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News You Can Use 9.13.2019


According to the World Health Orgnization one person loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds. September is Suicide Prevention Month and there are many reasons that lead someone to self harm. In elementary schools, there are aspects of community that are the seeds of self harm that impact our school community. On the surface these seeds seem small and in isolation most are not harmful. However collective attention to these can ignite opportunities for conversation, reflection, and movement amongst adults and kids to be better than we are today.


You see self harm is not an explicit behavior that we find too common in elementary schools, but there are these seeds. Exclusion is a big one. Kids in schools are constantly excluded from things. Whether it is the lunch table, a recess game, or feeling like another grade level is more appropriate for you, exclusion is everyone. Annually we have students who question the rigidity of bathroom labels that offer only a binary selection. Students time and time again read stories that lack a reflection of themselves or their family to make a connection with. All of these are exclusionary practices that can impact a younger person over time, but in isolation seem benign.


As adults we can combat the feeling of exclusion by taking charge of conversations with our kids and showing them their space. This includes a strong home community, but shine lights on the spaces and places that make kids feel their best and brightest. You do not need to be a star on the soccer team to feel a part of the community. You do not need to be the extrovert in class to make and find a great friend. Yet kids will need adult advocates who nurture the finding of self and confidence building required to feel equipped for the world. We all can wrap around this pocket of Highland Park and support that. 


As partners, trust your school to let you know if there is something off that you should know. Likewise, call us if you ever need to partner. The costs of doing nothing are impacting too many and way too high.


As we head deeper into the fall we should note, before buying costumes, that Halloween is a huge exclusionary activity. Aside from many families who simply do not celebrate this holiday, there are easy ways to create huge social problems this time of year. I have shared notes before about the harm of group Halloween costumes to school communities. You would never know that dressing up with a small group of friends could be so harmful unless someone who dealt with the social aftermath the next day told you. In the best scenario this comes from communication between you and your child. Most commonly kids just bottle it up and move on.


I’ve also noted the role cross dressing plays in sending messages to your girls and students dealing with gender dysphoria.  There are a thousand examples more.


I am not a mental health expert, but I am a sociologist of people ages five and up. I see children and adults daily who fit in and those who do not. I see families and children grappling with gender dysphoria, sexual orientation, isolation by virtue of physical traits or learning ability and those that just have not found comfort or confidence in themselves yet. All of these, but not limited to these, are aspects of an elementary world every day and all of these moments and experiences need support and love of a community bigger than oneself.


The saying “if you see something, say something” rings true for safety issues for sure. It also is something that our society and within school communities needs to get better at doing. Here at school we have kids that sit alone at lunch, they play alone at recess, and some who are alone within a classroom filled with friends. The reasons why are not always evident, but we can all be responsible for the solutions. 


At birthday parties, do you notice who is not there? Are you active in helping them know they were missed? Do your kids ever talk about someone at school who they deemed different? How did you respond? Did you take a moment to learn their thinking and talk through offering a new perspective? 


As we move through a month noting suicide awareness and prevention, what can we do? Know that suicide is rare for young people, but statistics are gathered as young as 15 and that means that the solutions orientation for us is younger. Pay attention to your loved ones and ask about their feelings of community. In the home, school, on the team. Are there friends? Who else will they talk to if you are not around? Help them see  a web of support if they do not. Visit the topic periodically to see how their view changes. It can happen anywhere and there are things we can do about it.


Please note that the above referenced behaviors are common in people and in isolation are not harmful or dangerous. However, consistent and persistent presentations of these behaviors are something that should be tended to with wrap around support at home, school, and with your doctor.




Joseph Hailpern

Braeside School Principal




Even if you are not planning to attend, you can sign up here and help us defend the trophy! Last year Braeside showed up in a huge way, and we’re looking to repeat with a strong sign up effort followed by a spirited presence at the event.

SIgn up here.



As some have learned the hard way, poison ivy finds comfort in our school grounds, particularly near the ravine and fence lines. During this week the ivy that we have found was sprayed and is going to be removed in the coming days. This does not rid us of ivy, but makes contact much less likely. As a note for all, we do this periodically, but if you notice ivy, please call the office to let us know.



The students are having a great time in Physical Education this year being active, competing,  and working together! We recently finished our Soccer Unit with crab soccer being one of the highlight activities. Currently the students are participating in our Golf Unit. The Braeside Bobcats just finished our 3 miniature golf courses with many children getting holes in one! Ask your kids what their favorite holes were. This would be a great weekend to go miniature golfing as a family to be active and allow your kids to show what they learned. On Monday, September 16th, students will get to hit our special golf balls at the Braeside School Driving Range that will be set up in the field at the school. If your children have their own golf clubs they want to bring for the range they are welcome to on Monday. 


Hey Bobcat Families...the Fun(d) Run is almost here! If you have not registered yet, please do so! We want as many Braeside students and family members to participate as possible. It is a great way to be active as a family while giving money back to the district. The money raised for the 112 Foundation goes towards new and innovative activities and units that teachers introduce along with scholarships for District 112 students. Braeside School has several incentives for students to participate in this awesome event. We want Braeside to defend winning the trophy for the highest participation by a district school!  The event takes place so close to our wonderful school, so we hope to see all of you there. The Fun(d) Run is Saturday, October 5th!


A final reminder is to make sure that your children have gym shoes everyday! We want all students to be safe, responsible, and ready to learn.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020 will be sibling photo day at Braeside. Wait, what? That’s right. Each year we have sibling photos at school. The past few years that has been an early morning grind in the fall which was great for the holidays. This year we could not make that happen so we booked a well timed sibling day for photos before Mother’s and Father’s Day. This is not limited to siblings at Braeside so look out for more information soon.



September has early release days today and Friday the  27th. Both of these days have a 1:40 p.m. dismissal. Additionally there is no school on Monday, September 30. For a complete list of school dates, early dismissals and more for the 2019-2020 school year click here.


Need some spirit wear for spirit Fridays? Well you are in luck. Click here to find options for ordering spirit wear for you and your child!



Please note the date on your calendars for PICTURE DAY this year. Class and individual pictures will be on September 18, 2019. Our retake date is October 16, 2019 if you miss the September date.



Upon arrival, students are to enter the building through the main front doors. These are the doors that students will enter daily and is similar to how we handled arrival last year. The parking restrictions around Braeside School are on our website and linked here. Please respect our neighbors and avoid parking across from driveways. Please also understand that there is not enough parking for everyone to park directly around the school. If you live close by we highly encourage taking a stroll to school to avoid the headache personally and contribute to the solution for the community.


At dismissal time, students will exit outside the door nearest their classroom or ride the bus, whichever is the method of transit home. Should the planned route home from school every change, please send a note to school with your child letting the teacher know that the plan is different on that day.