Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Middle School and High School Students Learn to Prevent Suicide

Grain Valley, Missouri
Learning to recognize signs of depression and suicide was the focus of discussion this fall for sixth grade and ninth grade students in the Grain Valley School District. New students in grades 6-12 this fall also received training, preparing nearly all 2262 students in grades 6-12 to recognize that suicide is not a normal response to stress, but rather is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression.
The SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program is a national program that teaches students how to recognize symptoms of depression and suicide in themselves or friends that indicate a need for further evaluation. Students view videos about the signs of suicide and the steps to take if they, a friend, or loved one is at risk.
Students learn to ACT:
A – Acknowledge: Admit that you are seeing signs of depression or suicide in a friend and that it is serious.
C – Care: Let your friend know that you care about him or her, and that you are concerned that he or she needs help you cannot provide.
T – Tell: Inform a trusted adult, either with your friend or on his or her behalf. Never promise to keep the secret!
High school seniors received instruction on a revised ACT this year that called on these young adults to seek treatment beyond high school: T – Treatment.
The Grain Valley School District is committed to helping our students navigate the challenges of the teen years, while helping to develop coping skills that serve them as adults as well. 
Administering the SOS program is a collaborative effort with district counselors and regional mental health professionals to the meet the mental health needs of Grain Valley students.  For this year’s program at the high school, 14 mental health professionals from inside and outside our school district were on hand to directly assist high school students.
This is the sixth year for the SOS Signs of Suicide® High School Prevention Program at Grain Valley High School. In that time, trained staff have followed up on dozens of students who have made self-referrals because they were concerned for themselves. Still others have referred a peer out of concern. When these referrals are for students not attending our high school, staff still follow up to ensure those children’s needs are being addressed no matter where they live.
Referrals in the high school program were down overall this year compared with previous years. Grain Valley High School Counselor Corey Vuagniaux attributes this measure, and the overall comfortable reaction of the students to the program, as an indication that increased awareness in middle school is getting students the right support at the right time. “This school district is doing a better job of identifying struggling students earlier for a variety of reasons.  We also believe this is a direct result of implementing the middle school version of the SOS program at both middle schools last year.”
Parents are notified immediately if a concern is raised by or about their child. The schools offer parent orientations to preview the videos and learn more about the program.  Parents are offered the opportunity to have their child opt out of the program ahead of time, and a few elect to do so each year.

HB 1583 was signed into law in June, 2016, requiring Missouri school districts to adopt policy on youth suicide awareness and calling for annual training on suicide prevention.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Veterans' Day celebrations in our schools on November 11

Grain Valley, MO

Students throughout Grain Valley School District will observe Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, 2016 honoring those who have served in the U.S. Military.  Each school in the district has made plans to commemorate Veteran’s Day in their own way.

Any veterans in the community are invited to attend events at Sni-A-Bar Elementary, Stony Point Elementary, Matthews Elementary and Grain Valley North Middle School.  All other schools have special events planned for veterans with connections to students or staff at those schools.

Matthews Elementary - Veteran’s Day Assembly
10:00 am
The Veterans Day Assembly will feature Matthews Elementary 3rd graders performing patriotic songs. Matthews' families were able to submit photos of military men and women from their families which will be presented in a slideshow during the assembly.
*All Community Veterans and Matthews Elementary parents are invited to attend.

Sni-A-Bar Elementary - Veteran’s Day Assembly
2:30 pm
School-wide assembly including songs, lessons, and presentation of colors by the Boy Scouts. There will also be a billboard display honoring Veterans.
* All Community Veterans are invited in attend the assembly.

Stony Point Elementary - Veteran’s Day Assembly
2:30 pm
Stony Point Elementary will host an assembly featuring the Honor Choir and student speakers from all grade levels.  The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will be a part of the assembly as well.
* All Community Veterans and Stony Point families are invited to attend.

Grain Valley North Middle School - Veteran’s Day Assembly
9:30 am
* All Community Veterans and North Middle School parents are invited to attend our assembly.

Other schools in the district are encouraging students and staff to invite veterans who have a connection to the school.
Grain Valley High School - Veteran’s Wall
7:40 am to 2:30 pm
The High School will be hosting a Veteran’s Wall honoring the contribution by America’s veterans.

Grain Valley South Middle School - Veteran’s Day Breakfast
7:15 am
Students who have an adult in their life who is a veteran or who is currently serving in the military are encouraged to invite them to the Veteran’s Day Breakfast.
*Invited Veterans are encouraged to attend.

Prairie Branch Elementary - Veteran’s Day Assembly
9:15 am
The Prairie Branch Elementary Mustang Choir will perform. The Boy Scouts will post the colors at the beginning and retire them at the end. Girl Scouts will be in uniform and will participate as well, leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Student Council officers will present a poem explaining why we have Veterans' Day.
*Prairie Branch families and veterans with a connection to the school are invited to attend.