WORDS FROM THE SUP’T: Well-being for every student

On Feb. 22, Clarkston tipped off its Community Well-Being Campaign with 30 partners, including doctors, mental health professionals, civic groups, local counselors, not-for profits, pastors, school board members, teachers, parents, school administrators, the Clarkston Coalition for Youth, Clarkston Youth Assistance, Springfield Township Library, Oakland County government, Independence Township Parks and Recreation, Clarkston Independence District Library, businesses, Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce, and many others.
The campaign has two primary goals:
1. For the entire Clarkston community to be aware of the research behind and steps to achieving social, emotional, and physical well-being for every Clarkston kid.
2. To build upon existing or create new structures over the next five years as a community to achieve well-being for every child.
One of the ways of achieving the first goal is a community-wide book study. For this, we have chosen The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte.
Paper and digital copies of this book are available through the Clarkston Independence District Library. We encourage families to read this book together, talk about it at dinner, and think about what it means
The book puts forth elements of well-being, which cross reference with those vital for a healthy brain, including positive emotions (optimism, understanding our own thoughts and challenging negative thoughts, hopefulness), engagement (being involved in activities, motivation, perseverance, contribution), meaning (a life of purpose), and positive relationships (family, friends, happiness, love, joy, peace, knowing someone cares, serving others).
With these elements in place, children are much more likely to accomplish their goals and achieve in school.
Specifically, we as parents, teachers, neighbors, grandparents, friends, siblings, and community members can encourage children to get involved in and stick with at least one extracurricular activity.
The research shows “kids who spend more than a year in extracurriculars are significantly more likely to graduate from college and, as young adults, to volunteer in their communities.
The hours per week kids devote to extracurriculars also predict having a job and earning more money, but only for kids who participate in activities for two years rather than one.” (Grit, 2016). Of course, this makes sense.
Such activities are replete with opportunities for positive emotions, engagement, positive relations, meaning, and accomplishment/achievement.
I continue to believe social, emotional, and physical well-being are the keys to to a healthy life of achievement.
Without these things, it is hard to succeed. Together as a community, we have what it takes to make sure that every child is well. What greater gift can a community give to its children?
Congratulations to Clarkston bowlers, cheerleaders, dancers, thespians, musical performers, winter guard, hockey, ski, basketball teams, wrestlers, and swimmers and divers on their amazing accomplishments this winter.
Our school system is deeply grateful to each of these students, their parents and coaches/teachers, and to the community who supports them.
We are excited to enter the tournament season and to follow our teams to places near and far as they achieve their goals.
Dr. Rod Rock is superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools

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