From the President...
We stand with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members and unequivocally denounce racism and discrimination of all kinds and condemn all acts of hate. We are committed to ensuring safe spaces and interrupting any experience that would cause pain and trauma as a result of all identity based violence.

There is still plenty of time to register for our spring speaker event with Ana Homayoun! Ana will be talking with us about practical ways to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally as we near the end of a most unusual school year. See below for details and to register for this free talk.

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers with elementary, middle or high school school children who want to be part of a larger community-focused nonprofit like the SCC. Most of us on the board now are former PTA/PTO volunteers and agree that the commitment is smaller! Please contact us if you are interested.

As always, let us know how the SCC can help in your community, school, and home.

Elizabeth Hale, President
SCC in the Community
A Brighter 2021: Ending the School Year Strong
We know this past year has been filled with so much change and uncertainty for all of us. As we head look to the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, what are ways we can make this time brighter for students and families?

The Safe Community Coalition (SCC) is excited to host noted author Ana Homayoun as she discusses how we set students up socially, emotionally and academically in the midst of remote and hybrid schooling. Ana will address ways to be organized during hybrid and remote learning, and discuss how to support healthy socialization and a sense of curiosity and discovery as we head into summer break. Many parents are feeling a sense of underlying anxiety about learning gaps and “feeling behind,” and Ana will look at how to address and reframe some of these concerns. Above all, Ana will offer practical, implementable strategies to support student, parent and caregiver well-being.
Ana is an author, educator, and founder and executive director of Silicon Valley-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting, which helps students thrive in and outside of the classroom. She is the author of three bestselling books: That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week, The Myth of the Perfect Girl, and Social Media Wellness. She works with schools, giving student talks, parent and caregiver education, and faculty professional development. Learn more about her work at www.anahomayoun.com.
Seeking College Student Input

The SCC is compiling videos and/or written advice from college students to help current high school seniors who have not been able to visit colleges or adequately meet with college students. The videos or lists should give high school seniors tips on how to navigate life during Covid and how to make the most of college. Materials and questions can be sent to president@mcleanscc.org. We don’t need anything fancy, just a few thoughts or ideas recorded on a phone. See Tijani’s video at the end of this newsletter.
Youth Advisory Council
Our Youth Advisory Council met last week to create our virtual Middle School Forum, which will include a set of videos and a Padlet where they will answer questions and plan to put fun things like a tour of the school, top ten lists, etc. Look out for it coming to a middle school near you (assuming Cooper and Longfellow are near you).

YAC members are also providing input for SCC “chat packs,” sets of conversation starters we developed years ago and are in the process of revising. And the students will be helping create some videos for our upcoming virtual Sixth Grade Ethics Day.
These short videos are produced by the psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers of the SCC’s Mental Health Committee and supported by generous funding from the New Dominion Women’s Club. Topics selected reflect what they are seeing both in their private practices and on the homefront. 

The new videos include:
  • Building Resilience
  • Supporting Your Teen through Covid-19

Plus previously released conversations:

  1. Deescalating Conflict
  2. Effective Communication
  3. How to Talk to Your Parents
  4. Brain Breaks During Distance Learning
  5. Self-Care and Calming Techniques
  6. How Are You?
  7. Coping With the Holidays
  8. Creating Coping Capacity
  9. Connecting Through Play
  10. Anxiety in School
  11. Your Daily Prescription to Cope with Covid

All videos and accompanying tip sheets are free and available on the SCC website, mcleanscc.org. Make sure to bookmark the page and watch any time!
Upcoming Events
Parent Information Session on Substance Abuse Prevention

The Langley and McLean High School PTSAs are hosting a Parent Information Series on Substance Abuse Prevention with FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kelly Rankin, who serves both high schools. The program will be relevant to middle and upper elementary parents as well. The three-part series will provide 20-minute education sessions with the goals of building awareness and arming parents with the knowledge and tools to identify early signs of substance use disorder, how they can play an important role in prevention, and how to have a conversation with students about addiction.

A link will be sent in a reminder email on the day of the session.
  • Part 1 - Teenage Brain: Building Connections on Thursday, February 25 at noon and 7 pm
  • Part 2 - Drugs and the Teenage Brain on Thursday, March 25 at noon and 7 pm
  • Part 3 - Drug Trends: Identifying Common Household Items and Drug Culture on Thursday, April 22 at noon and 7 pm 

The sessions will be will be recorded for those unable to attend. Use this FCPS Blackboard Connect link.

Kelly has been working in the field of substance abuse and mental health with both adults and adolescents since 2007, including many years spent as the program director of a women’s residential facility. After witnessing the opioid epidemic destroy families, she made the decision to work with FCPS so she could assist students and families.
For more information about Kellys offerings, see her flyer.
Pandemic Resources
As a continuing feature of our newsletter, we are sharing local resources to address the myriad needs surrounding the Covid pandemic.
As always, the FCPS Healthy Minds blog features advice for all students and families.

In order to help maintain balance in our lives, it is important to remember the value of leaning on others for support and relying on these two powerful concepts: consistency and acceptance.
 
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers these suggestions to parents to reassure children and help them feel safe.
 
We can not only increase our happiness, but also find ways to thrive and flourish in times of challenge and adversity.
 
We should expect that children will experience increased anxiety about going back to into the classroom after such a long time away and during a global pandemic. Learn ideas on how to ease that anxiety.
 
Learn about signs that may indicate your child has a mental health concern and where to get help.
 
A big part of a parent’s job is teaching children how to face challenges, navigate through them and ultimately overcome them.
Reading List
In the Media

The Washington Post recently featured two articles that resonated with us:



Full Circle with Anderson Cooper on CNN featured an FCPS student speaking about in-person hybrid learning: High school senior describes return to in-person learning during Covid-19

And in better news, also from The Washington Post, the World Happiness Report has just been released, and resilience wins again. Read more for details and tips about improving your own resilience.
College Advice
While filming MSF on location at the McLean Community Center (MCC), we talked with MCC staff member Tijani, who shared his advice on college applications and college success.
The SCC thrives in its 25th year as an all-volunteer organization with funding from community grants and individual donors including the New Dominion Women’s Club, Rotary Club of McLean, McLean Community Foundation, the Zavela Foundation, and through the SCC Mental Health Committee. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and welcome all donations.