Student Services Newsletter June 2022

SEL Focus: Responsible Decision-Making



Responsible decision making is the ability to make choices that affect you positively in your physical, intellectual, social, and emotional bodies. Responsible decisions are based on social morals, ethics, and safety. They also involve awareness of the impact of your choice on yourself, your goals, relationships, and others around you.

More concisely, responsible decision-making means making responsible choices that benefit you and your community. Responsible decisions are socially and ethically appropriate and take into account the effects on others.

Why It’s Important to Make Responsible Decisions



All of us make critical decisions every day. Each decision we make has consequences that can affect our entire lives.

Responsible decision making isn’t just about avoiding negative consequences. SEL’s responsible decision-making teaches students self-awareness and how to consider family and friends, their community, and their world.

It teaches them how to recognize and validate their emotions, as well as how to manage them appropriately. Responsible decision making involves critical thinking and self-discipline. It also means knowing how to extrapolate the effects of that decision on others. This process helps students learn relationship skills, empathy, and how to communicate effectively.

The decision-making skills that our students learn and practice when they are young will carry over into adulthood. It lays the foundation to affect their jobs, their relationships, and their lives as a whole.

5 Tips for Responsible Decision-Making

Click the image below to watch a brief video about 5 tips for responsible decision-making

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At the center of teaching students how to make responsible decision is critical thinking. The five steps below, explained in the video above, are a useful guide.

  1. Formulate your question
  2. Gather your information
  3. Apply the information
  4. Consider the implications
  5. Explore other points of view

These guidelines can help you walk through the sometimes complicated process of making responsible decisions. Through discussions about decisions, role-playing, and decision-making exercises, you will become open-minded and confident in your choices.

Recommended books for Decision Making



My magical choices



My Magical Choices by Becky Cummings

A beautiful book that shows students that they have the power and choice of how they react and behave. It provides a range of positive things kids could choose to do, such as being honest, generous or tidy.



Making Smart Choices by Lucia Raatma


Making Smart Choices by Lucia Raatma

Whether choosing what to eat for lunch or how to react to a stressful situation, it is important that children think carefully. This book teaches students how to make choices that will keep them healthy and happy.



The Way I Act by Steve Metzger


The Way I Act by Steve Metzger

This book shares thirteen different ways of behaving. It conveys many positive ideas of how to act in a variety of situations. Helps teach about self-control and emotional regulation.







What Should Danny Do? By Adir Levy

Danny is a superhero in training and he has the most important superpower of all – the power to choose. He is faced with a variety of situations and the reader helps him decide how he is going to react. It really shows students the impact of the choices that they make. A fun, interactive book!


June is National Internet Safety Month



National Internet Safety Month is an annual initiative specifically dedicated to educating people on internet safety. It’s a great time to review our online behavior and identify ways we can use the internet in safer ways. Children/teens are online more than ever; for education, entertainment, and to socialize with friends.

For a full 30 days each June, federal and state governments, industry, and nonprofit organizations unite to promote safe online behavior and practices. The keyword here is “unite.” This month is about recognizing that internet safety is a shared responsibility— knowing we all must join together to make the internet a safer place for everyone at school, work, and at home.

In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to make sure that children/teens stay safe on the Internet.  The internet is a great resource for finding information, but it’s important that students are aware of the potential dangers. When they are browsing the Internet, please teach them to follow safety protocols such as:

  • Personal Information. Don’t give out personal information without your parents’ permission. This means you should not share your last name, home address, school name, or telephone number. Remember, just because someone asks for information about you does not mean you have to tell them anything about yourself!
  • Screen Name. When creating your screen name, do not include personal information like your last name or date of birth.
  • Passwords. Don’t share your password with anyone but your parents. When you use a public computer make sure you logout of the accounts you’ve accessed before leaving the terminal.
  • Photos. Don’t post photos or videos online without getting your parents’ permission.
  • Online Friends. Don’t agree to meet an online friend unless you have your parents’ permission. Unfortunately, sometimes people pretend to be people they aren’t. Remember that not everything you read online is true.
  • Online Ads. Don’t buy anything online without talking to your parents first. Some ads may try to trick you by offering free things or telling you that you have won something as a way of collecting your personal information.
  • Downloading. Talk to your parents before you open an email attachment or download software. Attachments sometimes contain viruses. Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Bullying. Don’t send or respond to mean or insulting messages. Tell your parents if you receive one. If something happens online that makes you feel uncomfortable, talk to your parents or to a teacher at school.
  • Social Networking. Many social networking websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Second Life and MySpace) and blog hosting websites have minimum age requirements to sign up. These requirements are there to protect you!
  • Research. Talk to your librarian, teacher or parent about safe and accurate websites for research. The public library offers lots of resources. If you use online information in a school project make sure you explain where you got the information.



Talking to Students about the SEL Survey Results



Your child recently participated in the Social and Emotional Learning Survey*. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions (CASEL, 2021). Students used the survey to share about their SEL skills, relationships, school environment, and mood

It is important to know that social and emotional learning (SEL) occurs both at home and school. Families are our student’s first teachers for social and emotional skills. Families continue to be important partners with schools.  Together, they work to build social and emotional skills in the classroom and beyond. To this end, we encourage you to review your child’s SEL survey results with your student.

These results are a report of your student’s experiences at a particular moment in time. This is not a standalone assessment.  The SEL screener provides another source of information in addition to what you already know about your student.

You may be in touch with your child’s school to partner on next steps as needed.  Schools can help support the growth of SEL skills and wellness for all students this school year. If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your student’s school counselor.

Talking Points – Supporting Your Student’s Social Emotional Learning

Students have different learning strengths and needs. Consider how they learn best. Share with your student strengths noted in their report. Point out strengths you notice in daily life.

  • Ease into a conversation with sentence starters using words, pictures, or symbols.
    • Try “I feel __________ because ___________.”  or
    • “I notice you do (insert a skill) well. What do you think you do well?”
  • Offer your student choices to support their learning and decision making.
    • “When you were at ______, what made you feel happy/sad/frustrated?”
    • “Was it easy or hard for you to say hello to (name a friend) today?
  • Use pictures to support your conversation and explain ideas that might be new. Create charts using words or symbols to help reinforce ideas. Visuals might include:
    • Feeling words or pictures
    • Coping ideas (i.e., music, taking a quiet break, asking for help, etc.)
    • Family and school routines or schedules
    • Use pictures of family members and friends when talking about relationships.
    • Use examples from real life experiences, books, and movies to explain new ideas with your student

*Students did not participate in the SEL survey if their parent/guardian chose to opt out.

LEARN MORE: The Arc Northern Virginia


Transition Lunch & Learn Series – June 15, 2022: 12:00 PM

Register here

The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. Learn more about The Arc here. 

This session will be a Transition Lunch and Learn with an “Expert”. Each Lunch and Learn with an Expert will explore a topic of particular interest to families with young adults in transition age and are planning for the future. All The Arc of Northern Virginia’s webinar events are FREE to attend, but pre-registration is required.


LEARN MORE: NAMI Arlington Parent Support GroupsPicture19

Register here for Zoom Meeting(s)

These groups are geared to parents whose child is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, including: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders and more. No diagnosis is required to participate. Participants are given the opportunity to share their story, experience support, and glean guidance (as desired) from group members regarding both community and school resources. Confidentiality is respected.

Arlington Groups – Virtual Support Groups – When: 4th Tuesday of each month; 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Contact: Debra Byrd at *Please contact Debra Byrd to confirm the meeting time before attending for the first time.

Focus: Parents of Older Teens & Young Adults ages 18-30 – When: 3rd Sunday each month; 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Contact: Naomi Verdugo at (703) 862-9588 for more information on the virtual meetings.*Please contact Naomi to receive the zoom link for this group meeting.

Focus: Parents of Children PK- 12th grade – When:  Sundays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm

Contact: Michelle Best*Please contact Michelle to receive the zoom link for this group meeting.

LEARN MORE: What can YOU do to prevent child abuse?

Darkness to Light is a Nation-Wide prevention and awareness program that empowers adults to prevent child abuse. The Arlington County Child Advocacy Center is hosting training sessions that are a part of the “Darkness to Light” program and are open to the public. Multiple trainings are available in either English or Spanish.

  • Stewards of Children (2 ½  hours)- Learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
  • Healthy Touching (1 hour)- Learn how to balance children’s needs for warmth and affection with safe, respectful ways of interacting.
  • Talking with Children about Safety from Sexual Abuse (1 hour)-  Learn to have age-appropriate, open conversations about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.
  • Bystanders Protecting Children from Boundary Violations and Sexual Abuse (1 hour)- Learn to describe behavior. Set limits. Move on. Always make sure the person who has violated the boundary is willing to follow the limit you set.
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (I hour)- Learn about commercial sexual exploitation, which is a form of sexual abuse and should not be mistaken for as child’s consent.

Darkness to Light training sessions can also be scheduled and tailored for professional/ community groups on other dates and times.To register for or discuss scheduling any of these Darkness to Light trainings contact Jennifer Gross at 703-228-1561 or

LEARN MORE: SCAN of Northern Virginia


Nurturing Parents

For caregivers with children of all ages

Join a community that understands the challenges of raising kids. This series is designed to build skills, celebrate successes, and discuss challenges in a safe environment. Parents leave with a support system and an array of new skills including healthy, effective discipline, stress management, family rules, praise, and more.

Register for SCAN programs here

Resources: CIGNA School Support Line – OPEN TO ALL

Don’t do it alone. There are many reasons to seek help. Some are common, others more serious. Either way, talk with us today if you or a family member are dealing with: Anxiety, Depression, Abuse, Eating disorders, Bullying, Self-harm, Addiction, Peer Pressure, Suicidal thoughts or anything else. No one has to be a Cigna customer to call. If you go to school, or have a child who goes to school, the School Support Line was created for you.

This is a no-cost, confidential service that puts students and families in touch with mental health professionals who know how to listen, ask the right questions, and offer advice. And it’s available around the clock for you and for members of your family. 833-MeCigna (833-632-4462) We’re here 24/7/365!


Intake/Same Day Access (703-228-1560)  Beginning December 20, 2021, Same Day Access/Intakes will be scheduled through 703-228-1560. Visit our website: Children’s Behavioral Healthcare – Official Website of Arlington County Virginia Government ( for updated information on how to access mental health and substance use treatment services.

Anyone ages 21 and under experiencing an urgent mental health need is encouraged to contact CR2 (844-627-4747) and anyone experiencing a psychiatric emergency is encouraged to contact Emergency Services (703-228-5160). We will provide an intake assessment to children who are returning to the community from acute psychiatric hospitalization — please call to coordinate.

REACH – Region II (855) 897-8278  If someone you care about, who has an intellectual or developmental disability, is experiencing a crisis due to behavioral or psychiatric needs, the REACH program can help. REACH is the statewide crisis system of care that is designed to meet the crisis support needs of individuals who have a developmental disability and are experiencing crisis events that put them at risk for homelessness, incarceration, hospitalization and/or danger to self or others.

For non-urgent, but concerning behavior, access resources through Arlington Children’s Behavioral Health by clicking here

Local, Free Food Distributions

Capital Area Food Bank has several monthly food distribution sites in Arlington available for individuals and families in need. Produce is distributed for free, and no registration is required! The Capital Area Food Bank’s Community Marketplace takes place at Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 S. Dinwiddie St., on the 4th Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. Capital Area Food Bank also distributes at a Mobile Market at 700 S Buchanan St, on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. For a full list of local Mobile Market food distributions, view and share this flyer in English and Spanish, or call the information line at (202) 769-5612.