• Message From the Principal

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    Upper body Picture of Principal Shawntanet Jara


    April 19, 2020

    Dear Solana Highlands Families,

    I hope this letter finds you and your family rested and rejuvenated after our Spring Break as well as safe and healthy! I hope you had time to read books, do a craft or art project, cook or bake something delicious, play games, watch a movie inside on a rainy day, or celebrate a special holiday with your family and friends, connecting in new and unique ways.

    Things have been a little chaotic lately. Feelings of uncertainty and insecurity can lead to anxiety and depression. There are many things we can do for ourselves and others to combat these negative thoughts and feelings. Similar to adults feeling overwhelmed or unsure at this time, our children may be experiencing stress. In our previous newsletters, you read about the importance of routines, schedules and ways to parent that help children take responsibility and ownership for solving their own problems.  In this newsletter, I want to share something we can do to change our outlook and help us and others feel better during this challenging time. Something that research tells us can make a big difference is gratitude. Gratitude can positively impact our health both physically and psychologically.

    It is important we share the concept of gratitude with our children. We can model it in simple ways. There are many easy things we can do to this end starting with activities to share our gratitude such as texting 5 friends and sharing with them why they are important to us, and writing family members to tell them how much we love them. This expression of gratitude will lead to several positive moments and increased happiness for us and for others.

    We can challenge ourselves and our children to write down 5 things that we are grateful for. It can be anything. They can also choose to share their list with 1 person in their life. Consider keeping a gratitude journal individually or as a family and adding to it each day, even just one simple thing each person is grateful for. Below is my personal list for today. I think this is a great exercise that will help us all keep things in perspective as we continue this journey of online learning with our students! 

    Today I am grateful for these things:

    1. My family and I are healthy and we are together!
    2. I have food to eat.
    3. I have a home where I am safe and warm.
    4. I have friends, colleagues and our Solana Highlands families to connect with each day.
    5. I have started new hobbies and taken time each day for things I enjoy such as: walking my dog, playing board games, doing yoga, reading books and more!

    As I mentioned, there is a lot of research about the benefits of gratitude. And, there are lots of fun ways to weave gratitude into your family routines. See this link for more fun ideas:


    If you have the time, I also recommend you do your own research on this topic. Not completely sold on the importance of “gratitude”? Read this article published by The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley for more information; there are even a couple of links to watch quick videos!https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_to_foster_gratitude_in_kids

    Our teachers are geared up to continue their students’ learning through our distance learning program. And, while we are discussing gratitude, I think it’s important to mention how grateful we are for each of you. We are grateful for your patience and flexibility as we unexpectedly left schools and began new ways of learning. We are grateful for your support and the time you are giving to your children in this process as we navigate these uncharted territories. We are grateful for the technology that keeps us together while we are apart. There are so many things to be grateful for when we think about our students and their families and we want you to know that, although we are not physically together, we are a team and we miss you. Please, reach out if we can be a support to your family in any way. We can’t wait to be together again. Take care of yourself and your loved ones!


    Shawntanet Jara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Solana Highlands Elementary School

    Mrs. Jara’s Twitter: @LeadwLovePower
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PTASolanaHighlands/

    “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” - Melody Beattie.

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