Friday, February 5, 2016

Terese Jurgensen, Director of Student Services; February 5th, 2016

Winter Weather!
Hello, everyone!  It seems like the winter weather is truly upon us. On February 2nd, while the groundhog saw his shadow, predicting spring is just right around the corner, we had the biggest snowstorm of the year (so far!). Over the last few days, even though students were not in classes I had the opportunity to meet with some excellent, caring parents and talk about putting supports in place for students with Social Thinking - Communication and Perspective taking challenges. I wanted to share this excerpt with you:

Updates on Social Thinking’s Cascade of Social Attention: A Conceptual Framework to Explore a Systems Approach to Social-Communication

Michelle Garcia Winner and Dr. Pamela Crooke

As interventionists (parents and professionals) who are seeking to develop meaningful treatment programs, it’s helpful for us to consider key aspects of the social learning system, starting with one of its main drivers:
social attention. 

Focused attention is key to performance of any kind. If you want to play tennis well, you need to attend to the ball. If you want to play computer games well, you need to attend to the information on the screen. If a person is to develop good social skills, he or she needs to attend to the situation and the people in the situation on an ongoing basis. 

Social Thinking® helps student/clients, parents, and professionals continue to learn how to better understand what it means to be “social.” For this reason, in this article our focus will be on social attention.

Organizing Our Social Attention
We each have those things, ideas, people, or situations that we prefer to think about. It’s where we most regularly and easily focus our mental energy. Yet, to be social participants in the world, we are also expected to adapt in a socially expected way to what is going on around us. 

  • Internal drivers. Think of these as “mind magnets” – the things a person is driven to focus on based on their own native interests. Mind magnets can be objects, people, gaming, topics (such as science or astronomy), etc.

  • External forces. The social world around us. This encompasses everything that occurs and is related to our social functioning. Being social requires us to shift attention away from our internal drivers toward the situation and the people in the situation.

Most of us can juggle those two forces at the same time; yet this presents a very real challenge to our students with social learning difficulties. They often struggle to shift their attention away from their mind magnets to the social external forces around them. This is likely the result of neurologically-based weak social attention.

Skill - vs - Will:  I would like to emphasize here that this is a brain-based issue and can be something wonderful (Think of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg) or it can get in the way of learning and socially communicating effectively.  I know and believe that all people are created for something great and more importantly, created for meaningful relationships! If you believe or wonder if  your son, daughter, or another family member of friend is struggling with Social Thinking/Social Attention challenges, please don't hesitate to call. We will meet, create a treatment plan for home and school that will build the brain-based bridges to support your child. 
For the entire article go to:

We are reading, studying and sharing at Crestwood Elementary the impact of Social Thinking on all aspects of learning - including Reading Comprehension!


Exciting News for Crestwood Cadets!

Tristan Bohr signs a letter of intent with the Iowa Hawkeye's Football Team!
Tristan Bohr signed with the University of Iowa Football Team! I spoke with Tristan via email, and he is super excited to be an Iowa Hawkeye!

Tristan shared with me that he is planning on going into entrepreneurial management or business as a result of his academic career at Howard-Winneshiek CSD. 

Tristan wrote:
I achieved my childhood dream and it feels so good! Howard-Winn is an amazing district! 

Reece Zubrod - Amazing student/athlete for the Crestwood Cadets

Reece Zubrod is a very talented and kind young man. We are excited to announce that he will be a student-athlete for Ellsworth College in the fall of 2016. Reece shared with me that he is looking forward to pursuing an academic career as a Secondary Math Teacher. He has expressed that his years at Howard-Winneshiek CSD have shaped him and prepared him for an excellent, post-secondary experience. 

Please be sure and contact NICC College Campus by February 12th if you would like to be a participant in this important Transition Seminar for students from grades 10th - 12th. If you have any questions, contact NICC.

So many times in our life, we are captivated by email or another form of communication that does not have human/personal communication.  I want you to know, that I always prefer person to person communication. Whether that is by phone or in person. PLEASE, never be afraid to call my cell phone at (563) 929-6344. Thank you!



Attendance Works!

We are continuing to partner with parents and staff to improve student attendance in our school district from grades kindergarten through students' senior year. Every day counts! I have included here great ideas to support student attendance. 

Please call me if you have any questions or would like to
set up a time to meet in regards to Student Achievement!
Great Snow Day Picture! 

Terese Jurgensen
Director of Student Services
(563) 929-6344

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