Jefferson Elementary School

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Helpful Links

LOCAL/FINANCIAL RESOURCES:
*United Community Cares Association (UCCA) - Elmhurst area resource for financial support

AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY RESOURCES:
*Ray Graham Association - resource for people with disabilities
*National Down Syndrome Society - advocate organization for acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome
*AB Autism Spectrum & Developmental Disorders Resource Center - local resource for support for individuals with autism spectrum and developmental disorders
*Autism Speaks - Autism science and advocacy organization, including Tool Kits for families
*National Autism Center - evidence-based information about the treatment of autism spectrum disorder
Autism Response Team (888) 288-4762

BULLY PREVENTION RESOURCES:
*Stop Bullying - what is bullying, who is at risk, how to prevent and respond to bullying
*National Bullying Prevention Center - resources and activities for students, parents, and educators

SEXUAL ABUSE PREVENTION:
*Stop It Now - safety information, prevention tools, guide books
*Erin's Law - State Law for implementing prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program

MENTAL HEALTH/CRISIS INTERVENTION RESOURCES:
*DuPage County Crisis Intervention - 24 hour mental health support
*National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - resource for mental health education, advocacy, and support
*Mental Health Helpguide - for information on signs, symptoms, and effects of various mental health concerns
*Suicide Prevention Resource Center - for information on recognizing and responding to warning signs

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-8255

 

Local Programs

Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence - Chick Chat workshop for interpersonal skills

Centers for Family Change - support for families, ADHD, Anxiety

Elmhurst Shoe Fund

Elmhurst District 205 collaborates with Bethel UCC to provide shoe vouchers for Shoe Carnival to students in need. Please contact the school social worker for more information.

Christine Cusack, LCSW

School Social Worker

Cusack, Christine (630) 617-2373 Social Worker

Welcome Back!

Can you believe it's here - another new school year at Jefferson! I enjoyed every minute of this summer and can't believe how fast it flew by!
 
A summer packet for practicing social and emotional skills was sent home at the end of last school year; click here to print a copy. If your child completed any of the activities, please send back the signed calendar with them so that they can earn prizes for their hard work!
 
If your child has an IEP or 504 Plan with social work as a related service, they will be placed in an appropriate social work group in the upcoming weeks to continue working on their social emotional IEP/504 goals. If your child does not have an IEP/504 and was receiving social work support via parent request or teacher referral, his/her needs will be reassessed at the beginning of the school year and you will be contacted if continued support is recommended.
 
I look forward to another wonderful year with the incredible students at Jefferson!
 
Christine Cusack, MA, LCSW
School Social Worker
ccusack@elmhurst205.org 

What is Social Work?

The school social worker works collaboratively with school personnel to address at-risk student concerns and to provide the best learning experience for all students. The Special Education team, including the school social worker, works to understand and interpret the influence of the school, home, and community on children so that we can identify the social and emotional issues that may be interfering with a student’s overall academic and social potential. Social Work services include crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, consultation with teachers and administrators, assessments, classroom presentations, student advocacy, mobilizing resources for students and families, and school-wide behavior management. Referrals come from a number of sources, including Individualized Education Plans (IEP), 504 Plans, discipline and attendance data, administrators, specialists, teachers, parents, and students. Common interventions provided via social work support include learning coping skills, self-esteem, developing social skills, assertiveness, problem-solving, identifying emotions, self-regulation, anxiety, grief and loss, behavioral concerns, and trauma. Please contact the school social worker for a confidential consultation regarding services that you and/or your child may need.

 

For specific information on social work at Jefferson, please click HERE.

Resources

Resource lists available (upon request) for the following areas:

  • General Counseling
  • Hospitals/Emergency Assessments
  • Psychiatric Evaluations
  • Financial Assistance
  • Social Skills groups
  • Sexual Assault
  • Eating Disorders
  • Rehabilitation

Please contact the social worker for additional support or to request resources.

Erin's Law

Erin’s Law, House Bill 6193, became Illinois law in 2013. This legislation requires schools to teach age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention for grades Pre-K through 12. In Elmhurst, we already have personal safety built into many grade levels’ health education curriculum.  However, after reviewing the requirements of the new legislation, we recognize that our students need additional information and strategies in order to consider past events and prevent future encounters. Our curriculum at each grade level will cover the following:

  • Distinguishing different types of touch
  • Saying “NO”
  • It’s not the child’s fault if someone touches him or her
  • Identifying and telling a trusted adult

Again this year, an award-winning non-profit group, Imagination Theater, will deliver age-appropriate experiences for our students in 1st through 5th grade. Information about their program, called “No Secrets,” may be found by visiting www.imaginationtheater.org. Jefferson 1st through 5th grade students will watch the assembly on Thursday, October 19, 2017. 

Our social worker and the principal will visit all of the Kindergarten classrooms, as they did last year, to share an age-appropriate read-aloud with students as a part of the Personal Safety Unit that is already in place at our schools. The Kindergarten read-aloud at Jefferson will be on Friday, November 3, 2017. 

For additional information, please visit www.elmhurst205.org/Erins_Law or www.erinslawillinois.org 

Upcoming Events

  • Bully Prevention Week
    • October is National Bully Prevention Month.  Jefferson will recognize Bully Prevention the week of October 16-20, 2017. We will kick the week off by inviting Staley Da Bear (the mascot for the Chicago Bears) to Jefferson to talk to our students about how to establish a supportive and safe school climate where all students feel safe. There will be additional activities and classroom lessons on bully prevention throughout the week. At Jefferson, we unite against bullies!
       
  • Erin's Law
    • The Erin's Law assemblies for grades 1-5 will be on Thursday, October 19. Kindergarten students will have a read-aloud during the week of 10/30/17.
       
  • District 205 Social Workers Parent Presentation Well-parented Kids: 10 Anchors for Strong Families 
    • Please join us at Sandburg Middle School on Tuesday, October 24 at 12:30pm for a presentation just for Elmhurst parents! This presentation will identify the key elements of effective parent-child relationships including setting communication norms, modeling values, sponsoring constructive conflict resolution, maintaining respect & trust, facilitating growth, teaching coping skills, and navigating change.  Click here for more information.

Parent Tips

School can be overwhelming for students for a variety of reasons. Check out these informational flyers to find helpful tips to manage your child's behaviors or anxiety!

 

Tips to De-escalate an Anxious or Defiant Child - Do you struggle with  giving your child attention when they are acting out? Check out these tips to help de-escalate interactions with children who are oppositional or anxious.

 

Problem Solving - Does your child have frequent meltdowns? Check out this problem-solving method to reduce frequent tantrums!

 

Tears at drop off - Does your child refuse to go into school or cry and cling to you at drop off? Here are some helpful tips.

 

Meltdowns - Do you often find yourself frustrated because your child is inconsolable? Here are some strategies to try.

 

Calming Phrases - Navigating anxiety can be challenging. Try these phrases to help calm an anxious child.

 

Executive Functioning - Does your child struggle with organizing their thoughts and ideas, especially with homework? Check out these strategies!

 

iPad applications - Here are some great social emotional learning applications for tablets!

 

More to come - check back soon!

Helpful Information

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Meet Miss Cusack

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A little about me

Hello! I am so excited to continue working with the wonderful students at Jefferson and am looking forward to another amazing year!

 

I received my B.A. in Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) from Northeastern Illinois University, and my Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago with a clinical concentration and a focus on school social work and trauma. I have certificates in CPI (non-violent crisis intervention), TF-CBT (Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and CBITS (Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma in Schools). I have also studied family systems, psychodynamic approaches, and cognitive behavioral methods of therapy. I previously worked at a therapeutic school as a Behavior Specialist, then spent 10 years in sales before returning to school for social work. I have worked in an adult inpatient behavioral health unit since 2012, conducting individual, group, and family therapy as well as intake/admission assessments. I completed a social work internship at York High School in 2013 and am delighted to have stayed in the district!

 

My hobbies include reading, volunteering, attending musicals and concerts, and DANCE! I grew up as a dancer, trained in contemporary and hip hop, and spent many years competing and performing. 

 

I am a proud aunt to 3 nephews (one with Asperger Syndrome) and 2 nieces, ranging in age from 5-22 years old. My family (including 3 siblings and my mother) is spread out in Florida, Wisconsin, and Illinois (Chicago). I visit my nieces and nephews every chance I get and love playing board games, going to the park, and reading books with them.

 

I am honored to be a part of the Jefferson family and can't wait to watch our students grow this year! Please feel free to contact me via email at ccusack@elmhurst205.org or at the convenient link provided in the staff directory on the Jefferson website.

 

Warm Regards,

Miss Cusack