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Beehive Science and Technology Academy

Counselor Newsletter | January-February 2021

Safe School Space and Talking About Race

Beehive Academy is a small school community, and fairly diverse, at least by Utah standards.  As a school counselor, it is my responsibility to advocate for all students, and I know it’s important to our school administrators and board that our school is a safe space for all students. What does that mean? Merriam-Webster defines a Safe space as: a place (as on a college campus) intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations. That doesn’t mean conflicts don’t exist, or that everyone agrees about everything. However, it does mean that all students and staff will be treated with respect and their voice will be heard and valued. All students should feel welcome, regardless of their gender identity, race, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, financial situation, or home language. All students should feel like they are treated fairly and respectfully.

When George Floyd was killed last May, it brought racial discrimination to the forefront of the national conversation. For many people, especially white people, this has been an uncomfortable conversation. However, it is a necessary one. We as human beings are influenced by our environment. In Utah, because our population is not particularly diverse*, and due to the human habit of surrounding ourselves with people who are similar, we may not have a lot of experience with people different than ourselves. 

We are fortunate to have such a diverse community at BSTA. This diversity of students and staff provides all of our students opportunities to learn from each other and from teachers of varying backgrounds. This has a positive impact on the cultural competency of our students as they enter college and the whole community. It also helps provide a safe place for each student to feel comfortable and learn to their best ability.

Our students are in the process of learning and growing into future citizens of this community. They are guided by their education at school, but very much influenced and guided by their families. I would encourage you, as parents, to continue to educate yourself about other cultures by reading, getting to know people different than yourself, and respectfully asking questions if you don’t understand something. We should look at the relationships we have with others and exposure to people and cultures different than our own. We are not color blind, even if we wish to be. We all see color, and discussing the influence this has on our view of others, and the impact race and cultural differences have had in our country, is critical for the future of each of our students and our community.

For more information about how to talk to your kids about race, check out these links:

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-race.html#catmental-health

https://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/2020/07/09/tulsa-educators-share-five-tips-for-how-teachers-parents-can-talk-about-race-with-kids/

For more reading: 

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/06/a-reading-list-on-issues-of-race/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kylewestaway/2020/06/04/20-books-for-2020-a-reading-list-on-race-in-america/?sh=4d22276e30b0 

*According to Wikipedia, Utah’s population is approximately 88.6% white/European descent, and 60.7% LDS. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Utah#:~:text=According%20to%202010%20United%20States,2.8%25%20Asian%2DAmerican&text=1.6%25%20African%20American 

COVID-19 and Mental Health

We can all agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely challenging for all of us; some people have lost loved ones, lost employment, or gotten sick, and for all of us, social distancing can be a real challenge, especially as we approach the one year mark of when the pandemic started. Not being able to see or be close to others takes a toll after awhile, and it’s important to reach out in every safe way possible in order to maintain those connections we need with those we love and enjoy spending time with. 

Fortunately, it looks like a vaccine is ready and is being distributed. I’m hopeful that soon this will mean that we can return to at least a “new” normal and get to be with each other again. It’s important we hang on and take care of ourselves and each other while we get to the other side. For some helpful information about managing mental health and self-care during this pandemic, check out these links: 

https://afsp.org/story/quarantine-is-a-mood 

https://www.datocms-assets.com/12810/1588372299-supporting-employee-well-being-during-covid-19.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html#community

If you have any questions or concerns about your student or family, please feel free to contact me at jennifer.swan@beehiveacademy.org or (801) 576-0070. Also, please don’t hesitate to use the SafeUT app or website: https://safeut.med.utah.edu/, especially after hours.

College and Career Readiness

Middle school- 

I visited the 6th grade classes in December to do an activity about careers. I met with eighth grade students also during December, who were asked to complete a career cluster inventory in December. We went over opportunities and expectations in high school. The powerpoint for this orientation to high school can be found here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/18Bfnsb0t8Rc4QJQB7jMMQ8SfA4k9tN8E2685EMTs4po/edit?usp=sharing

Both 7th and 8th grade students will be meeting with me and their parents later this year to complete a College and Career Readiness (CCR) plan, which I will be doing every year with students in 7th-12th grades. Seventh graders will meet as a group, and eighth graders will be invited to individual meetings with me. I expect to do CCRs with both of these grades late this spring.

High school- 

Seniors should review their graduation status after completing first semester and make arrangements to make up any missing credits for graduation. See Mrs. Swan if you have any questions. Senior CCR plan meetings were held in December.

I will be holding a tenth grade CCR plan meeting for students and their parents during SSR on February 26 (Mr. Gul’s SSR) and February 27 (Dr. Pavlovic’s SSR). Please watch your email for a zoom link to attend that day. We will be discussing student goals, graduation status, scholarships and other opportunities in high school, and preparing for college and careers. 

Additionally, I will be scheduling a time to meet with each eleventh grade student in January and February, to complete their CCR plan. Parents will be invited to attend. We will review student goals, graduation status, plans for senior year and beyond, scholarships and other opportunities, and answer any questions about college and career plans. 

Ninth grade students will be meeting with me later this spring for their CCR plan. 

I have encouraged all high school students to download the phone app “Keys to Success.” (See below)

Upcoming Events

January 6, 2021 after school OR January 7, 2021 during SSR– Hope Squad meeting (members only)

January 8, 2021– Fantastic Friday! 3-4 pm Zoom Social hour (middle school 3-3:30, high school 3:30-4). 

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81658292857?pwd=NlJEMWw1Z2k3b2N5Q1A4dHk3M3RWQT09

January 13-15, 2021 Semester 1 finals (early out)

January 18, 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No school)

January 22, 2021– Fantastic Friday! 3-4 pm Zoom Social hour (middle school 3-3:30, high school 3:30-4). 

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81658292857?pwd=NlJEMWw1Z2k3b2N5Q1A4dHk3M3RWQT09

January 26-27, 2021– Tenth grade CCR meetings during SSR (parents invited)

January 27, 2021 after school OR January 28, 2021 during SSR– Hope Squad meeting (members only)

January 29, 2021– Fantastic Friday! 3-4 pm Zoom Social hour (middle school 3-3:30, high school 3:30-4). 

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81658292857?pwd=NlJEMWw1Z2k3b2N5Q1A4dHk3M3RWQT09

February is Black History Month, Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and CTE month

February 1-5, 2021– National School Counseling Week

February 2, 2021– Job Shadow Day

February 5, 2021– Fantastic Friday! 3-4 pm Zoom Social hour (middle school 3-3:30, high school 3:30-4). 

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81658292857?pwd=NlJEMWw1Z2k3b2N5Q1A4dHk3M3RWQT09

February 10, 2021 after school OR February 11, 2021 during SSR– Hope Squad meeting (members only)

February 12, 2021– No School (Teacher Professional Development Day)

February 15, 2021– President’s Day (No school)

February 15-19, 2021– Random Acts of Kindness Week

February 19, 2021– Early Out Day

February 20, 2021– STEM Expo

February 24, 2021 after school OR February 25, 2021 during SSR– Hope Squad meeting (members only)

February 26, 2021– (tentative) Fantastic Friday! 3-4 pm Zoom Social hour (middle school 3-3:30, high school 3:30-4). 

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81658292857?pwd=NlJEMWw1Z2k3b2N5Q1A4dHk3M3RWQT09

Resources

I have established a “website” for the counseling department that is available by visiting the main BSTA website http://www.beehiveacademy.org/. Click on the “academics” tab to drop down, then click on “Counseling corner.” This site is a work in progress, but I will continue to add to the pages. I will eventually have information about mental health, community resources, scholarships, college and career readiness, volunteer/service opportunities, and a counseling department calendar. I encourage parents and students to click around the site for resources and information from the counseling department.  

Please be aware of two important phone apps that are available to students. First, SafeUT provides 24/7 mental health support for Utah students AND their families. The app allows the user to chat (text) or phone and speak with a licensed counselor any time of day. Students can also report bullying incidents and other school safety issues there. Users have the option of remaining anonymous. 

The second app is brand new this year, and is called Keys to Success (KTS). This app is available to all middle school and high school students, and is a support for finding internships, scholarships, and other career and college information. Middle school students can only use the app as a guest, so far, but high school students are encouraged to create a personalized account to be informed of opportunities that apply specifically to them. 

Contact Information

jennifer.swan@beehiveacademy.org
(801) 576-0700, extension 111

Mission Statement

At Beehive, students of diverse cultures achieve academic excellence and personal skills in a challenging and innovative STEM environment to become contributing global citizens.

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