Academy Newsletter October 1
Dear Central Academy students and families,
School leaders around the nation have been abuzz this week with the latest violent Tik Tok Challenge. Pre-pandemic Tik Tok challenges typically consisted of posting a video of yourself attempting some silly dance move. It was fun to watch and funny. But through the pervasive stress and trauma of the last year and a half, our collective sense of humor has turned darker. Tik Tok Challenges that promote assault and vandalism are a symptom of the suffering so many are going through. Hurt people hurt people.
As we roll into October, which is traditionally one of the most stressful among Academy students, I want to you to guard your thoughts against violence. Pay attention to what is considered funny and why as we are laughing at memes, social media posts, and comedian jokes. To be clear, assault and vandalism are not jokes– they are serious crimes. I don’t want anyone to get into serious trouble thinking a violent Tik Tok Challenge is just a joke. I believe the Tik Tok community is unhappy with the violent challenges. I’ve heard there is a counter challenge to bring your teacher school supplies; although, sending your teacher a nice note is always welcome.
Last Friday the Academy staff spent the morning learning about the effects of long-term stress on the brain, developing social-emotional awareness of ourselves in the classroom, and crafting our professional learning plans to address the effects of societal turmoil that inevitably show up in classrooms. The sense of relief in our staff was palpable as we realized we are not alone in this struggle– there are actions we can take to create a more harmonious and healthy environment. And this week, I’ve noticed that the atmosphere at our school was much calmer. Overall, students seemed less stressed.
Finally, if you are feeling stressed and need to talk to someone, we have an awesome counseling team! You might also try reaching out to your teacher if you are feeling frustrated, worried, or uncertain. Your teachers want you to be successful. Our goal is for students to earn a B or higher in their Academy classes. We are working hard to create solutions to emerging problems like ensuring students have access to breakfast and on-time bus service, as well as creating mentoring and service opportunities for our students and staff. We want our students to feel comfortable at Academy even as they undertake challenging course work.
“Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” -(unknown)
I am so grateful to serve the students, staff and families of Des Moines Public Schools and Central Academy. It gives me joy to be able to work with such amazing people every day.
PRIORITY COVID-19 TESTING for STAFF, STUDENTS, and FAMILIES
Des Moines Public Schools is partnering with Nomi Health to give staff, students and families priority access to COVID-19 testing.
Two locations – at Hoover High School and the Kurtz Opportunity Center – will include a priority access line for students, their families and staff, as well as a line for the general public. The drive-thru sites will offer both rapid antigen testing (with a 1-hour turn-around time) and PCR testing (with a 24-48-hour turnaround time).
Register in advance by visiting: testing.nomihealth.com/signup/dmschools
The testing sites open Monday, Oct. 4. Hours: Monday – Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hoover High School
Parking lot of Northwest Aquatic Center at 4915 Madison Ave. (corner of Madison and 50th)
Kurtz Opportunity Center
1000 Porter Ave. – parking lot north of the baseball field near SW Porter Avenue and SW 12th Street
Students should bring student IDs, and staff members must bring their district staff ID badges. Younger students without IDs need only identify themselves as students. There are no out-of-pocket costs but those with insurance are asked to bring their insurance card.
MASK WAIVER REQUESTS
Des Moines Public Schools has a process to review all requests for exemptions to the mast requirement and all requests will be determined on an individual basis. The review process is a team approach, led by the school nurse. At Central the School Nurse is Jasmine Lester, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please share any information you would like the team to consider as part of the review process. Factors that we take into account for a mask waiver include: a note from a medical provider with supporting documentation to the student’s health condition that prevents mask wearing; a review of the student’s IEP (if applicable); and other supporting documentation that you would like the team to consider. We developed this process to ensure consistencies throughout the district as well as to ensure the health and well-being of all students and staff.