I write this blog sitting at my 4 year old’s soccer practice. Is she here for soccer skills and to be the next Megan Rapinoe or Mia Hamm?
Nope, not even for one second. It’s about the connection.
She’s here because of the joy of being around others. The fun, the high energy, and most importantly the social connection with her peers. She’s lucky. We have daycare and she has been able to connect with a group of friends daily. My high schoolers though, have not. And we are concerned.
Many parents have emailed and called to voice concerns about their child’s social and emotional well-being. Many students spent last school year completely remote or only connecting with others two days a week. Then, summer came and if they didn’t work they sat at home on their devices or glued to the television. I’m not knocking the value of decompressing, we all need that time. It’s imperative to our health. However, when this becomes the norm for our students we should be concerned. How do we acknowledge and support the mental and social health of our young adults? How to we get out them out of the house and engaged with others?
With this in mind, we started the first day of school with a co-curricular fair. Grades 9-12 students spent time meeting the student leaders of approximately 40 co-curricular groups offered at BFA.
The very clear message:
We want you and you belong!
Well documented research shows us that students who participate in co-curriculars are more likely to attend school, achieve better academic scores, have higher levels of self concept and self worth, and increase their capacity to demonstrate resilience and problem solving skills.
Today, we offered time for all clubs to meet and for students to select wellness activities such as fishing, meditation, nature walks, writing, and pick-up sports.
How can you help your student make connections?
-Ask your student what they did and what else they would like to have access to.
-Support your student to create connections at school and in the evenings.
-Encourage them to join a cocurricular or create a club that does not exist. All they need is an advisor.
We are here to support your student and help them reengage with their peers. We want them to be joyful and take advantage of the opportunities BFA- Fairfax has to offer.
We want them to be connected.
Elizabeth Noonan is currently the Principal of BFA Fairfax High School and is a new contributor to THE FWSU STORY.