An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Julie Lutton, 5-12 personal development and wellness department head

The following is adapted from a Nov. 23 email Julie Lutton sent parents and guardians of Middle School students. 

It is a joy to be back in Lakeside’s classrooms and hallways, witnessing the energy of our Middle School students. In addition to adjusting to full-day, in-person learning, students are navigating from socializing exclusively online to socializing both in person and online. For many students (and adults) it can be difficult to regain comfort with communicating in person with friends and classmates after so many months of relying on texting, Teams, email, and video calls. Lakeside’s classes in personal development and digital life help students consider the nuances of online communication, and the benefits of in-person communication. Communicating effectively online and in person requires a complex set of skills, and these are skills that our students will continue to build throughout their time at Lakeside. 

As you help your student navigate technology use in their middle school years, we encourage you to visit or revisit the recorded webinars from our series “Everything is Connected: Parenting Adolescents in a Technological World.” This series, from spring 2021, was developed exclusively for Lakeside parents and guardians. Each webinar shares data points from Lakeside students, features a panel of Lakeside faculty and staff, and provides insights into how to navigate technology use with your student. A brief description and a link to the recording for each webinar is below.

  • Tools of the Trade: Learning About Apps and Sites Students Use to Connect: This webinar provided insight into the most popular tools students use to connect with one another through technology. It explored the difference between connection through technology and screen time and offered considerations for parents and guardians as students are interested in using new tools or apps to connect online.
  • Likes, Stories, and Follows: Helping Students Navigate Social Media Safely and According to their Values: This webinar focused specifically on social media; in particular, features of the various platforms for parents and guardians to discuss with their student. It also explored the types of positive and negative content students view online, and how they perceive what they find.
  • This is Our Routine: Setting Up Sustainable Guidelines for Technology at Home: This webinar addressed how parents and guardians can approach setting up routines, boundaries, and guidelines for technology use with their student. We focused on the importance of modeling behaviors we hope to see in our students, talking about technology’s impact on sleep and nutrition, discussing current events with your student, parental controls, and how to navigate conversations about sexual content online.

All Middle School parents and guardians also have access to the parent toolkit from The Social Institute, which helps students navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology in positive, high-character ways. Students in grades 5 and 6 will take part in lessons from The Social Institute through their digital life classes this year. (Parents and guardians can find instructions for accessing The Social Institute’s parent toolkit in Lutton’s email from Monday, Nov. 23).

The following resources are available for parents and guardians who wish to learn more:

As always, we encourage you to reach out to any of the following resources available at Lakeside to discuss any further questions or concerns; contact information is available in the Veracross directory:

  • Your student’s advisor.
  • Your student’s personal development teacher.
  • Jamie Asaka, director of student and family support.  
  • Meg Wolfe, head of the Middle School student support team.
  • Reem Abu Rahmeh, Middle School director.
  • Robert Blackwell, Middle School assistant director.