Dear Phoenix Students and Families,       
 
As your counselor at PHS, I wanted to take an opportunity to reach out to you during this challenging time to assure you that we are all still here for you. Although we miss seeing our students everyday, and interacting with them in ways that are familiar to us, like many of you, we are finding new ways to connect, support and help. To this end, I am using Remind and Google Voice to connect with you, Zoom to meet with colleagues and many other online platforms that are helping me, help you.
 
Earning Credits: A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
 
At Phoenix we have implemented a new credit policy for this semester. Details of this policy can be found on the front page of our school website, http://phs.wpusd.org . Should you have any additional and/or specific questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.
 
BEING SUCCESSFUL WITH AT HOME LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
 
While working and studying from home may seem exciting and cool at first, it can be challenging to be productive at home. Here are several tips to make the most of your working hours.
  • Establish a Routine: While doing school work when you feel like it seems great, a lack of routine can be the enemy of productivity. Set hours for yourself to focus on important tasks. Remember to maintain a school-life balance. School and work shouldn’t dominate your life. Have a time when you turn your computer off and focus on things you enjoy.
  • Take Breaks: If you are used to being at school all day, moving from class to class, and chatting with friends in between classes, you might not realize how draining sitting in front of a computer all day is. Make sure to give yourself breaks. Get up, take a walk around the house, get a glass of water, or pet your dog. Mindful breaks will make your working hours more productive.
  • Designate A Place To Work: Using your bed as a desk is not productive. If possible, set up a desk and make it the spot where you get work done. If you do not have a desk, a kitchen table will do. While you work, try and minimize distractions around your house.
  • Get Ready For Your Day: Similar to laying in bed, wearing pajamas can decrease your productivity. There is no need to dress up, but getting up and changing into real clothes sets the tone for the day. Similarly, getting up in time to eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and wake up will all help get you in the right frame of mind.
  • Over Communicate: Communication is critical when doing online work and school. When you are in an in-person math class and don’t get a problem, the teacher may notice your furrowed brow. That won’t happen online. You must advocate for yourself and communicate you are struggling and need assistance. It is important to communicate what you do throughout the day, the progress you make, and any questions you may have.  Please email or message teachers. They are there to help you and will get back to as soon as they can.

MENTAL HEALTH
 
This is an emotionally challenging time for all of us and we experience these challenges with different emotions, reactions, and perspectives. As your counselor, I encourage you to take the time to process your feelings in your own unique way. Below are some very helpful links to resources that can assist you. 
And remember: 
  • Be mindful of what fills your mind (less news, more encouragement).
  • Take the time to really check in with yourself and express what you feel and need (appropriately of course).
  • You can only control yourself, make that count.
  • Be patient with others, we are all figuring this out together.
Mental Health Resources -A variety of links for anything you might need concerning mental health 
Feelings of Grief -An article on some of the things you may be feeling/experiencing and why.

STAYING CONNECTED
 
Feeling socially connected, supported, and able to express yourself is important. As social distancing is put into place, I encourage all students to stay connected with friends, family, teachers, and counselors. Practice social distancing NOT social isolation. Let’s continue to be creative and engage with others to stay connected and most importantly, take care of our own well-being. 


Lastly, as we move into additional weeks of our closure, rest assured we are all here for you. We are only an email or a phone call away. Please don’t hesitate. Stay well.

Sincerely,

Your Phoenix Counselor 
Mikaela Zimmerman, mzimmerman@wpusd.org