*Message from Alia Dolan*
Thu, Feb 10 4:34pm

Dear Hillcrest families,


The following is a message to the community from Alia Dolan, who is recovering at home from spinal surgery and hopes to return in person within the next two weeks, on Tuesdays and Thursdays to start. She is currently working remotely and is happy to meet with parents via zoom. Please take a moment to read her helpful and insightful message on how to support our kids through these difficult times.




I miss all of your faces tremendously, first and foremost! And I am so sorry that we are all going through this incredibly difficult situation that is impacting our kiddos and families immediately and intimately. My heart is with our community as we struggle through this together.
What I'd like to lift up is how critical it is to keep adult conversations amongst adults, since kids do not have the life experience, mental schemas or emotional resourcefulness of adult brains. Simply put, we can exponentially increase their level of stress and feelings of unsettledness, vulnerability and anxiety by including them in the moment to moment details of what is happening with the closure of our middle school. 
I'd like to suggest that when approached by our kids for details of the closure, or their feelings related to it, we say something like:
*I'm so sorry that this is happening. I can imagine that you have a lot of feelings about it. I know I do. But please know that the adults are having conversations about what is next, and when I have information that is important to share with you, I will. 
Or simply:
*I really hear you. Do you want to talk more about how you are feeling about all of this? (and do not use this as your opportunity to tell your child how YOU are feeling - just listen)
When asked a direct question that you don't know the answer to, or don't think is yet appropriate to share:
*I don't yet know the answer to that question. I will work to find answers, and include you when it's appropriate. But sometimes, the information is just for adults. I will include you in any information that is appropriate for you to know. 
Some of our students and families are currently more impacted than others just by virtue of what grade they are in. But I am hearing through our community that even younger students who do not face immediate decisions related to this matter are chatting about it. I hope this is useful, and please feel free to reach out to me. I am keeping all of our community close to my heart.
Ms. Alia