News

Eclipse Glasses

posted Aug 18, 2017, 8:29 AM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Aug 18, 2017, 8:32 AM ]

For Monday, August 21, Commerce City Schools will provide every student and employee "The Eclipser" ® glasses manufactured by America Paper Optics. These are first on the "verified" list from the American Astronomical Society.


Solar Eclipse

posted Aug 14, 2017, 10:53 AM by Tobie Jones

On August 21, 2017, there will be a total solar eclipse. In our area, the solar eclipse will occur at approximately 2:37 pm. Since the event occurs at the end of the school day and in order to ensure a safe dismissal, the expected dismissal time for primary and elementary schools will be delayed until 2:55 pm followed by middle and high school dismissal at the normal time of 3:05 pm. Parents/guardians will be permitted to sign your child out of school early on August 21st; however, we ask that students check out by 1:30 pm so that the schools can have adequate time to transition to the eclipse activities. Students who check out early will be excused and allowed to make up work, but the absence will count against perfect attendance for the year. Commerce City Schools has purchased eclipse-safe viewing glasses for all students and employees. Permission forms will be sent home with students this week, and the completed sheets must be returned to school by Friday, August 18.

SchoolPay Online Payments Notice

posted Aug 10, 2017, 8:34 AM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Aug 10, 2017, 8:35 AM ]

Our apologies for the problems with this site. While we are still working on it, beginning Thursday 8/10, you can securely make payment at schoolpay.com and we will post payments daily to your child’s account on Infinite Campus. The advisement that the site is not backed up by Infinite Campus only indicates that you are not seeing live accounts in Infinite Campus and that the transfer of funds is not yet automatic. Until the system is 100% automatic, we will post twice daily and send you notifications to confirm the deposits. As always, each school Cafeteria also
accepts cash or checks for payment. Thanks for your patience with this new program.

CPS and CES Announcement

posted Aug 8, 2017, 10:45 AM by Brit Jones

August 8, 2017

Dear Parents,

I appreciate your help with getting this school year off to a great start!  For those of you who have students in grades PreK-4, I need to ask for your help.  If you have a student in grades PreK-4 who rides a school bus in the afternoon, I need for an adult to be VISIBLE from the bus before the bus drivers will allow a student to get off the bus. 

If an adult is NOT visible, the bus driver will radio the school to contact the parent.  The student will remain on the school bus to return with the driver to pick up the CMS and CHS students.  If the school has made contact with the adult and the driver can see the adult during the second run, the driver will allow the student to get off the bus. 

If the driver cannot visibly see an adult the SECOND trip around, the driver will bring the student back to his/her school (CPS or CES).  After the third day a student has to be transported back to his/her school in the afternoon, the student will be assigned to the after-school program and the parent will be charged a $25 registration fee and $10 per day. 

Any student, who is a CAR RIDER at Commerce Primary and is not picked up by 3:05 pm, will be assigned to the after-school program after three days of not being picked up by 3:05 pm.  Any student assigned to the after-school program at Commerce Primary will have a registration fee of $25 and a $10 per day charge.

I appreciate your help with keeping our students as safe as possible and making the afternoons for car and bus riders as efficient as possible.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Joy Tolbert

Joy R. Tolbert, Ed.D.

Superintendent

Changes to Bus Routes

posted Jul 17, 2017, 12:45 PM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Jul 17, 2017, 12:48 PM ]

Beginning in 2017-2018, our system will be using a bus transportation software program in order to maximize safety and efficiency of our bus routes.  We understand that it will take a few days in order to get an accurate account of every student on his/her correct bus.  We are asking for your patience in advance as we finalize the routes during the first weeks of school.  

In an effort to make our bus routes as efficient as possible, Commerce City will have one morning/afternoon route for CPS/CES students and one morning/afternoon route for CMS/CHS students.  As we consolidate the routes from two to one in order to have room for all the students who ride a bus to and from school in one route, the system will no longer be able to transport car riders from school to school on the buses.  If students are being transported as a "team" to practice for band, sports, cheerleading, etc., those students will continue to be transported to their practice after school.  We apologize in advance for any inconvenience to our car riders; however, please know that this change will help with overcrowding on our buses and student supervision during dismissal.

2017-2018 New Student Registration (Grades 1-12)

posted Jun 26, 2017, 5:39 AM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Jun 26, 2017, 5:40 AM ]

Commerce City Schools has scheduled early registration for new students enrolling for the 2017-2018 school year on the following dates:

Monday, July 10, 2017 from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 from 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For your convenience, registration will be completed online. Instructions are on the Commerce City Schools website (www.commercecityschools.org/district/student-registration).

You may contact the system registrar, Angie Ingram, at (706) 335-5500 or (706) 336-8965, if you have any questions.

FY 18 Proposed Budget

posted Jun 15, 2017, 4:47 AM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Jun 15, 2017, 4:48 AM ]

The budget will be considered for final adoption by the Commerce City Board of Education
in regular session at 6:00 pm on July 10, 2017 at the Commerce City Board Office.

There will be two meetings scheduled for community input. These meetings will be June 23
at 10:00 am and July 10 at 5:30 pm at the Commerce City Board of Education Board Office.

CHS Graduation Live Stream

posted May 18, 2017, 5:39 AM by Tobie Jones

CHS Graduation will be held on Friday, May 19th at 8:00pm.  If you are unable to attend, you may view a live streaming of the program at www.commercetigertv.com.


13 Reasons Why - Netflix Series

posted Apr 24, 2017, 6:10 PM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Apr 24, 2017, 6:10 PM ]

From the NASP: National Association of School Psychologists in reference to the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why"


13 Reasons Why Netflix Series:

Schools have an important role in preventing youth suicide, and being aware of potential risk factors in students’ lives is vital to this responsibility. The trending Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, based on a young adult novel of the same name, is raising such concerns. The series revolves around 17-year old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says in some way were part of why she killed herself. Each tape recounts painful events in which one or more of the 13 individuals played a role.

Producers for the show say they hope the series can help those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. However, the series, which many teenagers are binge watching without adult guidance and support, is raising concerns from suicide prevention experts about the potential risks posed by the sensationalized treatment of youth suicide. The series graphically depicts a suicide death and addresses in wrenching detail a number of difficult topics, such a bullying, rape, drunk driving, and slut shaming. The series also highlights the consequences of teenagers witnessing assaults and bullying (i.e., bystanders) and not taking action to address the situation (e.g., not speaking out against the incident, not telling an adult about the incident).

CAUTIONS


We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal
ideation, watch this series. Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies. They may easily identify with the experiences portrayed and recognize both the intentional and unintentional effects on the central character. Unfortunately, adult characters in the show, including the second school counselor who inadequately addresses Hannah’s pleas for help, do not inspire a sense of trust or ability to help. Hannah’s parents are also unaware of the events that lead her suicide death.


While many youth are resilient and capable of differentiating between a TV drama and real life, engaging in thoughtful conversations with them about the show is vital. Doing so presents an opportunity to help them process the issues addressed, consider the consequences of certain choices, and reinforce the message that suicide is not a solution to problems and that help is available. This is particularly important for adolescents who are isolated, struggling, or vulnerable to suggestive images and storylines. Research shows that exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of death, can be one of the many risk factors that youth struggling with mental health conditions cite as a reason they contemplate or attempt suicide.


What the series does accurately convey is that there is no single cause of suicide. Indeed, there are likely as many different pathways to suicide as there are suicide deaths. However, the series does not emphasize that common among most suicide deaths is the presence of treatable mental illnesses. Suicide is not the simple consequence of stressors or coping challenges, but rather, it is most typically a combined result of treatable mental illnesses and overwhelming or intolerable stressors.

School psychologists and other school-employed mental health professionals can assist stakeholders (e.g., school administrators, parents, and teachers) to engage in supportive conversations with students as well as provide resources and offer expertise in preventing harmful behaviors.

GUIDANCE FOR EDUCATORS


1. While we do not recommend that all students view this series, it can be appreciated as an
opportunity to better understand young people’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Children and youth who view this series will need supportive adults to process it. Take this opportunity to both prevent the risk of harm and identify ongoing social and behavior problems in the school
community that may need to be addressed.


2. Help students articulate their perceptions when viewing controversial content, such as 13 Reasons Why. The difficult issues portrayed do occur in schools and communities, and it is important for adults to listen, take adolescents’ concerns seriously, and be willing to offer to help.


3. Reinforce that school-employed mental health professionals are available to help. Emphasize that the behavior of the second counselor in the series is understood by virtually all school-employed mental health professionals as inappropriate. It is important that all school-employed mental health professionals receive training in suicide risk assessment.


4. Make sure parents, teachers, and students are aware of suicide risk warning signs. Always take warning signs seriously, and never promise to keep them secret. Establish a confidential reporting mechanism for students. Common signs include:  

  • Suicide threats, both direct (“I am going to kill myself.” “I need life to stop.”) and indirect (“I need it to stop.” “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up.”). Threats can be verbal or written, and they are often found in online postings.  

  • Giving away prized possessions.

  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.

  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings. This can include someone who is typically sad who suddenly becomes extremely happy.

  • Emotional distress.

5. Students who feel suicidal are not likely to seek help directly; however, parents, school personnel, and peers can recognize the warning signs and take immediate action to keep the youth safe. When a student gives signs that they may be considering suicide, take the following actions.

  • Remain calm, be nonjudgmental, and listen. Strive to understand the intolerable emotional pain that has resulted in suicidal thoughts.  

  • Avoid statements that might be perceived as minimizing the student’s emotional pain (e.g., “You need to move on.” or “You should get over it.”).  

  • Ask the student directly if they are thinking about suicide (i.e., "Are you thinking of suicide?").

  • Focus on your concern for their well-being and avoid being accusatory.

  • Reassure the student that there is help and they will not feel like this forever.

  • Provide constant supervision. Do not leave the student alone.

  • Without putting yourself in danger, remove means for self-harm, including any weapons the person might find.

  • Get help. Never agree to keep a student's suicidal thoughts a secret. Instead, school staff should take the student to a school-employed mental health professional. Parents should seek help from school or community mental health resources. Students should tell an appropriate caregiving adult, such as a school psychologist, administrator, parent, or teacher.


7. Reinforcing resiliency factors can lessen the potential of risk factors that lead to suicidal ideation and behaviors. Once a child or adolescent is considered at risk, schools, families, and friends should work to build these factors in and around the youth.

  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.

  • Peer support and close social networks.

  • School and community connectedness.

  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.

  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict resolution.

  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, and a sense of purpose.

  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.


Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and the JED Foundation have created talking
points for conversations with youth specific to the 13 Reasons Why series, available online.

GUIDANCE FOR FAMILIES


1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.


2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs above, don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.


3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.


4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.


5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are
concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers.

SAFE MESSAGING FOR STUDENTS


1. Suicide is never a solution. It is an irreversible choice regarding a temporary problem.
There is help. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, talk
to a trusted adult, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741.


2. Don't be afraid to talk to your friends about how they feel and let them know you care about them.


3. Be an “upstander” and take actions to reduce bullying and increase positive connections among others. Report concerns.


4. Never promise to keep secret behaviors that represent a danger toward another person.


5. Suicide is preventable. People considering suicide typically say something or do something that is a warning sign. Always take warning signs seriously and know the warning signs.

  • Suicide threats, both direct ("I am going to kill myself.") and indirect ("I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up."). Can be verbal, written, or posted online.

  • Suicide notes and planning, including online postings.

  • Preoccupation with death in conversation, writing, drawing, and social media.

  • Changes in behavior, appearance/hygiene, thoughts, and/or feelings.

  • Emotional distress.

6. Separate myths and facts.

  • MYTH: Talking about suicide will make someone want to commit suicide who has never
    thought about it before. FACT: There is no evidence to suggest that talking about suicide
    plants the idea. Talking with your friend about how they feel and letting them know that you care about them is important. This is the first step in getting your friend help.

  • MYTH: People who struggle with depression or other mental illness are just weak. FACT:
    Depression and other mental illnesses are serious health conditions and are treatable.

  • MYTH: People who talk about suicide won't really do it. FACT: People, particularly young
    people who are thinking about suicide, typically demonstrate warning signs. Always take these warning signs seriously.

7. Never leave the person alone; seek out a trusted adult immediately. School-employed mental
health professionals like your school psychologist are trusted sources of help.


8. Work with other students and the adults in the school if you want to develop a memorial for
someone who has committed suicide. Although decorating a student’s locker, creating a memorial social media page, or other similar activities are quick ways to remember the student who has died, they may influence others to imitate or have thoughts of wanting to die as well. It is recommended that schools develop memorial activities that encourage hope and promote positive outcomes for others (e.g., suicide prevention programs).

Read these helpful points from SAVE.org and the JED Foundation to further understand how 13
Reasons Why dramatizes situations and the realities of suicide. See Save a Friend: Tips for Teens to Prevent Suicide for additional information.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Center for Disease Control Suicide Datasheet

WEBSITES



REFERENCES
Brock, S. E., Nickerson, A. B., Louvar Reeves, M. A., Conolly, S., Jimerson, S., Pesce, R, &    Lazarro, B. (2016). School crisis prevention and intervention: The PREPaRE model (2nd ed.). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Contributors: Christina Conolly, Kathy Cowan, Peter Faustino, Ben Fernandez, Stephen Brock, Melissa Reeves, Rich Lieberman
© 2017, National Association of School Psychologists, 4340 East West Highway, Suite 402, Bethesda, MD
20814, 301-657-0270, www.nasponline.org


Document may be adapted or excerpted with proper acknowledgement. Please cite as:
National Association of School Psychologists. (2017). 13 Reasons Why Netflix series: Considerations for educators [handout]. Bethesda, MD: Author.


Commerce Middle School is proud to be a...

posted Apr 14, 2017, 8:08 AM by Tobie Jones   [ updated Apr 14, 2017, 8:09 AM ]

https://tip.duke.edu/about-duke-tip

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