Together We Shine

By FCPS & Fairfax County Government
November 03, 2022

The theme of this year's National School Psychology Week from November 7-11, 2022 is “Together We Shine.” The theme’s concepts provide a framework for our schools to highlight both the importance of students’ and staff members’ individual strengths and attributes and the power of bringing together our ideas and actions as a school community. 

We have all faced difficulties created by the pandemic, social injustice and inequity, economic stress, and challenges to mental and physical health. Feelings of isolation and disconnection have been particularly challenging. For some, it has been a time of real darkness, and finding light is critical to building resilience and hope. Connecting with others and establishing a sense of being appreciated and respected within our community empowers students and adults to find purpose and possibility. 

“Together We Shine” honors the hope we feel after several challenging years and emphasizes the power of our collective efforts to overcome difficulties to ensure that all our students can thrive in school, at home, and in life. School psychologists, teachers, and other school personnel continue to work with students and families to reestablish their sense of being valued parts of a greater whole. While we all have our own individual strengths and attributes, we shine even brighter when we all bring our ideas and actions together to uplift the community. Through collaboration, we can empower students and adults to find purpose and possibility, all while fostering resilience. This is especially important for those who are or who feel marginalized, unrecognized, or at risk. 

Help Your Children Shine

There are many ways families can shine together. As parents and caregivers, you can: 

  • Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
  • Talk to your children about their strengths and interests. What do they think they are good at? What activities are they interested in? What career path do they want to follow? 
  • Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next. Explain that learning and growing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
  • Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice and how talent grows over time through skillful practice.
  • Help your children work through challenges, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify how they can overcome a setback. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how rising above obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing. 
  • Seek out support systems available in the community to help your children learn new skills and thrive, such as tutoring or mentoring programs.
  • Encourage your children to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as a role model.

About School Psychologists

School psychologists are members of school staff who support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. They are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in seeing possibilities and developing positive change to thrive in school and life. School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. This is achieved by providing direct support to students, such as individualized learning and behavioral assessments to identify students’ strengths and needs, academic and behavioral interventions, counseling, and social skills training. School psychologists also consult with teachers, families, and other educators to improve support strategies and school-wide practices and policies, and are in a unique position to ensure students’ success every day, including both small and big accomplishments.

School psychologists are in every educational setting in Fairfax County Public Schools. The school psychologist in your school looks forward to working with you and other families in our community to encourage all of our children, whether at home or at school, to take positive action to make our community a better place.

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor, call 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, or call 911.

The Healthy Minds Blog shares information related to youth mental health and wellness for an audience of parent, educators and community-based providers. Articles include tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school and in the community.

The Healthy Minds Blog is a collaborative project between Fairfax County Public Schools and the Prevention Unit of the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. It is part of the Healthy Minds Fairfax (see below) initiative, designed to support emotional wellness in youth and families.

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