Introducing our Transitional Executive Director

Hello friends –                                                                                                

I am your new Sound Discipline Transitional Executive Director. As we aim to expand the reach of Sound Discipline’s important work, Jody McVittie is embarking on a vital new role of Director of Strategic Partnerships. She is transitioning out of day-to-day management, and spending as much time as possible designing our new “District Partnership Model” as well as being out doing what she does best – training and evangelizing about this work.
Who am I? I am a parent, a devotee of Positive Discipline, a fierce champion and learner of equity, a long-time volunteer in the education space, and a nonprofit strategy consultant. I have lots of experience in interim leadership roles, most recently with MENTOR Washington and Open Arms. My superpowers are strategy and team building. I am a big believer in listening, asking great questions, and building on strengths -- creating the conditions where people can be their most authentic and best selves.
Because this organization’s values are my values, Sound Discipline is my happy place. I feel so very fortunate to have the opportunity to support the truly incredible people who serve on this Board and this staff. I am focused on setting up Sound Discipline’s next Executive Director for success. This means helping the Board and staff distill and document our impact story, building up and stoking the passion and equity consciousness of our Board Members, and taking care of the outstanding people and brilliant systems this organization has invested in. 
My first step was to participate in our Building Resiliency and Positive Discipline in the Classroom trainings. These experiences are life changing and compelling in more ways than I can describe. If you have not had the opportunity to see the work first hand, I want to facilitate that. You will not be the same. You will want to shout from the rooftops about why this work is essential to ending disproportionality in education outcomes for kids, to setting kids up to reach their true potential, and to repairing the harm from systems that are contributing to suffering both within and beyond schools. Our world needs this!
Thank  you! For believing in this work, for supporting us, for telling people why you do that. We need your partnership and passion.

Andrea John-Smith
Transitional Executive Director, Sound Discipline
 Sound Discipline Champions
The Racial Equity Team, Maple Elementary School

Our champions for March are Maple Elementary School staff for their commitment to anti-racism work. Maple’s Racial Equity Team (RET) is a group of teachers that guides and facilitates the staff’s racial equity-focused professional development. They started the year with a book study of Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain. Hammond’s book discusses the importance of teachers educating themselves about the realities of structural racism in society and examining personal biases.

As you begin your own inside-out work in this area, your lizard brain will start to freak out. It’s afraid that you have to talk about sensitive issues such as race...afraid that this conversation will make you vulnerable and open to some type of emotional or physical attack. But this fear is not real. It is just your amygdala’s ploy to get you to stay in your comfort zone.”  - Zaretta Hammond

The staff at Maple are bravely leaning-in to this inside-out work. They recognize that undoing racism is vital, on-going work that extends beyond Black History Month. The staff met several times in the fall to discuss strategies for bringing the books’ concepts into practice. Following the teaching of the district’s Black Lives Matter lessons, the staff debriefed and strategized ways to strengthen their own learning and make the curriculum even more accessible and relevant for their students.

Student lessons are based on the thirteen guiding principles of Black Lives Matter, displayed here in Alice Lippitt’s 3rd grade classroom

Sound Discipline is partnering with the Maple RET for two professional development sessions this spring. We’ll dig into the culturally responsive Positive Discipline tools of class meetings, self-regulation spaces and the wheel of choice, with the goal of expanding student voice and restorative practices.

We are inspired to see the administrative staff at Maple 'walk the talk' of shared voice and horizontal leadership as they trust their staff to organize and lead each other in this deep work – the same collective community-building practices they are fostering in their students.
How to Be a Buffering Adult During
Stressful Times
Just like the coronavirus, fear and stress are also 'contagious.'  We all get stressed when we encounter things that are unexpected or things that interrupt our daily routines. It is even more stressful when those events seem to threaten our livelihood or the wellbeing of people we love. As adults it is important to manage our own stress to buffer the children with whom we live and work.
Some strategies:
  • Take care of yourself to manage your own stress. Take a walk, breathe fresh air.
  • Stay calm and be factual when talking to children.
  • Make sure young people know that (unless they are significantly immune compromised) they are not at risk. For most people who get the virus it will feel like a cold or the flu.
  • Schools may close and events may be cancelled because there are people in our community who are at risk: people who are much older, people who have other significant illnesses.
  • We can be helpers by:
    • Washing our hands well (with soap, both sides and for 20 seconds)
    • Staying home if we are sick
  • And… if you and your children have to stay home, think about how you might take advantage of the situation.
    • Could you do puzzles? Play games?
    • Bake together
    • Read to each other
    • Write letters to relatives
    • Make photo albums
    • If you have a computer or cell phone, you can make free 20 minute video calls to friends and family using Zoom
Repairing Mistakes

At Sound Discipline, much of our work is founded on the idea that mistakes are opportunities to learn. Respectful relationships are sustainable only if we know how to reconnect and repair after making mistakes. When a repair is made, reconnection is possible. 

Explore more ideas to support the process of repair for parents and teachers on our blog, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more tips and resources.

We are thrilled to be awarded a grant from the
Renton Innovation Zone Partnership to provide parent education in the Renton Innovation Zone Community! We look forward to collaborating with the Somali Parents Education Board, Dr. Debra Ren-Etta Sullivan and Renton Schools.
Upcoming Events
Parenting with Positive Discipline - Postponed per King County Public Health recommendations and Mercer Island School District policy

Our Tuesday, March 10 Mercer Island Parenting with Courage and Connection class will be rescheduled. Please email us if you would like to be notified when it is rescheduled. 
Mentor Group for Parent Educators

Saturday, March 14
Register here
Building Resiliency 1:  Strategies to Engage Youth Exposed to Trauma

Tuesday, March 17
Register here
Positive Discipline in the Classroom

We are currently scheduling our spring workshops in Kent and Highline School Districts. Email us if you would like to be notified when they are posted.
Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way

Thursday, April 30, 6:30-8:30pm
Friday May 1 & Saturday May 2, 8:30-4:00pm

Register here.
What We Are Reading
Our Brain Book
by Kristin Hovias

Building mutually respectful relationships is urgent, important, and emotionally strenuous work. Self-regulation is the foundation for creating mutually respectful relationships.
Our Brain Book is an engaging rhyming book written for children, parents, care providers, and educators as a gentle guide for teaching self-regulation and the science behind it.
Engage with Sound Discipline

Demonstration School Tours
Join us at one of our partner schools to see our work first hand. Observe class meetings in action and listen to students and school staff talk about the impact of Sound Discipline in their school. 

Our next tour is scheduled for March 20.

  • Find more information and RSVP here.

Check out our Parenting Newsletter
Would you like to bring a Parenting class to your school or community? 

Join Sound Discipline's Positive Discipline Practitioners Group
This private Facebook group is for Positive Discipline practitioners trained by Sound Discipline. Connect and support one another by sharing resources and referrals, asking questions, and helping to promote one another's services.

Forward this newsletter to a friend today! 
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