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Caring for our staff so they can care for our kids

Caring for our staff so they can care for our kids
Caring for our staff so they can care for our kids

In the midst of a very busy week of preparing classrooms and getting familiar with new processes, district staff took an hour to re-connect, re-charge and breathe.

During the districtwide kickoff event this week, staff members were encouraged to take time for themselves so they can take care of our kids. They heard from keynote speaker Dr. Jen Clifden about the very real concept of burnout. Dr. Clifden is the founder of Present Well-Being LLC and the creator of Present Teacher Training. She has devoted her career to discovering the origins of caregiver mental health, adult social and emotional well-being, human-centered curriculum design, and mindfulness.

As part of the presentation, staff had the opportunity to practice breathing techniques, move their bodies to release stress, and laugh together as they learned how to address the physical and emotional strain that comes from caring for others.

“People who don’t care don’t burnout,” Dr. Clifden told the crowd. “You’re in this profession because you care.”

With record numbers of educators leaving the profession, Clifden reminded the audience of why they got into education in the first place and encouraged them to find their joy again. She also provided strategies to help them manage stressful situations and overcome challenges.

The district, in partnership with Washington County, will be providing support and resources to staff throughout the school year to encourage both physical and emotional wellness. Thanks to Washington County's WellSpring Project and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grant, staff can access The Present Teacher Restoration Project modules - free of charge.

The online, self-paced program focuses on providing all school staff (not just teachers) with evidence-based healing and restoration practices in mental health and emotional resilience. The series of eight, 30 minute modules walk staff through a variety of stress management activities, exercises and guided meditations designed to restore their mental well-being. The goal of the program is to recharge educators so they show up to school ready to support their students. 

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In Other News

Calendars approved for next two years

The district will implement a new early start, early end calendar beginning in the 2025-2026 school year, while next year's calendar will maintain the status quo.