We thank Mrs. Faul's 4th Grade Valerius Elementary students for sharing their encouraging words this month.

This month we’d like to bring greater awareness to two topics that can be difficult to find the words to describe but are felt deeply: depression and Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). Although we’ll only cover these topics briefly in this section, please know there are helpful resources for learning more about how to cope and build resiliency in yourself, your children, and your family. 

Most everyone has experienced the feelings of being down, unmotivated, discouraged, sad, or hopeless for short periods of time. Perhaps it’s in response to an unexpected event or other life-impacting moment that causes short-term despair. These types of emotions are normal to experience throughout our lives as part of what it means to be human. It’s when these feelings begin to interfere with our daily activities, and last for more than two weeks, that may indicate we’re experiencing depression. One resource for learning more about depression is the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Please take a few moments to view this TED Talk, "Confessions of a Depressed Comic" for powerful words and insight from a 19-year old.

A type of depression that occurs during the same season each year is called Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). It is hypothesized that a lack of sunlight is a contributing factor as it impacts sleep-wake patterns and serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects mood. If you have felt depressed during the last two winters but felt much better in spring and summer; you may be impacted by SAD. Learn more about SAD here.

If you believe your child may be experiencing depression or SAD, or would just benefit from additional support, please reach out to your school counselor. We are here to help.

Michele Hamilton
Coordinator of Student, Family & Community Services
(515) 402-8538
At Metro West Academy, one of our goals is for all staff to have 100% of relevant lesson plans online in Google Classroom. With the help of Lance McConnell, we have started utilizing an app on our phones called "Adobe Scan" to support this goal.

Adobe Scan has been a tremendous help in transitioning paper materials online without having to retype everything and recreate worksheets. You can use the app in just a few quick steps:
  1. Download the app from the app store; the app is titled: "Adobe Scan."
  2. Open the app and lay the paper you'd like to transition to a Google Doc or PDF on a flat surface.
  3. You'll be prompted to center your camera so the app can take a picture of your paper.
  4. You'll then have options to modify your picture before you save it to a PDF and send it to your email.
  5. Once emailed, it can be downloaded into Google Docs and then modified to your liking, then uploaded to Google Classroom.

It's just that easy! It's been a great time saver and extremely useful app for transitioning paper materials to online resources.

Jamie Evans
Metro West Learning Academy

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Educational Equity Statement
It is the policy of the Urbandale Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, marital status (for program), ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (for employment), or socio-economic background (for program) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact the District office at 11152 Aurora Avenue, Urbandale, IA or call 515-457-5000. The District’s Equity Coordinators are Dr. Keri Schlueter, Coordinator of Student Services (schlueterk@urbandaleschools.com), Mark Lane, Director of Human Resources (lanem@urbandaleschools.com), and Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching and Learning (carlilec@urbandaleschools.com).