a number of children at a suburban middle school in Columbia, Maryland. Washington Post education reporter Linda Perlstein spent a year observing the lives both at home and at school of these eleven- to thirteen-year-olds, and manages to convey their rapidly changing thoughts and feelings. Some of them come from two-parent families where they receive a great deal of encouragement along with pressure to succeed. Other children come from homes with divorced parents and less consistent nurturing. They live in a materialistic culture and they experience a wide variety of temptations and images, often making them want to behave like high school students. It is common these days to hear of middle school students engaging in sexual activity, drinking, taking drugs, and even getting pregnant, and most adults find such reports disturbing. So Perlstein's attempt to shed light on what leads these children to act so differently from middle school students of previous generations deserves attention.
Pebblebrook Magnet Program will be holding an informational meeting for all students interested in the performing arts magnet program on March 1st, at 9:30 AM. The meeting will be held in the Awtrey theater. The meeting will discuss the program and explain audition requirements.
Auditions will be held on March 22nd at 9:30 AM, also in the Awtrey theater.
Allatoona Elective Registration forms are due February 10th. To clarify a point of confusion, North Cobb forms only need to be returned if students are making changes. Allatoona forms are due regardless, and they must have a parent signature.
Student copies of elective forms were distributed today.
Students have until February 10th to make
changes. The easiest way to make changes
is to return the student copies with the updated information, or email them to Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only forms with changes need to be
Students already taking foreign language
in middle school automatically get placed in level 2 unless parents request
otherwise. They do not need to complete
the foreign language elective page.
Foreign language forms only need to be completed if the students are
starting a language from the beginning, or if they wish to discontinue a
current language and replace it with a new one.
Spanish 1 is very difficult to get as a
freshman. Because most every middle
school offers Spanish 1, the majority of class offerings for freshman year are
Spanish 2. The Spanish 1 classes that
are available are filled by older students since they are allowed to pick
first. If students are adamant about
only taking Spanish, they should wait until sophomore year to begin. Other languages are much easier to get.
Core class recommendations are
underway. The core recommendations and
the elective selections will be combined and sent home for final parent
approval in April. Parents will have
another opportunity to make changes at that time.
The North Cobb campus tour still has not
been scheduled. It is tentatively set
for early March. The firm date will be
promoted once it is finalized.
Any resident student of the Cobb County School District may apply for a School Choice transfer in accordance with Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2131 also known as HB 251).
Available space at a school is based upon permanent classroom space which includes available seats at each grade level.
Online applicants will be provided a confirmation email.
Available spaces are not assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
If there are more applications received than spaces available at a particular school, a lottery will be held.
Selected students may complete the highest grade of that particular school before having to re-apply if the student maintains acceptable attendance, behavior, and academic performance. Parents/Guardians are also expected to maintain a cordial and cooperative working relationship with school personnel.
Parents/guardians are responsible for timely transportation to and from the transfer school.
Parents/guardians will be notified via telephone and/or e-mail prior to Spring Break.
Charter schools and new schools are exempt from School Choice.
If the student transfers at the high school level, he/she must meet Georgia High School Association requirements to participate in competitive interscholastic activities. Click HERE for more information.
Current fifth and eighth grade choice students applying to continue in the choice school feeder pattern will be given first priority in the lottery process. These students must re-apply when moving from elementary to middle or middle to high but will be given priority in the lottery process.
Once those students are placed, siblings of current choice students applying to attend the same school will be given next priority in the lottery process.
The next lottery will give priority to new sibling groups applying to attend the same school.
The final lottery process will be to fill any remaining available seats.
Students not chosen in the random lottery for their first choice school will be placed on a waiting list based on the outcome of the lottery.
Acceptance of a school choice transfer:
Once a school choice transfer is approved, the parent/guardian must contact the receiving school by May 1, 2017 in order to indicate whether the transfer offer will be accepted.
The parent/guardian must also submit a school choice transfer enrollment form to the receiving school by May 26, 2017.
Failure to complete either of the above steps will result in the school choice transfer being nullified and forfeiting of the student’s seat.
Once the school choice transfer has been accepted, the parent/guardian will need to contact the school regarding the enrollment process.
Individual schools will use a waiting list generated during the lottery process to fill any available seats that are vacated.
Students chosen from the waiting list will be notified by the local school by July 14, 2017.
On Thursday February 2nd, North Cobb counselors meet with students to start the elective selection process. Students pick six electives from the attached brochure and rank them in priority order on the Elective Registration form (provided Feb. 2nd). Parents may wish to review the selections with students in advance. Student copies come home the following week. Original copies are forwarded to North Cobb for processing.
Parents wishing to make changes may either adjust the selections on the student copy and return the form to Dr. Deane, or email the adjusted selections to Christopher.email@example.com. Only edited forms need to be returned.
Selections made at this point are merely starting the process. A final draft will be sent home for final parent approval in mid-April that will include core subject recommendations. Additional changes can be made at that time.
Specifics about the registration process will be presented at the North Cobb Parent Night on January 26th. The meeting will be at 6 PM in the Awtrey Theater.
This week during classroom guidance 8th grade students will discuss the pros and cons of their various post-high school educational opportunities (college, technical college, vocational tech, military, etc). As part of the lessons students debate the accuracy and fallacies of a John Stossell news report. The clip is 6 or 7 years old, but the principles are still relevant for students today.
excited to share the trailer for our new CCCEPA/Pebblebrook promotional video.
Please click the link below and take a look! Share it with your friends on
social media. The full length version is set to be released on our new CCCEPA
YouTube channel later this week. Be sure to subscribe to CCCEPA’s YouTube
channel, and follow CCCEPA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Thanks for your
continued support of CCCEPA.
This week in classroom guidance 7th grade students are discussing the Myers Briggs Type Indicator preferences to gain a better understanding of personality type and the way inborn personality factors can be used to their advantage. While cost factors prohibit students from taking the actual MBTI assessment, they will be guided through a self-assessment activity as part of the discussion.
The following summary of Myers Briggs basics comes from myersbriggs.org:
The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®)
personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by
C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people's lives. The essence of the
theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually
quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways
individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.
The identification of basic preferences of each of the four
dichotomies specified or implicit in Jung's theory.
Favorite world: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or
on your own inner world? This is called Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I).
Information: Do you prefer to focus on the basic information
you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning? This is called
Sensing (S) or Intuition (N).
Decisions: When making decisions, do you prefer to first
look at logic and consistency or first look at the people and special
circumstances? This is called Thinking (T) or Feeling (F).
Structure: In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer
to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and
options? This is called Judging (J) or Perceiving (P).
In December, Awtrey’s 8th grade students completed the first step of their Individual Graduation Plans (IGP). This step was the beginning of a process that will continue until they graduate from high school. Parent copies will be coming home with report cards. A sample is below.
Results from the Career Cluster and learning style activities students completed during their Career Cruising lessons.
A graph of the core classes required to graduate. (The actual level of classes will be determined later in the year--on level, advanced, remedial.)
The list of high school credits students earned in middle school.
The students’ initial concentration and interests (Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, and/or Career Pathways).
The number of free electives left after the concentration selections.
A check box indicating students’ understanding of the Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment opportunities, enabling them to earn college credit while still in high school.
Important Points for Parents
The document you will receive is only a rough draft in this planning process.
IGPs will be revised countless times between now and graduation. Everything on the page is subject to change.
The purpose of developing this draft of the IGP in 8th grade is to introduce the students to graduation requirements and available course studies. It is also a tool to help students think about their interests prior to selecting high school electives in early February.
Course specifics will be added to the IGP early in freshman year once students receive finalized schedules. IGPs can be changed again at that time.
Relax and enjoy an exciting time in the life of your students.