Mental health in everyday life

Mental health isn’t just what you see in headlines. It can be part of everyday life. Here are some articles and tip sheets discussing mental health.

From the Child Mind Institute:


What to Do if You’re Worried About Suicide: A parent’s guide to helping a child in distress

By Nadine Kaslow, PhD

“What do you do when you’re worried that a child might be feeling suicidal? First and foremost, it’s important that you talk to him about your concerns in a calm, non-accusatory manner. Sometimes when parents are very worried, they end up saying, “Don’t think this way,” or “You shouldn’t feel that way,” and they come across not as loving and caring, as intended, but as critical. Children respond negatively to that. So you really need to be as calm and non-accusatory as you can when talking to them.” (Continue reading this article via the link pasted above)

For Teachers… There is Never Enough

Huffington Post just ran a story about teaching, from the perspective of a teacher. And it all comes down to one phrase, the author says: “There is never enough.” Time, resources… the list goes on. 


The Hardest Part of Teaching

FREE Tools to Keep Learning Going Through the Summer

A free reading program to help students find books that are appropriate for their level of reading. A good way to keep reading going over the summer months.

Book Adventure


For parents looking for an easy at home program to help their students bridge information during the summer months.


Online Safety Tricks for Parents

From Common Sense Media: 

13 Digital Hacks to Make Tech Work Better for Your Family

Tips, tricks, and techniques every parent should know to help kids and families enjoy media and technology more.


Digital Hacks

Common Core

Even though this is a New York based site it’s still a good breakdown of Common Core Standards. 

Parents Guides to the Common Core Standards

There’s also a page with learning activities:

Students are Masterpieces and Teachers are Their Conductors

I wanted to share this thought. I was watching a movie today with my daughter. The movie spanned the decades, touching on historical moments that our changed society. Americans developed from those moments. Wars, presidents, and culture. But at the heart of the movie was one of the spokes within that system of wheels that influenced how our communities grew: teachers.

At the end of the movie, after watching the main character find his way through his teaching career, there is an event to honor him. One of his former students gives this message:

Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn’t rich and he isn’t famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.

The same can be said of each of our teachers. Our children are molds. And each teacher leaves an imprint on them. Looking back at my own years K-12 there were teachers who always had a smile on their faces. Their tones were always sweet. Their instruction always nurturing. I may not remember exactly what information they taught me, but I know I wanted to learn in their classrooms. There were teachers who just through hallway interactions could brighten your day. And there were teachers who got you hooked on a subject, so much so, that your college application was written on the foundation they created with you.

I know the arguments are about money. And that’s truly unfortunate. That our students are affected by money. Sure they may not have a clear appreciation of how money is the focal point of the current negotiations… and we should be thankful for that. Because what would they say if they really understood? Some parents don’t even understand why the issue is being contested. I wish I could say “money aside,” but no one can say that. What I can say is that the same teachers we are leaving in limbo are the same ones who have never faltered in their mission to serve our students. They have come to work without a contract and taught our children. To those who think this is about money to them… it’s clearly not.

While we may not all agree on the outcome of this situation, I encourage parents to share their thoughts about this situation. All your thoughts, good or bad. You’re welcome to share in comments on this post or via email ( For those sharing via email I would like to post your message on my blog, omitting the name of the sender.

One voice may create a stir, but many voices will create a storm.

CFT Contract Negotiations

Attached is what CFT submitted to the labor board earlier this afternoon. This is what will be posted publicly on their website likely next Thursday. CFT released this information to the press today during a press conference.

Those who would like to show their support for teachers can contact the school board via email at You may also contact Unit 4 superintendent Judy Wiegand at


Here is a sample of a letter that expresses support of Unit 4 teachers:

I am a parent in the Unit 4 school district. I am writing to express my full support of the changes proposed by the Champaign Federation of Teachers. I understand that the district is concerned over the financial implications regarding acceptance of the CFT’s proposal. However, as a parent I feel this is money wisely invested in not only our district, but in the main focus of district efforts: the students.

The quality of learning that is experienced in every classroom in the district begins with teachers. They are the ones who set the tone for the school and classroom environment. Having a deep appreciation of the educational system these teachers work long hours, sacrifice personal time, and remain diligent to serving our students and families.

What they are asking for is, in the long run, a minimal investment when considering the greater picture is student well-being. Students deserve to have quality teachers who are in turn treated by their administration with the greatest level of respect.

I urge you to accept the proposed contract as submitted by the Champaign Federation of Teachers. They deserved to be valued each and every day they enter our school buildings and nurture our students. 


The CFT, Unit 4 administrators, and federal mediator will meet again in a couple of weeks. During this time parents who wish to show their support are encouraged to contact school administrators and board members.



Sheri Williamson

labor board submission


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