My Big Fat Swim Partner by Shannon
It’s the New Year! And even in the Sunshine State, people are dealing with chilly temperatures. So you might not get excited to step your toes into the cold waters of Crystal River in Florida.
But do it! Slip on one of the wetsuits provided by Manatee Fun Tours because they payoff is well worth the cold.
Each year, from November to early March, manatees return to the warm, spring-fed waters of Crystal River. It’s also the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with manatees. It’s a bucket list excursion that everyone should consider doing at least once in their lives.
When you go, be sure to follow the rules of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because manatees are a protected species. Included in the rules (which are listed in detail here), you cannot chase or harass these creatures. But who would want to? They are so sweet and gentle and seem just as curious about us as we are about them
There is a movement going around helping elementary-age students staunch bullying by exploring their own emotional intelligence. It’s called Roots of Empathy, and it’s taught by-- wait for it-- a baby. Baby Naomi helps teach nine and ten-year-olds how to use empathy to relate to others in an effort to stop bullying before it even begins. Along with her mother and Roots of Empathy instructor Kathy, baby Naomi attends class once a month to teach students about vulnerability, relatability, and cultivate a deeper understanding of human emotion.
Kathy, Roots of Empathy instructor, explains what makes their program so effective: “We use a baby as a vehicle to help children find the vulnerability and humanity in this little baby, so that then they can flip it back and apply it to their own experiences.” Kathy says this works because Baby Naomi is so vulnerable, inspiring an unconscious need for students to observe and protect her. “She’s more vulnerable than they are,” Kathy says, “and we have many vulnerable children in our classrooms.” This invites them to work a little harder to understand what hurts or upsets her.
Hi Dana, tell us a little about your passions outside of work.
This article is part of our student-curated newpaper.
"A Piece of CMASAS' History" by CMASAS student Delaney.
Since it is the start of a new year, I thought it might be a good idea to look back at our school’s history, and what made CMASAS like it is today. CMASAS was named after a brave and influential woman, Christa McAuliffe. She was, and continues to be, the inspiration behind the school. McAuliffe was awesome enough to have the school named after her, Christa McAuliffe Academy of Arts and Sciences (CMASAS), but what exactly did she accomplish, and who was she?
When taking predictive tests indicting gifted students, your child scored off the charts. You’re overjoyed, of course, to have raised such a scholar, but then the daunting truth sets in: you’re now responsible for cultivating that genius so it doesn’t wither within an education system built off an industrial model. Parents of gifted children are their best advocates, and whether they choose to stay within a traditional school or venture out into the world of personalized online education, here are several indicators parents should know when deciding how to help these students flourish.
First, it’s important to understand the anatomy of a gifted child. The book “A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children” by authors Webb, Gore, Amend, and DeVries, lists the many traits gifted students exhibit that set them apart from other children their age. First, gifted students tend to be unusually alert-- even as infants--with a large vocabulary and excellent memory. They learn rapidly, can grasp abstract concepts, and ask probing questions. They’re usually curious with vivid imaginations and a capacity to see and solve problems in unique ways.
Does your child avoid going to the bathroom at her school? Has he become listless, unexcited by activities that used to enthrall him? Has she become more isolated, engaging in negative self-talk? Does he get upset after receiving phone calls, texts, or using social media? If the warning bells are ringing, your child may be a victim of bullying. Bullying is a huge issue in traditional schools, and the reason many parents seek out online schools like Christa McAuliffe Academy of Arts and Sciences. For our community members who have dealt with or know someone who is dealing with bullying in any form, we’d like to offer nine steps you can take to help your child, as gleaned from Janet Lehman, parent of a bullied child and author of the article: “Is Your Child Being Bullied? Nine Steps You Can Take as a Parent”.
How to Beat Cyberbullies
Many students who come to Christa McAuliffe Academy of Arts and Sciences do so because they have a dream that transcends want. This kind of high performer comes to our school for the flexibility, mobility, and personalization our program offers. He doesn’t just want to be in a band who tours throughout the country, he needs to be. She isn’t working to gain her high school diploma while simultaneously competing as a world-class gymnast because she wants to, she’s doing it because she feels deep within that she must. And both of these students are able to pursue their passions without halting or sacrificing their education because they found our personalized online program designed to fit any schedule, giving students and their families the flex time they need to travel, start careers…. and do it all before eighteen.