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Sarasota County observes School Psychology Awareness Week

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Nov. 2, 2017 - During School Psychology Awareness Week, November 13–17, 2017, the 23 school psychologists employed by Sarasota County Schools are encouraging students to “Power Up! Be a Positive Charge.” The phrase “Power Up!” emphasizes each individual’s ability to plug into the talents, skills, behaviors, and mindset that will help them grow and contribute to the quality of their school and broader community. The goal is to highlight how taking a small, positive action creates connections that lead to positive changes both for themselves as individuals and for their communities as members of classrooms, peer groups, families, teams, and clubs.

School Psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally by providing direct support to students, such as individualized learning and behavioral assessments to identify students’ strengths and needs, academic and behavioral interventions, counseling, and social skills training. School psychologists also work behind the scene, consulting with teachers, families, and other educators to improve support strategies and school-wide practices and policies. School psychologists are in a unique position to ensure students’ success every day, including both small and big accomplishments. 

All children and youth can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated. School psychologists help students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both long-term, chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are a highly skilled and ready resource in the effort to ensure that all children and youth thrive in school, at home, and in life.  

Powering up to be a positive charge can take many forms. It can mean taking action to speak up when bullying occurs, engaging in learning, trying a new activity or skill, cleaning up trash on the playground, doing something kind for a classmate or neighbor, or making new friends. These actions empower children, create compassion, strengthen connections, and build resiliency—all traits that are critical for academic and social–emotional success. Being a positive charge to grow as an individual and to make the world even a little bit better can have a long lasting impact.

Power Up at Home

There are many ways families can help children take action to make positive changes. As parents and caregivers, you can:

  1. Talk to your kids about sparks—actions that can help them be a positive charge. Spark ideas include: dream, laugh, connect, imagine, create, encourage, share, listen, help, explore, try, speak up.
  2. Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
  3. Help your children identify their strengths and interests, learn new skills. Emphasize that learning and growing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
  4. Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving the goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next.
  5. Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice that talent is developed over time through skillful practice.
  6. Create an environment at home that allows your children to explore building (playing with blocks, helping with projects, and more), drawing (crayons, finger paints, paper), and music (on the radio, with children’s instruments, or through formal training through school or community resources). This may help to identify special interests.
  7. Help your child work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how persisting and overcoming obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
  8. Seek out support systems available in the community to help your children learn new skills and thrive, such as tutoring or mentoring programs. Encourage your children to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as a role model.
  9. Encourage your children to participate in school and community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community and school events yourself as role a model.

Adapted with permission from

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