SBIRT Screening

April 25, 2018

Dear Parents and Legal Guardians of Students in Grades 7 and 9,

In compliance with MGL Chapter 71, Section 96 and 97, North Middlesex Regional School District will be conducting verbal screenings of students in grades 7 and 9 related to the use of alcohol, marijuana and other substances.  The goal of this program is to let students know that we are available to reinforce healthy decisions and to assist them in obtaining support if needed for substance use related problems.

The Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program screening process will be incorporated into our annual state mandated screening program.  All screenings will be conducted confidentially by our school nurses in private one-on-one sessions. The district will utilize the CRAFFT II screening tool, which is the most commonly used substance screening tool for adolescents in Massachusetts.

Students who are not using substances will have their healthy choices reinforced by the screener.  The screener will provide brief feedback to any student who reports using substances, or who is at risk for future substance use.  If needed, we will refer students to our counseling staff for further evaluation. This program focuses on harm prevention and will not result in disciplinary action.  Results of the screening will not be included in your students’ school record.  The screening is voluntary, and students may choose not to answer any or all of the screening questions.  

As with any school screening, you have the right to opt your child out of this screeningClick here to download the opt out form.  If you decide not to have your child participate in the verbal screening, you will need to send the completed opt-out form to the nurse at your child’s school.  You can also contact your child’s nursing office with any questions.

Nissitissit will conduct screenings on May 15.

 

Sincerely,

Joan Landers

Superintendent of Schools

 

SBIRT Opt Out Form.docx (1)

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Social Media

Dear NMS Families,

It has come to my attention that there are certain Social Media practices taking place among our students that I would like to make you aware of.

Within the Snapchat App there is a “Stories” section where students can post picture/video stories with or without text.  Present trend shows that students are posting pictures of themselves and asking to be rated, or for opinions of other students.  In some instances, they are posting about other students to gather opinions as well.  This seems to be happening on Instagram as well.  Below are a few examples of the ways students are anonymously “rating” or “bullying” each other ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students will post a picture of themselves or another student and the description will say, “what is one word you think of when you think of me/my friend?”.  They will screenshot responses to which others may be “blocked” from seeing, put it in a photo editor, cross out the name of who said the comment, and send a screenshot to their friends.  A lot of times they will say, “I am being a good friend for letting them know this is happening”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other method they use is they post a picture in Snapchat asking for an opinion and post a link to another app called Sarahah.  Students can go into Saharah and leave an opinion and it is absolutely anonymous.  Other apps Students are using that are along the same idea are TBH (To Be Honest), and Pollyfun.  As you can imagine most times these opinions are not kind, and there isn’t a way to track who said them.  

 

A lot of times I ask students, why not just get off these apps and take a break?  They very willingly agree but not before stating they will give their password to a friend to continue their “streaks”.  A streak is on snapchat, it is a tracker of how many correspondences happen between two people.  An emoji appears with a number next to each person’s name.  Friendship in middle school seems to be measured by these streaks, and the bigger the streak the better the friendship.

 

I plan to do my annual Social Media Awareness night in the spring, yet when I see developing trends that are affecting our students I like to make parents/family members aware to encourage family conversations regarding the role your student plays.  If you have any questions or concerns please have your student reach out to me, or let me know and I will touch base!

 

Thank you for your time,

Melissa Thomas

School Counselor

Coffee with the Counselors

Come have Coffee with the Counselors on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at 5:30 p.m.  This will be just before the 6:30 p.m. Chorus Concert.  Ms. Santiago and Ms. Thomas will be holding a question and answer session, as well as offering resources surrounding school based anxiety.  Even though we haven’t had summer break yet, they can offer some tips on how to get your students motivated to start the next school year off right.  This event will be held in the NMS library. We hope to see you there!

Social Media Survey

socialmediaawareness

January 31, 2017

Dear Parents and families,

Social media continues to be a huge part of our students’ lives.  Apps are constantly changing!  We believe being informed is essential for parents to help their student make the right decision using social media.   NMS will be hosting an interactive presentation for parents/families educating them on different Apps their students may be using or have access to. This important presentation is set to take place at NMS on March 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm.  In order to give families up to date information on what our students are actually using, I have developed a survey to collect data from both our students and parents.   Your student’s name will not be on this survey and all data will be presented by grade level.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc0b8P2m-rrV9p0aqZZwkImm4fKrqMi6WV73eDj8-iZkmE8hA/viewform

You can also access this link on the NMS blog.  I would love to incorporate Parent data as well.  I will also offer this survey opportunity to students during their assigned technology/social studies times.  If you would choose for your student to opt out of the survey please sign below and return to NMS by Monday Feb.6 .   By not returning this form, you have agreed to allow your student to participate in this survey. We hope you see the value in collecting this data and we hope to see all of you at our Social Media Information Night in March.

Please understand the importance of collecting this data so parents/families can be aware of the apps our NMS students are using.  Just to reiterate your student will be anonymous in this process I am just looking for relevant data to educate our families on the most up to date apps our students are using.

Thank you for your help!

Melissa Thomas

School Counselor

______ I choose for my student to opt out of this survey.

Please print clearly.

Student Name: _________________________________________________

Homeroom Teacher: _____________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature:_________________________________________

Fifth Grade Second Step Lesson

second-step

At Nissitissit Middle School, we use the Second Step Program to provide education to students about social-emotional skills, including bullying.  Bullying is a topic we take very seriously.  As part of the fifth grade curriculum, we will be looking at what is considered “Rude vs. Mean vs. Bullying”.  This Thursday, December 15, all 5th grade students will be meeting in the gym first block to attend an interactive lesson led by our School Counselor, Mrs. Thomas and our district wide School Resource Officer, Brent Davis.  The lesson is intended to help students recognize the difference between bullying and being unkind.  Resources will be given to report bullying. The role of the bystander will a focal point, as well as how to participate in our “Pay It Forward” kindness campaign.  We will also discuss bullying using Social Media, as this is prevalent in middle school students.

We hope you will follow up with your student after the presentation on Thursday and see what your child has learned. 

MA Summit on Opioid Awareness

mysoa_logo

Our 8th graders had the privilege to attend The Massachusetts Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness as part of the health curriculum. The Summit on Opioid Awareness aims to promote healthy choices and educate students about the dangers of opioid use. The goal of the program is to educate young people, educators and other adults about the growing opioid epidemic and encourage healthy decision-making. An essential ingredient to a solution is stopping the spread of addiction through a message of abstaining from experimentation – if less young people are experimenting with these highly addictive drugs, less will fall victim to this often-fatal disease of addiction. The program seeks to educate students, teachers, and parents about the dangers, warning signs, and effects of opioid abuse, and also connect them with resources to deal with opioid abuse. Most of all, the program aims to recognize and promote healthy choices and demonstrate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Signs of opioid abuse or misuse may include:

Facts about Opioids: