Archive for March, 2017

Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!

March 27, 2017

Feeling stressed in today’s society is pretty much inevitable.

Young people should have everything to be happy about, right?  But the generation that one would think has the least responsibility, actually experiences the most stress.  In fact, studies show a whopping 65% of students feel unhealthy anxiety on a daily basis.

It’s no secret that being a teenager is hard and comes with its own set of difficulties. It’s also no secret that school and the pressure to succeed are becoming larger and larger percentages of these difficulties. While some stress may come from simply being a teenager and its inherent struggles, too much stress is unhealthy.

Stressed-out teenagers can show signs of insomnia, depression, altered eating habits, substance abuse, and other dangerous stress-related symptoms which begs the question:  Could today’s society be putting too much pressure on teens?

Yes, it’s important for parents to push their children to succeed, but it’s also important that the fun of simply being a child isn’t taken away.

Without smart habits for dealing with situations that could be stressful, life can be a whole lot more burdensome that it needs to be. Students may feel tired before the week has barely begun. Being overwhelmed on a daily basis can cause upset stomach, headaches or migraines, or feelings of despair – when everything seems bleak and there is nothing left to give.

It might not seem like it when you’re down, but living a more stress free life is possible, even for adults. There are some really easy ways to beat stress effectively. Here are a few that we can all try that can really make a difference:

1. A varied and healthy diet

Eating fresh ingredients and lots of fruit is really important. Juices filled with vitamin C, such as orange or grapefruit juice, are said to be good for the immune system which can help reduce stress.

2. Exercise

Doing something athletic at least once a week is the best way to reduce stress. It helps your body produce endorphins which make you feel good. Even a 30 minute walk can help reduce stress levels so everyone needs to ‘get those steps’!

3. Try meditation, yoga or relaxed breathing

It might sound simple, but sitting quietly for 10 minutes a day can really help with stress levels. Good breathing techniques can put the body in a more relaxed state as they send oxygen surging through the bloodstream, helping you calm down and beat the stress.

4. Sleep (and turn off the electronic devices!)

Sleep is always the best medicine and some people find that small 20-minute naps can help increase productivity.  Teenagers, whose bodies are growing and changing, need even more sleep.

Students tend to spend too much time perusing social media sites and answering texts. Sociability is fun – but too much of it, and too much phone time, can lead to more stress.

5. Listen to music

Listening to music can help calm you down and put you in a better frame of mind.  If you’re feeling stressed, try turning on some music while you work to relax and motivate you.

6. Laugh…at lot

They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s truly is!  Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress.

7. Make a list

Jot down ideas, tasks and stuff you have to remember, then you won’t have to worry about forgetting.  You will free up your mind for focusing on other things than remembering.

8. One thing at a time

You’ll feel better and less stressed if you do just one thing at a time. If you must multi-task a few things during the day then set some time aside for that.  Single-tasking will allow higher quality results right away and give a sense of accomplishment and relief.

9. Don’t make mountains out of molehills

One of the best ways to make your day and life easier, lighter and less stressful is to not build mountains out of molehills. Try not to create extra drama, overthink or create a problem out of something that doesn’t matter much…or just out of thin air.

10. Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution

…and only 20% of your time on dwelling on the issue or problem. You’ll live a much more action-filled life and feel less pessimistic and powerless if you do!

11. Ask instead of guessing

Reading minds is impossible.  Misunderstandings will be plentiful if you try to do it.  Communicate instead. You’ll have a lot less unnecessary conflicts, negativity and waste less of your and other people’s valuable time.

12. Make sure you take time to do what you love to do

Learn to get the necessary things done then relax. Prioritize what really matters and carve out time during the weekend or evenings for some downtime. Few things are better at relieving stress and creating positive energy than doing an activity that you love to do.

13. Ask for help and talk it out

This may be the most important thing for us all to remember. You don’t always have to go it alone. Reach out to a friend, a parent, or a teacher and talk about what’s weighing on your mind.  Just letting it out and verbalizing the issue can often help decrease the stress quite a bit… And remember to return the favor when someone else needs a sympathetic ear.

Finding a few favorites among these tips and habits can make a huge difference in taking the first step to living a much lighter and more balanced life.

Sure, there is always going to be a certain amount of stress placed upon us, but it is important to make sure that it does not get out of hand. It is also important not to place too much pressure on teenagers. Certain precautions should be taken to limit the amount of pressure and worry they have in their daily lives, so room is still left for leisure activities and fun.

Who likes anxiety and stress anyway, especially when you’re a teenager and still trying to figure it all out?

Delegate Hodges Visits Middlesex Elementary School

March 21, 2017

Delegate Keith Hodges spent the better part of Monday, March 20th in classrooms at Middlesex Elementary School as part of the school board’s recognition of the VSBA Take Your Legislator to School Month program. He visited classrooms at every grade level, interacting with students about their learning and responding to questions the students had about the delegate’s position, the laws he’s helped to shepherd, and the way the three branches of government relate to one another.

One group of second graders took a very active role in teaching Del. Hodges the specifics of coding and programming with a unique lesson involving tiny robots called “Ozbots.” He then sat down with the students and put pen to paper and created his own Ozbot track.

Special thanks to Delegate Hodges, not only for his advocacy and support, but for his personal investment and interest in our schools!

St. Patty’s Day Wishes from the School Board

March 17, 2017

Members of the MCPS school board handed out green carnations at MES this morning. Carnation sales were a fund-raiser for the MES PTO. Students pre-ordered flowers to be delivered Friday.

Board members Jim Goforth, Elliott Reed and Richard Shores visited classrooms at every grade level.


Happy faces all around this morning!

2017-18 Draft Calendar

March 14, 2017

The school board considered a draft 2017-18 school calendar during last night’s school board meeting. The draft was initially developed in consultation with the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee and further considered by the division leadership, instructional team and Administrative Council.

Using a survey, feedback was gathered from the school community with 122 participants responding. That feedback has informed the development of the current draft.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 8.11.24 AM

The board will consider adoption of a final calendar during its regularly scheduled April 3rd meeting and welcomes your comments and suggestions!

MCPS TSA Shines at Regional Level

March 10, 2017

On Saturday, March 4th, students from Middlesex High School & St. Clare Walker Middle School participated in the Tidewater TSA Regional Fair held at Benjamin Syms Middle School in Hampton, Virginia. Middle & high school students from around the region competed in more than 30 events based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) principles & concepts.

Finishing in the top three in their competitions were:



Kenneth Beam – 1st Place, Dragster
Chloe Sabourin – 1st Place, Flight
Sierra Funk – 1st Place, Photo Tech
Sierra Funk – 1st Place, STEM Careers
Sierra Funk & Autumn Ortman – 2nd place, Digital Video Production
Danielle Jones – 2nd place, Dragster
Brooke Daniel – 2nd Place, Essays on Tech
Sierra Funk – 2nd Place, Flight
Sydney Funk – 2nd Place, Music Production
Danielle Jones – 3rd Place, Architectural CAD



Kendall Lucas – 1st place, CAD Foundations
Ella Hodges – 1st place, Dragster
Nicholas Daddario – 1st place, Flight
Kendall Lucas & Thomas Wilson – 1st place, Structural Engineering
Erik Graulich – 2nd place, Flight
Victoria Dunham – Quigley – 2nd place, Prepared Speech
Nicholas Daddario – 2nd place, Dragster
Carter Beam – 2nd place, CAD Foundations
Victoria Dunham – Quigley – 3rd place, CAD Foundations
Carter Beam – 3rd place, Dragster

It is now time to prepare for the Technosphere state competition for Virginia. Technosphere will be held in Hampton Virginia on May 5-7.  Students who placed in the top three in their events at the regional fair will compete against other regional finalists from around the state. TSA members will also get the opportunity to compete in new events that were not available at the regional fair.

The students are hopeful to place at the state competition to be invited to the national event later this year in Orlando, Florida.  Michael Pierce, TSA advisor for MHS, and Matthew Short, TSA advisor for SCW, are proud of the many accomplishments by the students and is encouraged for the future of the Middlesex TSA chapters.

CONGRATULATIONS to all members of the MHS & SCW TSA!!

Congratulation MCPS Odyssey of the Mind!

March 6, 2017

MCPS Odyssey of the Mind Teams competed and triumphed in Louisa on Saturday, March 4. Two middle school teams both earned first place distinctions and advance to the state championship held in Northern VA in April! The MES team, with many first year OMers, had a solid showing and came in second place.

The team challenges were:

  • Middlesex Elementary completed the Division 1 problem, “It’s Time Omer” (coached by Stephanie Shelton) 2nd place
  • SCW had the Division 2 problem “It’s time Omer” (Coached by Kathy Ruark) 1st place
  • SCW had division 2 problem “A Superhero Cliffhanger” (Coached by Claire Evans) 1st place

Outstanding work, OM Teams!


MCPS Odyssey of the Mind Teams in Louisa March 4, 2017

The state tournament will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017 at John Champe High School located at 41535 Sacred Mountain St., Aldie, VA 20105.

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