Sunday, April 5, 2020

From the Voyager Academy Managing Director, April 5, 2020

Dear Vikings,

Our team will deliver weekly information and resources in the Voyager Academy Newsletter and on the Voyager Academy website.  As you may know from news media, there will be a disruption in food distribution after this week at DPS schools. Please see updated sites on our website for student food pick up. We have had a few families offer to provide food, gift cards and sponsorships for families in need. If you can help us provide meals for students in need, please reach out to me directly or to our counselor: cgittens@voyageracademy.net.   We will do anything we can to help coordinate support efforts.

We are still waiting for final State directives related to grading for all other students so please continue to assist them with their distance learning. Our primary objective is to keep all our students engaged and learning to prevent large gaps when they return. Our teachers continue to work hard to provide quality lessons and appropriate learning goals and miss your children every day.  Please share this message with them as well.

Although many of our teachers, parents, and students have seen or shared the image below, we wanted to share this message and let our seniors know how much we care and hope that one day soon we can celebrate all of you and your accomplishments.  For the families who have not seen or heard the final determination regarding Seniors grades, all seniors will only receive a Pass or Withdraw for the Spring semester. THE final GPA will be based on the end of the Semester 1 grading period. If your child was failing any courses that would prevent them from graduating, they must complete their coursework with the teacher or through NCVPS in order to graduate this year.  If your child was passing, they are not REQUIRED to complete course work, but we strongly recommend they do continue classes in order to assist them in their preparedness for their college or career choices and to stay engaged with one another.  


If your child would like to speak directly with a member of the Student Services Team and is not in immediate crisis, please email your student’s grade-level counselor or social worker.  The team will be available during regular work hours. 

If your child needs immediate medical attention and/or is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 911, your primary care physician and/or a mental health professional.

Lastly, community resources are being updated weekly and can be accessed using this list.  

With hope and optimism,

The Voyager Student Services Team
Cindy Gittens, K-12 School Social Worker, cgittens@voyageracademy.net
Melissa Meckes, K-3 School Counselor, mmeckes@voyageracademy.net
Tonya Farrish, 4-8 School Counselor, tfarrish@voyageracademy.net
Jill O’Kane, 9-12 School Counselor, jokane@voyageracademy.net




List of Community Resources by Area


Parent Articles 
Resource
Description
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
Child Mind institute

A great article about how to talk to your children about COVID-19.  Outlines some guidelines and includes a video.
Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource 
National Association of School Psychologists
10 Tips for Talking About COVID-19 with your Kids
PBS News Hour

Provides tips for how to talk to your children about COVID-19. Includes a great BrainPOP video for kids.
Managing COVID-19 Anxiety
Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Provides helpful expert tips and resources. 
COVIBOOK

This short book can be used to support and reassure our children, under the age of 7, regarding the COVID-19.  The book has been translated in several languages.


Apps
Resource
Age
Description
PreK-5
Peekapak
Social-Emotional learning curriculum uses an online gaming platform. Kids can create their own avatar. They receive points for identifying feelings, showing empathy, and helping others.
PreK-12
Rethink Ed
Offering free access to their Social-Emotional learning content. Uses video modules.

K-12

Teens
Insight Timer
Free app for sleep, anxiety and stress

A course in the Insight Timer app to learn the basics of mindfulness to help deal with common tensions of being a teenager, and in the process help to support 
Available on Google Play
K-12
Breathing Bubbles
An app specifically designed to help kids practice releasing worries and focusing on good feelings.
Available on Google Play
K-12
Mandala Coloring Pages
K-12
Mind Yeti
Mind Yeti provides free guided mindfulness sessions.

Android
PreK-K
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
Intended for parents and caregivers to use with their young children (ages 2-5) to help teach skills such as problem-solving, self-control, planning, and task persistence.
IOS
K-5
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids 
Offers children a fun and easy way to identify and process their emotions. From counting breaths to friendly wishes or frog jumps, each activity brings fun rewards to keep them engaged.


Podcasts
Resource
Age
Description
Best for Entire Family
K-12
But Why:  A Podcast for Curious Kids
Kids are always asking seemingly simple questions that have surprisingly complex answers, such as "Why is the sky blue?" and "Who invented words?" This cute biweekly radio show/podcast takes on answering them. Each episode features several kid-submitted questions, usually on a single theme, and with the help of experts, it gives clear, interesting answers.
6-12
Smash Boom Best
This fun and fast-moving spin-off of the popular Brains On! podcast is a family-friendly debate podcast. A kid judge listens to and scores the rousing, fact-based arguments of two contestants. With episodes like "Dragons versus Unicorns" and "Pizza versus Tacos," kids will be hooked, and they won't even notice that they're learning how to defend their ideas along the way.


6-12
The Two Princes
This charming fantasy adventure will have listeners of all ages glued to the speakers until the very end. Two young princes seek to save their kingdoms and in the process face villany, dragons, romance, and a magical forest full of danger. Though kissing happens, it is treated with sweetness and humor. A fairy tale for our times, this audio drama is a great introduction to the world of fiction podcasts.
Best for Learning
PK-5
Ear Snacks
The catchy soundtrack is the star in this delightful podcast from children's music duo Andrew & Polly. But this funny program also covers a range of topics by talking to actual kids as well as experts, providing thoughtful fun for young ones and their grown-ups.
K-12
KidNuz
Kids like to be informed and engaged, but talking to kids about the news can be a challenge. This podcast, created by moms who are broadcast journalists, offers young listeners five minutes of kid-friendly news (followed by a quick quiz) each day, five days a week. 
K-12
The Past and The Curious
This amusing podcast features people telling interesting, little-known stories from history with an emphasis on fun and humor. Although it's not specifically a music podcast, each episode contains an often-silly song that's sure to get stuck in your head. Thereb's even a quiz segment, so kids will learn something, too.
6-12
Book Club for Kids
Biweekly podcast features middle schoolers talking about a popular middle-grade or YA book as well as sharing their favorite book recommendations. Public radio figure Kitty Felde runs the discussion, and each episode includes a passage of that week's book read by a celebrity guest.
Best for Bedtime
PreK-5
These 10- to 15-minute stories are a perfect way to lull your little one to sleep. The podcast is updated every other week, and each episode contains a kid-friendly story, read by a soothing narrator. 
PreK-12
This podcast teaches kid-friendly mindfulness practices like "deep dragon breaths" that can be carried into waking life as well.
K-6

This series takes ridiculous "what if" questions submitted by young listeners and turns them into a new story every two weeks. 
4-5
Kid-friendly renditions of classic stories, fairy tales, and original works. These longer stories with a vivid vocabulary are great for bigger kids past the age for picture books but who still love a good bedtime story. 
Best for Music Fans
K-12
The segments, games, and songs are so silly and upbeat that the whole family will enjoy participating. Little listeners can even add their voice to the theme song in the podcast's electronically compiled kid's choir!
K-12
This two-hour podcast styled like a DJ radio show features new and old songs that kids will love, many by parents' favorite musicians. Selections are generally high-energy rock, folk, or even punk-inspired songs, but listeners will also hear mellower tunes, as well as bilingual (English/Spanish) songs and hip-hop hits for a well-rounded musical experience.
K-5
Families can enjoy rock and roll without the downsides with this fun radio show/podcast. Each week there's a new playlist combining kids' music from artists such as They Might Be Giants, with kid-appropriate songs from artists that grown-ups will recognize, such as Elvis Costello, The Ramones, and John Legend. It's a perfect compromise for parents tired of cheesy kids' music.


Weekly Wellness Activities

Week of March 23:
K-12 Mindfulness Exercises 
Yoga for elementary      Cosmic Kids Yoga
Yoga for teens               Yoga to Calm Your Nerves: 10 min Teen Yoga Class

Week of March 30:
Random Acts of Kindness
We need to distance ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other. During difficult times, we often see the most beautiful acts of kindness. Click below to see a list of activities

For High School:
Find Calm and Nourish Resilience 30-Day Program
This free, self-paced, online program features today's leading mindfulness teachers, helping you support the habits that foster ease and well-being. Enroll free for access until June 30, 2020—no payment at any time.
Week of April 6:
K-5
Art Techniques for Communicating Feelings & Problem-Solving

K-12 & Family Activity 
How to Keep My Battery Charged (AAPC Publishing)
With such uncertainty about the world around us, it is of great importance to create a daily self-care routine.  This routine can also help children with emotional regulation. For this activity, have each family member write down 5 things that makes them feel happy while doing.  Try to do at least 1 or 2 of these things each day and make sure your child sees you doing it.








--
Regards,

Jennifer Lucas, M. Ed.
Managing Director, Voyager Academy
"Integrity is the consistency between what we say and what we do"