Frisco ISD Focus Magazine May 2018 - Page 17

and habits that will see them through a lifetime of challenges. How does this manifest itself in the classroom? Students are learning strategies that help them focus, relax, make healthy choic- es and be aware of how their brains op- erate at much younger ages than earlier generations. At Liberty High School, for instance, at least one Friday a month students entering the building are welcomed by peers with a smile and a high five. Student leaders, ambassadors and administrators greet stu- dents with uplifting posters and words of encouragement. It is a simple way to build up students and model positive behaviors. Liberty students also offer a student-led yoga class on Thursdays that is open to all students. The class provides time for students to take a break from their busy schedules and relieve stress through exercise. Many other campuses use yoga or various exercise or breathing techniques to help students and teachers de-stress and refocus. Frisco ISD Child Nutrition pro- motes healthy choices as ways to improve brain function, and physical-education teachers empower students and staff to use exercise to keep both mind and body fit. “The teachers like that they can just clear their mind for that 30 minutes and not worry about anything,” said physi- cal-education teacher Derek Rodriguez, who hosts regular yoga sessions for both staff and students at Purefoy Elementary. “The kids enjoy getting to start their day getting focused before heading down to their classrooms.” Mindfulness is a technique being uti- lized throughout Frisco ISD to help students focus and be aware of their surroundings and their own emotional state, said James Caldwell, FISD safe schools coordinator. “Being in the moment is important,” he said. “Teachers may ask students to take a minute and become aware of their surroundings. They may ask students to close their eyes and be aware of how they feel and the sounds they hear. This short moment of being mindful of yourself and your world can help people refocus on a task, clear their minds of stress and be more situationally aware.” Part of the responsibility of incorporat- ing the Whole Child concept into Frisco Students and staff organize a range of activities on FISD campuses to help students connect with peers and cope with stress. ISD falls to the School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), which is made up of school and community representatives. SHAC meets throughout the year to de- velop activities that support campuses in implementing the Whole Child philosophy. Student ambassadors at each high school also help establish a positive school climate. Curriculum lessons for elemen- tary students educate them on how deep breathing helps the brain work better. Students at all levels receive anti-bullying lessons. All of these efforts fall under the Whole Child initiative. As students deal with technology, anx- iety and the high expectations of family and educators, Frisco ISD hopes that each student will graduate fully developed in body, mind and spirit and ready to tackle the challenges of the future. n FOCUS | 17