Let's Get in Gear

By FCPS and Fairfax County Government
Healthy Minds
October 25, 2021

The theme of this year's National School Psychology Week from November 8-12, 2021 is “Let’s Get in GEAR.” We grow together, we engage critical systems, and we advocate and rise together. Our hope is to highlight how getting in GEAR can help lead us to positive growth. Just as we continue to grow and develop as people and with our skills, sometimes with support from others, we can develop resilience beyond stressful circumstances.

Getting in GEAR together can help us set goals for growth, engage in action steps, advocate for needs, and raise our voices in discussions to create the connections necessary for students to develop critical academic and social emotional skills. School psychologists are particularly skilled at assisting students and staff in seeing possibilities and developing positive change to thrive in school and life. 

Let’s Get in Gear at Home

There are many ways families can get in gear 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 the 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 setbacks, 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. 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 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention 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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