From the President...
We are bringing back our fall speaker, Ana Homayoun, for another webinar in April. She’ll talk about managing hybrid school and ending the year strong. See below for details.

Now available, our final three videos for Managing the Moments, our series of short videos for the community featuring the psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers of the SCC’s Mental Health Committee. The segments touch on a wide variety of topics designed to help parents and children in dealing with a range of issues, including managing the holidays during Covid.

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers with elementary, middle or high school school children who want to be part of a larger community-focused nonprofit like the SCC. Most of us on the board now are former PTA/PTO volunteers and agree that the commitment is smaller! Please contact us if you are interested.

As always, let us know how the SCC can help in your community, school, and home.

Elizabeth Hale, President
SCC in the Community
A Brighter 2021: Ending the School Year Strong
Join us as we welcome back Ana Homayoun on Tuesday, April 13 at noon to discuss practical ways to support our students academically, socially, and emotionally as we near the end of a most unusual school year.
Ana is an author, educator, and founder and executive director of Silicon Valley-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting, which helps students thrive in and outside of the classroom. She is the author of three bestselling books: That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week, The Myth of the Perfect Girl, and Social Media Wellness. She works with schools, giving student talks, parent and caregiver education, and faculty professional development. Learn more about her work at

These short videos are produced by the psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers of the SCC’s Mental Health Committee and supported by generous funding from the New Dominion Women’s Club. Topics selected reflect what they are seeing both in their private practices and on the homefront. 

The new videos include:
  • Building Resilience
  • Supporting Your Teen through Covid-19

Plus previously released conversations:

  1. Deescalating Conflict
  2. Effective Communication
  3. How to Talk to Your Parents
  4. Brain Breaks During Distance Learning
  5. Self-Care and Calming Techniques
  6. How Are You?
  7. Coping With the Holidays
  8. Creating Coping Capacity
  9. Connecting Through Play
  10. Anxiety in School
  11. Your Daily Prescription to Cope with Covid

All videos and accompanying tip sheets are free and available on the SCC website, Make sure to bookmark the page and watch any time!
Youth Advisory Council

Our Youth Advisory Council is ramping up and looking at a very busy March. With almost 90 members, half of whom are new this year (nominated by McLean and Langley Student Services or existing members), they have both in-person and virtual roles to play. YAC students run the SCC’s Middle School Forum, which allows eighth graders to ask questions of a panel of high school students about high school. Since we cannot have a live session this year, the YAC is gathering actual questions from middle school students and will be answering those questions in two ways: a video they will create in small groups at the McLean Community Center and a Padlet (an online notice board with multiple contributors—ask your students, they probably use it already!) where they will answer questions and plan to put fun things like a tour of the school, top ten lists, etc.

YAC members are also providing input for SCC chat packs, sets of conversation starters we developed years ago and are in the process of revising. And the students will be helping create some videos for our upcoming virtual Sixth Grade Ethics Day.
Mental Health Networking and CEU Event

Last week over 300 mental health professionals joined our Mental Health Committee for “The Good Enough Therapist:
Futility, Failure and Forgiveness in Treatment” with psychologist, educator, consultant, and author Brad Sachs. Participants earned continuing education units (CEUs) through sponsorship by Discovery Behavioral Health. We are grateful for Discovery’s assistance for what is becoming an annual SCC event for local mental health providers. We like to hold these events not just as a service to professionals needing CEUs, but as a way to connect DC-area providers to discuss what they are seeing in their practices and share the work the SCC is doing in the community.
Upcoming Events
Parent Information Session on Substance Abuse Prevention

The Langley and McLean High School PTSAs are hosting a Parent Information Series on Substance Abuse Prevention with FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Kelly Rankin, who serves both high schools. The program will be relevant to middle and upper elementary parents as well. The three-part series will provide 20-minute education sessions with the goals of building awareness and arming parents with the knowledge and tools to identify early signs of substance use disorder, how they can play an important role in prevention, and how to have a conversation with students about addiction.

A link will be sent in a reminder email on the day of the session.
  • Part 1 - Teenage Brain: Building Connections on Thursday, February 25 at noon and 7 pm
  • Part 2 - Drugs and the Teenage Brain on Thursday, March 25 at noon and 7 pm
  • Part 3 - Drug Trends: Identifying Common Household Items and Drug Culture on Thursday, April 22 at noon and 7 pm 

The sessions will be will be recorded for those unable to attend. Login links will be distributed as the events get closer.

Kelly has been working in the field of substance abuse and mental health with both adults and adolescents since 2007, including many years spent as the program director of a women’s residential facility. After witnessing the opioid epidemic destroy families, she made the decision to work with FCPS so she could assist students and families.
For more information about Kellys offerings, see her flyer.
QPR Suicide Prevention Training

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – the 3 simple yet powerful steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to the help they need.

QPR can be learned in a free, 60-minute virtual training course. Anyone age 16 and over is encouraged to take QPR training – parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, police officers, volunteer coaches, youth organization leaders, caseworkers, firefighters, and anyone who might be strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.

QPR training teaches participants to:
  • Recognize the warning signs of suicide.
  • Ask tough questions and offer hope.
  • Get help and save a life.

CSBWellness, Health Promotion and Prevention team is offering QPR trainings throughout the year to assist our residents in helping others. Now more than ever, it is important to reach out to our friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues to engage in health promotion and suicide prevention conversations. Let’s make sure everyone in our community knows how much they matter.

This training includes 1 NBCC hour. Contact WHPP staff with questions. Click for Registration and bi-monthly training dates.
National Day of Unplugging

National Day of Unplugging is an awareness campaign that promotes a 24-hour respite from technology annually observed the first weekend in March (Friday evening until Saturday evening). For more than a decade, schools, religious institutions and businesses have used these resources to inspire healthy life/tech balance for their communities. Participation is open to anyone who wishes to elevate human connection over digital engagement.

Join National Day of Unplugging from sundown-to-sundown March 5-6, 2021. More information.
Pandemic Resources
As a continuing feature of our newsletter, we are sharing local resources to address the myriad needs surrounding the Covid pandemic.
Return to School

With students returning to campus in the upcoming weeks, many schools are sharing tips for students and parents to ease the transition.

Tips for Students 

Focus on what you can control. COVID-19 has taken a lot of certainty away from everyone—controlling what you’re able to will help give you back structure and a sense of security that you’ve likely been craving. You’re in charge of how you spend your free time, your priorities, and your mindset. Check in with yourself: are your worries in your control or outside of your control?

Embrace your emotions. You may be feeling angry, scared, or a number of other feelings about your school reopening. As uncomfortable as they may be, you can’t get rid of your emotions. Ignoring them will only delay their surfacing. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to journal about everything on your mind or talk with a trusted friend or adult. Often just taking the time to process your feelings can help them be less overwhelming.

Create a new routine. Returning to in-person learning will require an adjustment in your daily structure and routine. Sleep and nutrition are crucial for having energy during the day, so create new bedtimes, practice waking up early, and limit your screen time in the weeks leading up to your return to in-person learning.

Practice self-care and use positive coping skills. Transitioning back to in-person learning may feel stressful or provoke anxiety. Identify strategies that help calm you down such as deep breathing exercises or journaling. Making time for self-care can be hard, especially when you are exhausted. Participate in activities that make you feel happy and “fill up your tank” such as reading, exercising, or playing video games.

Tips for Parents
Source: Youth First

Have Conversations. Listen empathically and non-judgmentally to the feelings your child may be experiencing concerning returning back to school in-person. Discuss safety concerns and how the school environment may look different than what they are used to due to social distancing. Help them visualize and prepare for what that may look like. Help them understand that future school closures may be a possibility and acknowledge that their friends or teachers may become ill with COVID-19. Be truthful about other stressful situations that may occur that we haven’t yet predicted. 

Create structure and routines. Practice new routines in the weeks leading up to your childs return to in-person learning. Enforce bedtimes, waking times, and limit screen time. Create and practice a daily routine that they will use each morning that is consistent with time frames for leaving for school such as brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and eating a nutritious breakfast. Incorporate extra time in the morning, as adjusting to a new routine takes time. Extra time will eliminate stress and anxiety that may occur when having to rush.

Model positive coping behaviors. Discuss what coping strategies you and your child already have and practice methods that are new to them in the weeks leading up to their return to in-person learning. Examples of positive coping behaviors include deep breathing techniques, journaling, or doing an enjoyable activity such as exercising or coloring.

Combat resistance. Returning to school may be an unwelcome adjustment for some students. Avoid escalating the situation and engaging in a power struggle. Talk with your child about the reasons they are resistant to returning to school and acknowledge that you understand their concerns. Show enthusiasm and the benefits of returning to school such as seeing friends and beloved teachers. Create a plan with your child and reward and praise them for improvements. Seek support and assistance from school staff such as, counselors, social workers, and psychologists.
Reading List
Kids Under Pressure: New Study from Challenge Success & NBC News

Challenge Success partnered with NBC News to conduct a large, national study using the Challenge Success Student Survey to understand the impact of the pandemic on student well-being and academic engagement. While each student and family is having their own unique experience, the aggregate data show that: 

  • Students, especially females and students of color, continue to experience high levels of stress and pressure. 
  • Students’ engagement with learning, which is always a challenge, is especially low now. 
  • Students’ relationships with adults and peers are strong, yet appear strained in recent times.

NBC News aired several stories based on this joint study as well as follow-up interviews with students, families, and educators that shed a broader light on the stresses they are experiencing this school year. 

Read this piece on about the impact remote vs. in-person learning is having on students. 
Drugs on Snapchat? What Parents Need to Know

OWN TV therapist Laura Berman shared the tragic news of her 16-year-old son’s death by accidental overdose this month, warning other parents that he had purchased fentanyl-laced Xanax on Snapchat. Read more.

Source: CyberWise, a resource site for BUSY grownups seeking to help youth use tech safely and wisely.
The SCC thrives in its 25th year as an all-volunteer organization with funding from community grants and individual donors including the New Dominion Women’s Club, Rotary Club of McLean, McLean Community Foundation, the Zavela Foundation, and through the SCC Mental Health Committee. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and welcome all donations.