Resources for Helping Students Cope with Tragedy in the News


DUSD Newsletter October 2017


Denair Campuses Have Big Plans to Mark Red Ribbon Week

Next week is Red Ribbon Week at schools across the country. Red Ribbon Week began in 1980 as a way to discourage drug use among children while promoting healthy behaviors. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was one of the original proponents.

The campuses in the Denair Unified School District have a number events planned starting Monday. All are being coordinated by staff as well as student members of the PHAST (Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco) Clubs.

Denair High School

  • Monday: Crash scene. There will be a wrecked car on the grass near the student store unveiled about 8:40 a.m. The car will be an example of what can happen if people drink and drive, text and drive or are under the influence of drugs and drive. The car will be there all week as a reminder to students. A video was shared with students Friday to prepare them for what they will see Monday. During lunch, we will have games, music and prizes.
  • Tuesday: Drug dog demonstration, games, music and prizes.
  • Wednesday: California Highway Patrol presentation, games, music and prizes.
  • Thursday: Hollywood-themed photo booth, games, music and prizes.
  • Friday: Denair Fire Department presentation, games, music and prizes.

Denair Middle School

  • Monday: PJ Day. Students can wear pajamas to school. The theme is “Reach for Your Dreams, Don’t Let Drugs Get in Your Way.”
  • Tuesday: Celebrity Day. Students can dress up as their favorite celebrity. The theme is “Be Famous for Making the Right Choices.”
  • Wednesday: Twin/Pink Day. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness and Red Ribbon Week, we will join together as twins and wear pink as much pink as possible. The theme is “Join Together Against Drugs.”
  • Thursday: Character Day. Students can dress up as their favorite character — sports hero, Disney character or cartoon character. “Show Your Character, Stand Up Against Drugs!”
  • Friday: Harvest Festival. Students in each grade will wear different colored clothes – sixth (orange), seventh (yellow) and eighth (white). The theme is “Harvest Your Best Qualities, Don’t Fall for Drugs.”
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DCA Staff, Students Give Back to Community 
by Serving Food to Homeless at Turlock Shelter

Denair Charter AcademyPrincipal David Naranjo believes education is more than what can be learned through inspiring teachers, transformative programs, amazing online lessons or even well-written books. There is a human component that transcends traditional classrooms and involves helping mold teens into good citizens.

Wednesday night’s staff and student project feeding the homeless in Turlock was a perfect example.

School site counselor Sally Baker and teachers Jerrie Ogden, Greg Groll and Maureen Campos were joined by students Kyanna Roa, Tony Miranda, Ashley Pontillo and Karrin Weatherspoon at the We Care Program Turlock facility on Broadway Avenue.

Together, they served 55 meals to a group of homeless men. On the menu was chicken in cream sauce, pasta noodles, Caesar salad, rolls and milk. Dessert consisted of no bake cookies made by Ogden’s culinary students at DCA.

“They were super hungry,” said Baker. “They were very appreciative. They clapped for us.”

Dinner took about an hour to serve, but Naranjo hopes the life lessons will last much longer.

“The importance is for the students to have an impact on the lives of others in our society,” he said. “It’s noting a need in the community and utilizing their skills to make a difference. It’s understanding the commitment we have to each other.”

Continue reading “DCA Staff, Students Give Back to Community by Serving Food to Homeless at Turlock Shelter” »

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Tobacco Expert Delivers Powerful Message About Addiction

Victor DeNoble’s story reads like something out of a spy novel. Hired by cigarette maker Phillip Morris in the early ’80s to find a heart-healthy replacement for nicotine, he soon discovered the lethal and powerfully addictive impacts of tobacco products via testing on rats.

Handcuffed by a confidential contract against sharing his knowledge, he eventually found a way to blow the whistle on the industry and testify before Congress, shattering decades of silence about one of the world’s leading killers.

Beyond all the cloak-and-dagger details DeNoble shared Monday to Denair High School students was one all-important fact: Despite the sweeping changes in people’s perceptions and knowledge about tobacco, it’s still as dangerous as ever.

Worse yet, the industry – knowing long-term users are those most likely to die from their habit – appears to be using electronic cigarettes and vaping to target and ever younger demographic who aren’t as aware of the risks.

“There are literally thousands of flavors,” the fast-talking DeNoble told the attentive students. “And nicotine level has been lowered so they don’t have to report it. But the danger is real.”

DeNoble makes 350 to 400 appearances a year before students of all ages as well as other groups. He came to Denair on the invitation of the 25-member PHAST (Protecting Health and Slamming Tobacco) Club. Earlier Monday, he was at Beyer High School in Modesto

He punctuates his presentations with photos of the rats he tested three decades, colorful charts and graphs, and multiple props – including two human brains he says were permanently altered because by nicotine addiction.

It takes only weeks and months for users to become addicted, DeNoble said, but five to 10 years or more for most people to overcome their craving. Continue reading “Tobacco Expert Delivers Powerful Message About Addiction” »

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