Posted on November 1, 2016
PAWHUSKA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Dr. Janet Neufeld, Superintendent
1801 McKenzie, Pawhuska, OK 74056
(918) 287-1265 phone --- (918) 287-4461 fax
One of the areas of interest that I am currently studying is anxiety in students while they attend school, or as they approach the school day. Recent research suggests that there are many approaches to dealing with school related anxiety. Our administrative team has talked about this topic and are approaching it with strong concern and solution seeking ideas.
To aid in the conversation we have chosen a book study to study the book, Conflict without Casualties. This book was written by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Nate Regier, who is interested in the process of how conflict may be harnessed to create energy to reduce drama and struggle among individuals. How does this align with student centered anxiety? Well, when you have well-functioning adults, you will find well-functioning buildings and healthy settings for drama free school culture. In turn, this reduces the anxiety students and adults feel in an emotionally cluttered environment.
With any good intentions, comes a focused plan. One of the baby steps we are introducing this year is creating peaceful environments and sensory rooms where students may find ways to soothe their anxiety and work through behavioral challenges and goals. Especially students who are emotionally and cognitively challenged and often need a reduction in stimulus. Future plans may also include yoga, meditation rooms, expanded time for wellness activities, nature walks, and structured play, and renewed focus on nutrition. One of the areas that we need support is full-time counselors in every building to address student’s emotional and social well-being. The school district has also been without a school nurse. School nurses are critical to the health and physical well-being of district students.
We consider our patrons and parents our most important advocates and partners in our school community. This year, we had a bumpy start and our routines were required to be flexible as the “new norm.” This created tension and anxiety among students, staff, and our school community. If you have a few minutes, please take the time to read this article about school day anxiety.
In closing, I have a lot of topics included in this blog, conflict, work place drama, creating peaceful student environments, and school services that address student anxiety. In the months ahead, I will break down the many topics and share more information.
Thank you for reading, what are your thoughts?
Dr. Janet Neufeld
Superintendent, Pawhuska Public Schools