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Counselor's Corner: Follow Up to 13 Reasons Why

By: Elise Banks, School Counselor, St. Mark's Episcopal School

As the 2017-2018 school year comes to an end, I know many are ready to say good-bye to a year with many beautiful moments but a year also faced with many low points. To be a part of a school community that is able to support each other through trial and triumph is truly a blessing.

This year brought the second year of our Boy World | Girl World character development program. I personally want to thank the middle school parent body for your continued support and feedback as we work to provide a space where students can be given practical tools and have conversations that foster growth and great character. I am excited about what next school year will bring!

With summer starting in just a few days, students will have more free time to relax and play. Coincidentally, ’13 Reasons Why’ chose this same time frame to premiere Season 2. The original premiere date was this past Friday, May 18th, but was canceled after the news of the Santa Fe High School shooting. With the new premiere date pending, I wanted to send a reminder that this show is still not appropriate for the majority of our students. Although this season will offer more disclaimers before the start of each episode, the content is still very graphic and intense. If you are a parent of an older middle school student, who is choosing to watch this show, please use this as an opportunity to watch the show with your child. This should also be followed by family conversations about what the show discussed in each episode. Read the blog post I wrote last year after Season 1.

Speaking of last week’s school shooting, our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy. With the number of school shootings on the rise, feelings of anger, anxiety, and doubt can rise in parents and students.

Learn more about having an age-appropriate conversation with your child about safety and violence.

I want to wish each family a wonderful and safe summer. It is an honor to work with our students for their social and emotional needs, and I look forward to seeing everyone back in August!

God Bless,

Elise N. Banks, M.S., LPC

School Counselor

Chaplain's Reflections: What is Ash Wednesday?

By: Rev. Kristin Sullivan, School Chaplain, St. Mark's Episcopal School

What is Ash Wednesday?

When we are baptized oil is used to mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross as the priest proclaims that we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit, and marked as Christ own forever!” On Ash Wednesday we begin our lenten journey by being marked with another cross, this time made out of ashes (often made from the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday). This cross reminds us that there are things we do that draw us away from God and make us forget the image of Christ that was placed in us. These ashes call us to repent and return to the Lord. They serve as an outward and visible sign of the change that we are desiring to make during the season of lent. A season that offers us a time to focus on coming …

Posted by howarj in St. Mark's Blog, chaplain's reflections on Monday February 5 at 04:16PM
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Nurse's Tips: Flu Season Is Here

By: Sarah Beckmann, School Nurse, St. Mark's Episcopal School

It’s difficult to miss all the information regarding this year’s unusually busy influenza season on the news and social media. We have been monitoring closely at school, and we are taking precautions as we can. Although we are hopeful that we are beyond the peak, there are still several more weeks of flu season to go, and there are always a variety of other illnesses circulating this time of year (strep throat, stomach bugs, cold viruses). With that in mind, I’d like to share a few illness prevention tips:

  • The flu I’ve seen in school this year seems to be hitting our friends quickly. If your child seems a little under the weather in the morning, consider monitoring at home for an extra hour or two before going to school. A …
Posted by howarj in St. Mark's Blog, health tips, health, nurse's tips on Wednesday January 31
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Counselor's Corner: Grief

By: Elise Banks, School Counselor, St. Mark's Episcopal School

The loss of a special person in your life is never an easy process to go through. There can be feelings of sadness and anger, knowing you will never see this person again, and there are feelings of joy as you celebrate the life and contributions that were made. This week, and in the coming weeks, the St. Mark’s community remembers the beautiful life of Mr. Steve Salley. Since Monday, I have seen our students and staff come together to support each other during this period of grief. I have also been able to see the strength of our students. Even through their tears, they continue to put one step in front of the other because as many of them have said, “Mr. Salley would want us to.”

As you support your child during this time, it …

Posted by howarj in St. Mark's Blog, St. Mark's Headmaster Blog, vulnerability, counselor's corner on Wednesday December 6, 2017 at 09:45AM
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Chaplain's Reflections: Eucharist

By: Rev. Kristin Sullivan, School Chaplain, St. Mark's Episcopal School

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

This Thursday we will be celebrating our first Eucharist of the school year. Our first Eucharist of each year is a celebration of All Saints Day, the day in the church year when we remember all of the saints who have gone ahead of us and made us who we are. On this day we remember, and read the names of the saints in our own lives who have died in the past year.

The word Eucharist comes from a Greek work that means thanksgiving. Jesus gathered with his disciples before he died and gave thanks for the …

Posted by howarj on Thursday October 26, 2017 at 04:17PM
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Counselor's Corner: Taking Time to Pause

By: Elise Banks, School Counselor, St. Mark's Episcopal School

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. In my field, this is a time for advocacy in a space often overlooked. For me, it is an exciting time to bring awareness to a subject I dedicate my life’s work toward. During the hustle and bustle of mental health classes and presentations for our middle school students, and the advocacy work I did outside of St. Mark’s, I was not able to fully enjoy every part of the week I worked so hard to get to. When Friday afternoon rolled in, I thought about how grateful I was for the week, but how it would have been more special if I had periodically paused to take it all in.

In the same way, life has a tendency to conflict with our ability to pause and reflect on special moments. Whether the …

Nurse's Tips: It's Flu Shot Season!

By: Sarah Beckmann, School Nurse, St. Mark's Episcopal School

Flu season is officially upon us and typically lasts from October into May every year. St. Mark’s is hosting a flu shot clinic provided by Randall’s Pharmacy this Thursday, October 5, from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. If you haven’t yet had your annual influenza shot, this is a great opportunity to do so. Click here for more information.

A Few Flu and Flu Vaccine Facts:

  • Influenza is a respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, body aches, and unusual fatigue. Some people will also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; however, the "stomach flu" is not caused by influenza.
  • Although most healthy people will recover from influenza in 1-2 weeks, it can be a very serious illness; influenza/pneumonia remains …
Posted by howarj in parenting, St. Mark's Blog, nurse's tips on Tuesday October 3, 2017 at 08:30AM
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Nurse's Tips: Skin Safety

By: Sarah Beckmann, School Nurse, St. Mark's Episcopal School

A common complaint I hear from our students is itchy mosquito bites. After a quick application of Calamine lotion, kids are happy to return to class with a “pink polka dot.” In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, spending more time outside, and extra standing water in our communities, I do worry about the potential problems associated with insect bites and sun exposure.

At St. Mark’s, we want our students and families to be safe, so we do encourage use of sunscreen and insect repellent. We advise parents help children with application each morning. If your child is responsible enough, you may send these products to school to keep in backpacks for re-applying when needed; I especially encourage this practice for our extended day …

Posted by Jean Marie H. in health tips, health, nurse's tips on Tuesday September 19, 2017 at 03:09PM
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Counselor's Corner: Life Post-Harvey

By: Elise Banks, School Counselor, Rev. Kristin Sullivan, School Chaplain, St. Mark's Episcopal School

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” Romans 12:12

The verse above is part of what we read in chapel when we gathered together on Tuesday morning. It was wonderful to see our school in one group and hear the sweet voices of our students singing. Our life together as a community revolves around supporting one another. We rejoice in the hope that we will rebuild our homes and our city, we are patient with one another as we go through suffering, and through all of it, we pray. God is with us in all that we do; In the good and in the bad. On the days when things feel like they are getting back to normal, and on the days when everything feels out of our control.

We …

Posted by Jean Marie H. in parenting, St. Mark's Blog on Tuesday September 19, 2017 at 03:02PM
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Nurse's Tips: Solar Eclipse Safety

By: Sarah Beckmann, School Nurse, St. Mark's Episcopal School

I am excited for the start of a new school year! Watching the students come in with big toothy (or often toothless) grins and hearing them call out, “Hi, Nurse Sarah!” always puts a smile on my face. With the new year upon us, I wanted to share some information on a few preventative health concerns.

Photo Courtesy of NASAIn case you’ve missed the news, a solar eclipse path will cross the nation on Monday, August 21. Our 6th grade students will be on campus for orientation during the eclipse, and we have taken measures to ensure their safety at school. I’d like to pass on some safety information for you to use at home as well.

Protect your eyes! Never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse. Looking directly at the sun can cause permanent …

Posted by howarj in St. Mark's Blog on Friday August 18, 2017 at 09:07AM
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Counselor's Corner: 13 Reasons Why

By: Elise Banks, School Counselor, St. Mark's Episcopal School

Last week, I took the time to watch the hit series 13 Reasons Why. The show follows the life of a teenage girl who ultimately takes her life and leaves thirteen tapes to explain why she made this decision. I watched the show through two different lenses. As an adult and a therapist, I saw the show doing a wonderful job depicting real life issues teenagers are facing in this generation. However, I also watched through the lens of a middle school student, and I was left thinking “Woah…this is heavy…what just happened?”. You see, the show’s major themes include suicide, drug use, underage drinking, sexual assault, sexting, bullying, and extreme use of profanity. With the show’s target for a mature audience, and knowing some of our …

Posted by howarj in teens, St. Mark's Blog, courage, vulnerability on Tuesday May 16, 2017
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