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DECEMBER 2022 EDITION

December Dates to Remember:

  • Dec.13th: Board of Education Meeting at 7 PM at WPHS Innovation Center or view at www.colonialschooldistrict.org
  • Dec. 22-Jan. 2: Winter Break Schools and Offices CLOSED

An Important Message from Superintendent 

Dr. Jeffrey Menzer

Colonial Nation,

I am reaching out with some updates about our progress with the Capital campaign.  As you know, we gathered feedback over the spring and summer from a variety of stakeholders to decide on the renovation projects that would be included in the campaign. These projects were developed into a Certificate of Necessity (CN) request that was submitted to the State for approval with the ultimate goal of bringing forward a capital referendum to the community.

At the November Board meeting, I shared with our Board members that the Department of Education (DOE) was unable to approve our CN because of the fiscal constraints that the State is currently facing. Without this CN approval, we are unable to move forward with a capital referendum unless we were to ask our taxpayers to pay the entire cost of the projects and forgo the State support, which would provide roughly 60% of the total funding needed. While we all know that our students deserve world-class facilities, it is the belief of the Board that Colonial taxpayers should also receive the benefit of the state’s investment in maintaining our public school buildings. Therefore, at this time, we are not moving forward with a capital referendum campaign this coming spring.

Our Board Members support the idea of submitting the request to DOE again next year and also asked us to work with our legislators to understand and address the fiscal constraints that prevented our CN and others to be denied despite the acknowledgment that the projects are critical for district operations.

We will begin to reassess and regroup around our next steps in the new year and we look forward to updating you on that work in the spring. We hope you’re able to enjoy the upcoming holiday season in good health and good company.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey D. Menzer, Superintendent

Three Schools Earned Top Honors!

Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Holodick commended  Wilbur, Pleasantville, and Eisenberg Elementary Schools for their student’s growth and progress toward English language proficiency.

The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA), formerly the National Title I Association, has been selecting examples of superior, federally funded school programs for national recognition through the National ESEA Distinguished Schools program (formerly the National Title I Distinguished Schools program) since 1996.

Colonial’s three schools each will receive an $8,000 award, a certificate, and a banner to hang in their building!

“Congratulations to our multi-language learners and the families and educators whose support helped them make the gains that have earned their schools this recognition,” Holodick said. “This is a celebration of their entire school communities.”

That’s the way WE do it in Colonial Nation!

Health and Wellness

Raising Mental Health Awareness During the Holiday Season
The holiday season can be a tremendously stressful time for many individuals who are struggling with a mental illness such as depression and anxiety. According to a survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.

The holiday season can be a tremendously stressful time for many individuals who are struggling with a mental illness such as depression and anxiety. According to a survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.

https://discoverymood.com/blog/raising-mental-health-awareness-holiday-season/

What can you do during the Holidays to relieve some depression and anxiety?
Surround yourself with a solid support system. Being around those who care most about you during the holidays can help ease depression symptoms, too. Try your best not to isolate yourself. Having your support system close by during the holidays will also ensure you have someone readily available to talk to you should those symptoms begin to surface. Even if you treat yourself to a nice meal in a restaurant or a friend’s home.

Here are some tips on … How can you stay connected with friends and family?

Keep your plans simple. Depression can suck up your energy and distort your sense of concentration. It’s also known to make decision-making incredibly difficult. Instead of stacking your holiday calendar with an overwhelming number of plans, including those that might involve great concentration and decision-making, focus on simple activities. Set small goals for yourself, and do what you can.

Be patient with yourself. Some suffering from depression during the holidays might think, “This is supposed to be a happy time of year. Why can’t I just feel happy?” But, setting unrealistic expectations of being happy around the clock during the holidays can often backfire. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself during the holidays, and not get discouraged.

Here are tips on how to treat yourself with compassion!

Exercise. Taking care of your body through regular exercise is beneficial to your health for many reasons, but did you know exercise can also help relieve symptoms of depression? So, get up and move. Do your holiday shopping at the mall versus online to get in extra steps. Grab the shovel to clear your driveway of snow instead of using your snow blower. Walk the neighborhood with friends and do some caroling. Every little bit counts.

Avoid abusing substances. If you’re feeling depressed, you might be tempted to use substances as a coping method… but don’t. Keeping a clear mind allows you the opportunity to be present with friends/family. Also, some substances such as alcohol are considered depressants.

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

The holidays are a time of friends and family gathering and spending time together.  WE want to share some tips to help prevent the spread of the illness (COVID-19, Flu, RSV).
1. Consider getting your Flu Shot and/or COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster if you have not done so already.  Please visit www.vaccines.gov for locations convenient to you.
2. Consider wearing a well-fitting mask, especially if you are beginning to have symptoms of illness.  Individuals should not feel embarrassed if they choose to wear a mask, especially in crowded locations.
3. If you are sick, stay home and consider taking a COVID-19 test.
4. It never hurts to test for COVID-19 before gathering with family or friends.
5. Do not go to the hospital ER for a COVID test-there are many options available statewide (Visit de.gov/gettested).
6. Gather outdoors, when possible.
7. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water (consider hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available).

Attendance Matters 

As we return from the Winter Break, continue to be grateful to everyone for helping to maintain a routine of showing up to school.

Colonial schools and offices will be closed from winter break from Thursday, December 22nd through Tuesday, January 2nd. Students will return to school on Tuesday, January 3rd.  We appreciate everyone’s efforts to avoid taking extra time off during the weeks leading up to the winter break. As long as your child is healthy, please encourage showing up to class when school is in session.

Every day of school is an important opportunity for students to learn as well as to connect to their peers and teachers.

WE thank:

● Our students and their families for doing their best to show up daily even when it isn’t easy.

● Our teachers for going above and beyond to make school a welcoming and safe place for all students to learn.

● Our administrators for helping us work together to ensure we create a physically and emotionally safe and engaging learning environment.

● Our many, many healers and helpers – the support staff and community volunteers for providing extra hands and attention our children need.

WE appreciate each one of you and hope your winter break is restful and healing. If your family or your child needs support leading up to or after the break, please reach out to your child’s school team (teacher, counselor, nurse, administrator) for help and resources.

WE thank you for partnering with us!

Get Your Nomination in Now!

Do you know a Colonial staff member who is dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference? The Behavioral Health Professional of the Year Award is given to a school employee whose position is health care practitioner or social or human services provider who offers services for the purpose of improving an individual’s mental health, such as
• School counselors
• School social workers
• Licensed clinical social workers
• School psychologists
• School nurses
If you have questions, please email Cheri Woodall, Supervisor of Health and Wellness, at cheri.woodall@colonial.k12.de.us” style=”font-weight: normal;font-weight: normal;color: #006792;text-decoration: underline;color: #006792;text-decoration: underline”>cheri.woodall@colonial.k12.de.us

Please use this link to submit your nominations by Friday, January 13, 2023

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