The fog comes on little cat feet.

It sits overlooking the harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

Carl Sandberg

This poem came to mind yesterday morning as I stood on the corner with our 5th Grade Safety Patrol. Foggy mist is part of the inevitable signal that fall has arrived, that daylight continues to grow shorter. The month of October has always been a favorite of mine. Trees take on vibrant colors, (it’s my birthday month!), and we are caught up in Halloween silliness… But October is also a month of more serious focus, such as Breast Cancer Awareness, the Month of the Holy Rosary, as well as Bullying Awareness month.

The Second Step program, developed by Committee for Children and based here in Seattle, has been a cornerstone in our teaching of social/emotional development. Examining bullying at all grade levels, this program helps students to Recognize, Refuse, and Report bullying.

Each grade looks closely at what constitutes bullying. By definition, bullying is unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening, or leaving someone out on purpose. This differs from a minor conflict or opposing opinions. Looking at scenarios presented and activities provided within each lesson, students discuss and share personal experiences, observations, and problem solve. Keeping in mind the different challenges within each grade, recess and playground behaviors often guide our topic of discussion. What do we mean by empathy as opposed to sympathy? What do we need from someone in order to call them a friend? What do we have to offer someone to be a friend?

Second Step acknowledges developmental differences for grades 1 through 5, covering topics such as:

  • Empathy and Skills for Learning
  • Emotion Management
  • Problem Solving

Using a Second Step web-based program for Middle School, topics include:

  • Mindsets and Goals
  • Values and Friendships
  • Thoughts, Emotions and Decisions
  • Serious Peer Conflicts

Throughout this month of Bullying Awareness, students will continue to examine the impact of bullying on individuals, and communities. I will share more learning opportunities for our Middle School, as well as Parent Education presentations for the remainder of the school year in next week’s Newsletter. Given the impact of bullying, the stress and emotional impact it can have on the mental health of our youth, please consider attending the very important presentation listed below.

Take care,

Heidi Ehrenberg

School Counselor


                             Ending the Silence Matters

 Ending the Silence is a program for students in grades 7-12 that helps inform youth about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if they or a loved one experience symptoms of a mental illness. A lead presenter from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shares an informative presentation, and a young adult living with a mental health condition shares their journey of recovery. Questions and answers follow and audience members gain understanding of an often-misunderstood topic,

Ending the Silence for Families is a presentation for parents and primary caregivers. It includes warning signs, facts and statistics, how to talk to your child and best ways to work with school staff.


Sunday, October 21st   6:30-8:30 pm

St. James Cathedral Pastoral Outreach Center

907 Columbia Street, Seattle

Presentations begin at 7:00pm *Refreshments provided

Open to students and parents from all parishes

 Info: Chris Leightonor Nancy Granger 

For more information on Ending the Silence visit