Student Services Newsletter October 2021

SEL Focus: Relationship Skills

Demonstrate the ability to effectively collaborate and navigate relationships while valuing different and diverse perspectives, abilities, backgrounds, and cultures. Check out this short video about how relationship skills affect learning and how important it is to foster healthy communication.

PBSLEARNING – Relationship Skills – SEL

October is Bullying Prevention Month

Post of Refuse, Recognize, Report - Click to Open PDF
Click Image to Open PDF

Recognize, Report, Refuse! October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time to focus and raise awareness on bullying. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, one-sided and happening on purpose. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.  Bullying can also take place through technology, known as cyberbullying.  Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, poor self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence. Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school. Bullying can also happen online. Reports of cyberbullying among public school attending students are highest for middle school (33%), followed by high school (30%), combined schools (20%) and primary schools (5%). School board members, superintendents, teachers, and parents play a critical role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated. It has been proven when adults and children stand together, bullying ends.

APS teaches bullying prevention to educate and empower students to help create safe and supportive school communities. Throughout this month, counselors will engage in various bullying prevention efforts such as; reinforcing the three Rs of bullying prevention, Recognize, Report and Refuse, participating in Wear Orange Unity Day to show unity for kindness, support, and inclusion, and spreading the Upstander Pledge, a commitment to standing up for others. Everyone can do something to help prevent bullying; individuals, schools, and communities each have an important role. Learn what you can do.  APS provides a host of resources and helpful FAQs surrounding bullying. View this short video about our efforts.

Rules to help everyone feel safe & respected​

poster of bystander power - click to open PDF
Click image to open PDF
  • Recognizing bullying – hurtful behavior that is repetitive and one-sided​
  • Reporting bullying – identifying trusted adult you can talk to​
  • Refusing bullying – use assertiveness skills​
  • Bystander power – people who see or know about bullying happening​
  • Bystander responsibility – you can choose to help stop the bullying​
  • Bystanders to Cyberbullying – Recognize, Refuse, and Report bullying online​

UNITY DAY: Wednesday October 20, 2021 WEAR & SHARE ORANGE

Show unity for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion and to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying.


National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

Red Ribbon Word CloudJoin teens, parents, teachers, and other citizens across America @RedRibbonWeek (October 23-31) #RedRibbonWeek #DrugFreeLooksLikeMe

October was first declared as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in 2011. Since then, October has been a time to highlight the vital role of substance abuse prevention in both individual and community health and to acknowledge those in recovery, as well as children, parents, family, and friends supporting them. Studies show that the earlier an individual starts smoking, drinking or using other drugs, the greater the likelihood of developing addiction. 9 out of 10 people who abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs began using these substances before they were 18. People who began using addictive substances before age 15 are nearly 7 times likelier to develop a substance problem than those who delay first use until age 21 or older. Every year that substance use is delayed during the period of adolescent brain development, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decrease. During this month, we take the time to recognize national and community efforts to decrease substance misuse and addiction. We also gather to remember those who have lost their lives to addiction. October is also a time to celebrate recovery and show support to children, parents, family, and friends, who are directly impacted by the disease of addiction.

Each year, the Arlington County Public Schools Substance Abuse Counseling (SAC) team commemorates National Substance Abuse Prevention Month by recognizing Red Ribbon Week, which is the Nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign, which pays tribute to DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was killed in the line of duty. This prevention-based initiative is celebrated annually during the last week of October, and it reaches millions of individuals across the world. During this time, the SAC team recognizes Red Ribbon Week by engaging our students across the county and providing them with educational materials, giveaways, and interactive activities. Learn more here – APS Substance Abuse Counselors

LEARN MORE: Marijuana is Legal, So What Now?

With the recent legalization of marijuana in the State of Virginia, concerns have emerged about the overall understanding of the law and the potential long-term impact this may have on our adolescent and adult population. This presentation was created to give our audience an overall understanding of the legislation and to obtain some useful information about misconceptions about marijuana with a peer to peer perspective as well.

Presented by: Jenny Sexton MA, CSAC, FAC, QMHP, CSAM Substance Abuse Counselor from Arlington Public Schools, Niasha John, Juvenile Domestic Relations Court Services Unit, Probation and Substance Use Counselor and Teen Network Board.

Thursday, October 19th, 2021 at 12:00 pm or 6:00 pm


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

Arlington County, Child Advocacy Center offers Child Abuse Prevention Training. All courses are offered in English or Spanish on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Currently, all training sessions are offered virtually to ensure the health and safety in our community. For additional information about registering for one of these sessions, please visit the following link:

LEARN MORE: Youth Mental Health First Aid

Social-emotional learning is a priority for APS and this course will teach skills for self-awareness and relationship skills in the aspects of recognizing potential mental health needs, managing your own feelings, and how to have conversations with those who may need to be connected to mental health services. Through this course, participants will gain the skills to recognize and support youth experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge or crisis. The course covers common signs and symptoms of mental illness in youth, including: anxiety, depression, eating disorders. attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); common signs and symptoms of substance use; how to interact with a child or adolescent in crisis; how to connect the person with help.   NEW: Expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care and the impact of social media and bullying. Participants will complete a 2-hour, self-paced online class, then participate in a 4- to 5-hour Instructor-led live, in-person training.  The course is offered monthly throughout the school year and is available to staff and parents The next session will be October 28th, 2021.   Parents who wish to participate may register by calling Student Services at 703-228-6062 or emailing or

Mental Health CornerPIcture of animated brains

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 2.57.37 PMSources of Strength Peer Leaders at HB Woodlawn hosted a school-wide event to recognize National Suicide Prevention Month. Students worked with Siobhan Bowler, their APS Substance Abuse Counselor, to educate the community about risk and protective factors related to suicide prevention.

Screen Shot 2021-10-14 at 2.56.41 PMThe W-L School Counseling department designed a “calm room” located inside the counseling suite to help students eliminate stress during the school day. The goal is to continue to build a “positive school community” and “provide skills for resilience.”


Arlington Department of Human Services (DHS) Community Resources

APS collaborates with our agency colleagues in the Department of Human Services (DHS) to provide services and build capacity across our community.  An example of this collaboration is a newsletter, “Building Healthy Communities” where many opportunities for parents and community members are highlighted each month.