Skip to content

Getting the Forecast Right Can Bring More Sunshine into Your Child’s Life
How can parents help manage the fear and uncertainty that comes with a new school year, new environments and new friendships?

Superintendent Anthony Godfrey sits down with JSD Health and Wellness Specialist McKinley Withers to talk about managing change in your child’s life and offers some ways to help overcome the social health crisis we are seeing in students today.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. This is a Jordan School District podcast designed to educate, inform, and hopefully entertain you. If it's important to students, parents, teachers, or anything that has to do with education, it's something we want to cover on the podcast. I'd like to start this Supercast by visiting with a few students. I had a few questions for students in sixth grade at Terra Linda Elementary. So Sammy, tell me, what do you like about school?

Student:
Well, I like making friends because this is my first year at this school, actually.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So is this a friendly school?

Student:
Yes, it's very friendly. I love all the staff and my friends here.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

Student:
It would be an oceanographer or I want to be a veterinarian or I want to be a photographer.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Oh, so you've got it down to three choices.

Student:
Yeah, I think you're going to have to choose one. I'm not sure how well those would all overlap. What do you like about sixth grade Gracie?

Student:
How the bathrooms aren't as dirty.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Dirty bathrooms are not old cool. I can't argue with you there. We always appreciate the chance to talk with students and it was great to visit Terra Linda and seeing kids at the start of school. They're just getting going. Things are going their way so far.

And today we get the chance to talk with our Consultant in Health and Wellness, McKinley Withers. He's going to talk with us about keeping that positive momentum that you heard in the voices of the children. I had the chance to talk with and to manage the transitions, stress and workload that, quite frankly, can come along with being a student. We've had a particular focus in the last year in particular on the health and wellness of students and faculty and the social and emotional wellness, just in general, of everyone in the District, particularly students. And we just want to talk about ways that students can effectively manage that. So McKinley, tell us a little bit about yourself.

McKinley:
I've been a teacher and a counselor, and I love working in education. I currently, like you said, work as a Health and Wellness Specialist. I also am a father of two young children who will shortly be attending Jordan School District schools and so I look at this from multiple angles.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Great. Happy you are here. Tell us a little bit about how we can improve overall health and wellness. That's been a real focus in the District and just in general social and emotional health and wellness, making sure that we're focused on happiness and just kids are doing well, because you can't learn if you're feeling stressed out and you're feeling a high level of anxiety. How do we manage that?

McKinley:
So, I always like to start any discussion on happiness or wellness with probably what I see as the most fundamental mindset shift, which is focusing primarily on what you have control over. That is your thoughts and your actions, what you do daily, what you choose to do does matter for your wellness. It matters for your longevity. It matters for your happiness. We often get distracted by all of these outside things that we don't have control over. If that's a new school environment, you know, there's going to be new kids, new teachers, new administrators, new situations that aren't always going to go well. We can't always predict that. Things just, aren't always going to go our way.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, how do we manage that? How take on the mindset that will help us manage the types of change that happened? Not just at the beginning of the school year, but throughout the year, you're shifting friends, you're in different classes, you're learning different things.

McKinley:
So in order to focus on what you have control over, I guess we can apply it to making friends. So rather than, "Oh man, I wish so-and-so would talk to me more or I wish somebody would sit with me at lunch or I hope that this would happen for me socially and that I could have all the friends in the world".

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yes. And we've all been there. We've all thought that we've all been down that road where, you know, we wish someone else would take care of our social health for us.

McKinley:
Right. But accepting that that's not going to happen is very important to building social health.  So just accepting that and understanding that we can't control everything or everyone is a step in the right direction toward health and wellness for students because then you're directing your energy towards what you can control. So rather than moping all day about not being able to make friends or other people not reaching out to you, try setting achievable small social goals. Instead, say you know, today, I'm just going to smile at someone I don't know. That's achievable, it's small. That's something I can do.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's great. And that's concrete. So a parent who's talking with a student who's frustrated because they're not making friends can give these types of tips.

McKinley:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
To reach out to someone rather than sitting around, wishing someone else would behave in a particular way. Take active steps to try to spark that friendship on their own. Right?

McKinley:
Yeah. Yeah. Setting achievable social goals is what I would call it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. So what else besides achievable social goals?

McKinleyL
Focusing on the fact that there are some things you can change and other things you can't.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What else can parents do to help their students have a high level of happiness and social and emotional wellness?

McKinley:
So, just because of what we were just talking about, let's look at this from social fitness. So those achievable social goals, we are working on our social fitness. These kids have so many opportunities socially. They're there at school. There's a thousand kids at, I mean, maybe not at every school, but many of our schools have found sometimes 3000. There's a lot of kids. So they are surrounded by social opportunities and the number of kids that they are surrounded by that are probably having similar lonely thoughts is overwhelming.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. And part of the lonely thoughts is that you think you're the only one having the lonely thoughts.They're all in it together. They all are suffering socially. We have a social health crisis.

McKinley:
Yeah. So if, if by setting those small, achievable social goals and just focusing on what they can do to build better relationships and friendships, I think that's a really good starting point. But then we're talking physical and emotional fitness too, they're all connected. Right?

Superintendent Godfrey:
So tell me more about the physical, how does the physical relate?

McKinley:
So in terms of happiness, our physical health is so fundamental. We're just talking about basic concepts like sleep, diet, exercise, maybe some sunlight, you know, just those basic things. We need those as humans and we aren't going to flourish if we don't get that again.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And maybe you've been following me around, but I get too much of the eating and not enough of the sleep.

Okay. I just don't think that's a part of the equation. So tell me a little bit about what that looks like for kids. If there are parents looking to help kids improve their physical health and in turn, improve their emotional health, sleep, for example, talk about that.

McKinley:
So I know that you said in jest that you don't get enough sleep that you eat too much, but we're not in jest.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. That's absolutely true.

MiKinley:
The reason I mentioned social health first is because research on longevity, health and happiness would indicate that how long you will live, whether or not your immune system is functioning better than someone else typically ties back to the quality of your relationships. So that really is the foundation of wellness, it is relationships. If we're cranky all the time because we're not sleeping enough, we're not going to have good relationships. And I don't think you're cranky, by the way, even though you don't sleep enough. I think you keep it pretty good.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Look, I think you're protesting a little too much there, so let's just move on.

McKinley:
Okay. But what that says is that there really is a relationship. Relationships are at the center of longevity, happiness health, but unless you're physically healthy, unless you're meeting those small social goals, then you may not be able to create those relationships that you need.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

McKinley:
So, and again, it is all connected because our social relationships affect our emotional health. Our emotional health affects whether or not we feel like taking care of our physical health and as our physical health changes, our emotional health changes.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. Eating a pint of ice cream at 11:00 PM?

McKinley:
Yes, right.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're going to take a quick break and we're going to come back and talk specifically about sleep, eating right and getting some exercise and how parents can help students meet those goals.

McKinley:
Awesome.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Stay with us.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome back to the Supercast. I'm Anthony Godfrey, Superintendent of Schools for Jordan School District. With me today is McKinley Withers, our Health and Wellness Specialist for the District. And he's going to tell us a little bit more about helping kids get better sleep, eat, right, and exercise so that they can have the physical health needed to have the social and emotional wellness in place that they need to be successful as well. Tell us a little bit about that.

McKinley:
So, I guess a good starting point is with physical health. I think another basic mindset that is important to have is that because we get really caught up, we need to cut out. We need to cut away the screen time. We need to turn off this and get rid of our ice cream at 11 at night, you know. But maybe a better starting point that you can actually get behind is what can you add? Because as you add things in your life, you don't have this void of what you used to do, but you are creating healthy habits for our bodies instead of bad habits. And just start with adding something, that you know is healthy.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So when it comes to eating healthy, I should eat kale at 11 o'clock at night, instead of ice cream.

McKinley:
Well, you can still have your 11 o'clock ice cream, but starting the habit of, as often as you can, inserting something healthy, your body will start to get used to that routine. We work off of routines. Humans are creatures of habit. And so in order to build an exercise habit, you don't have to go run five miles.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I feel like all of this is directed at me.

McKinley:
So I've been watching you for a while. And so I know......

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah, because you're right. My body is not used to green, leafy vegetables. More, you know, combinations of nuts and chocolate syrups. So adding good foods to the diet and exercise can be social. Anything, even a walk with the daughter, walking the neighborhood can be social.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What about sleep? How do parents help their kids get better sleep?

McKinley:
Exercise is one thing. If kids that are active sleep better, but then second before bed we are surrounded by screens and light. There's a hormone called melatonin that is released through your body to help you sleep. And that hormone is inhibited by light. So that's why you wake up when the sunlight hits your eyes, why we have blinds in our homes to like help us sleep better. So with a cell phone right by your bed or with the TV on, you're inhibiting melatonin. And so you're actually preventing your body from its natural sleep cycle. You're not as likely to go through as deep of sleep. And so I think that starting there too, just being mindful of screens simple. There is a strategy. Is there a television? Is it on? Is there a phone? Where's the phone? Is it going to be buzzing often? You better to buy an alarm clock, even though that feature is available on the phone and set the phone down in another room. The phone doesn't even come into the bedroom at night.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. All right. So let's talk about happiness overall. I've heard you talk about happiness before. We don't really understand our own happiness very well. So it becomes difficult maybe, to help our kids be properly focused on how to be happy. Tell us a little bit.

McKinley:
Right. So there's actually a lot of research that suggests that we are bad predictors of our own happiness. We are bad happiness weather people, if it was a forecast and we were doing the weather and we were trying to predict our happiness. We're going to miss it nine times out of 10, just like the weather.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Fair enough. That's great. So just the weather people do get it wrong sometimes. Sorry, everyone.

McKinley:
Yeah, they do. And we do too. I mean, if I was to ask you when is the last time you had the thought or feeling that some change or event that you anticipated was going to completely alter your happiness.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Right. As soon as I get this done, as soon as this presentation is over, or this meeting is done or I've finished this task, then I'm going to be okay. And so kids have that all the time. As soon as I get this project done, then I'll be happy.

McKinley:
Yup. Or even if we over predict how bad something is going to be for us too. So man, if this breakup happens, it's the end of the world. Well, our happiness forecast, even in those situations, we adapt a lot, but we don't give ourselves enough credit for how well we psychologically adapt.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, if parents talk with kids, it's not going to be that bad, but also it's not going to be that good.

McKinley:
Right. Just because you finished this project or there'll be another person. There's something else coming. If you have this difficult social situation, there'll be another difficult social situation, but you'll get through it. You're tougher than you think.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Right. Okay.

McKinley:
And it's still important to validate emotions. Don't say, "well, now that you're sad or you think this is the end of the world, it's, it's not, you'll get over it". That's probably not the best approach.

Superintendent Godfrey:
But that's a good point then. So you like this balance?

McKinley:
Yes. Just understanding that for your child and for you. We adapt so much better than we would think to our situations and to the negative events and the positive events. And when we think something would be our home run, a couple of months down the road, after you get your promotion or after this or that it's back to normal, what are your eyes on next?

Superintendent Godfrey:
Sure. I read a book once that talked about how, if you think in terms of worst case scenario, sometimes we aren't realistic about what the worst case scenario really is. What's the worst that can actually happen if we really think about it and analyze it? A lot of the things that worry us aren't ever going to get as bad as our imagination would suggest. So what are some other things that we can do to be better focused on our own happiness or better predict our own happiness or better contribute to our own happiness, especially as parents are trying to help students?

McKinley:
So I'm going to come back to what we were most recently talking about because, what I think we can focus on is what we know actually does make us better off. Even though we often say these circumstances or these different life events are what leads to happiness, they're very minimal in terms of actually contributing to our happiness. What really makes a difference is what is our daily practice. What are our thoughts and actions that we have made a routine. That's what makes the biggest difference. So, something as simple as adding a practice of gratitude, that can help a lot of ways for a lot of different people. But the reason you would do that would be you're essentially exchanging your expectations of what should be. When you walk into a new school on the first day, we all have different expectations for how we will be received, how someone will approach us or how this class will go. Even that project that is stressing you out. We have these expectations, but trying to train our brain to appreciate more, exchanging those expectations for appreciation, it takes practice because we have a negativity bias.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I heard a speaker point this out by holding up a white piece of paper, they put a small black dot in the middle and they said, "Write about this piece of paper". And everybody wrote about the dot. Nobody wrote about all of the white, so you're right. We do focus on the small negative over the non whelming positive.

McKinley:
Yeah, yeah. There is always something that has gone right. But you have to train your brain to recognize it and practice reporting it because knowing that doesn't make a difference, it's the practice of it that will change and alter your head.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So maybe that changes the questions parents ask of their kids at the end of the day.

McKinley:
Yes. Because if we just say, how was your day, that allows room for the negativity bias to take over. But if we say something like, what are some of the great things that happened?

And it's okay for kids to acknowledge when bad things happen, but it's also good to build again. It's adding where we're missing. Sometimes there are bad days and we need to talk about that. But on every bad day, there's at least something good that you can come back to.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So like you said, ,it's this balance that you referenced before where it's not that you exclude the negative and pretend it's not there, but you make sure that you add in the good and ask about the good as well. Right? My son is 18 now, my oldest, and he's graduated, but I couldn't get information from him about the school day. I would try any type of interrogation technique. I could get a positive or negative. We'd hear from other parents whose kids had told them there was this huge fight at school. Was there a fight at school today? Oh yeah. Yeah.You would not know the place. Okay.

Well, good questions at the end of the day for kids that focus on the positive and give a chance to acknowledge the negative as well, can maybe fight against the negativity bias that can get in the way of fully enjoying the good things that are happening. Mckinley, that's great advice on happiness. We're going to take a quick break here and we'll be right back. Stay with us.

Sandra Reisgraf:
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan School District? Maybe see your child or a friend featured in a school story? Check out our website at jordandistrict.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at Jordan District. Let's connect today.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome back to the Supercast. I'm Anthony Godfrey, Superintendent of Schools for Jordan School District here with McKinley Withers. Thanks for spending time with us McKinley. Great advice about happiness, social and emotional welfare, and just how to manage change and make sure that we're as well off as we possibly can be and that we can help kids be healthy in every way. So thanks. Great tips. Great advice.

Now we want to have a little fun. I want us to get to know guests a little bit better. So we're going to play Two Truths and a Lie. I know that you don't generally lie because you're a standup guy, but the time has come for you to tell a lie to the Superintendent. Generally not a good idea, but today let's get there, man.

McKinley:
I'm trying to think of what I can get away with right now.

Superintendent Godfrey:
This is good. That's a good set up. Okay. Alright. Time to lie to the Superintendent. Tell me Two Truths and a Lie and let me see if I can figure out which is which, okay? Let's tie it up to a lie detector. You guys are going to detect this.

McKinley:
I practice what I preach with healthy eating. I avoid soda.

I went to a high school dance with Julianne Hough. Oh, okay.

And I grew up in Jordan School District Schools. So I have been in Jordan District my whole life.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I think number three is a lie. I don't think you went to Jordan SchoolDistrict schools.

McKinley:
I did. So I grew up in Sandy.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay.

McKinley:
And that was when Jordan School District was included Sandy, so I've always been a part of Jordan School District.

Superintendent Godfrey:
All right. Do you drink soda?

McKinley:
I do drink soda.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. So what school, when did you go to a dance with Juliana? I assume you were in high school.

McKinley:
I was in high school at the time. It was, it was the Halloween dance my senior year. So she went to Alta High School and graduated the same year as me.

Superintendet Godfrey:
So, how did the dancing go on your part?

McKinley:
Oh well, I heard that the partner elevates the person, you know, quality of dancing because you were with a superstar. So when I think back to that experience in my naive little high school self, I was not a good dancer, but I didn't care. And I didn't really know, when I think back, dang, I really blew it. You dance like a star. Wasn't watching. That's exactly how it went. I think she was probably embarrassed, now looking back, that she was with someone that dances like I do, but you know what, that's going back to what you said earlier. WE both got through it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, thank you for being with us today. It's been great having you great advice. And what's the website they can visit if they would like more information?

McKinley:
So we have the Wellness Website at wellness.jordandistrict.org. We are in the process of adding more content. So there's always more there. There are great links there and we encourage parents to go on and contact school officials if there are issues that you need help with and your family.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And thank you. Thanks for being here.

McKinley:
Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Alright, thanks for joining us for the Supercast. Keep listening and remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you next time. [inaudible].

Show Audio Transcription

Get the 101 on teen-vaping and find out what signs to look for in teens that are a part of the dangerous trend.

Superintendent Anthony Godfrey is joined by Assistant Principal Stewart Hudnall who brings a variety of vaping devices into the studio and explains how and where kids are using them.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. This is the Jordan School District podcast designed to educate, inform, and hopefully entertain you. If it's something important to parents and students, we hope to feature it right here on the Supercast. And today, we are fortunate to have Stewart Hudnall with us. He's an Assistant Principal out at Herriman High School, and he's going to talk with us about a topic that has been hitting the news a lot lately and has really been taking off. That is the issue of vaping among teens. And he's brought quite an array of, I assume, confiscated materials here that he's going to talk us through. He's been giving presentations to parents to help them understand what to watch for and the impacts. And so, we're very glad to have you here.

Stewart:
Thank you. Happy to be here.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us about your journey and education so far.

Stewart:
I started at Riverton High School. I was a teacher there. I was a business teacher, business and marketing, taught digital media and graphic design, and some web design, financial. It loved it. My dad is an educator and he became an administrator. So I followed in his footsteps. And after a few years at Riverton, I made the jump to administrator and was placed at Herriman High School. This is the start of my third year.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Great. Well, it's great to have you tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you start to pursue more information about vaping?

Stewart:
Well, in the last couple of years, no pun intended, things have exploded with the vaping and the e-cigarettes and anything my students are doing. I'm interested in them, I like to connect with them. Unfortunately, in this regard, it's something illegal with vaping for the students. So every time I talked to some, I tried to learn a little bit more about what it was, what it meant, how it worked, what to look for, what they were seeing, what it smelled like, what it felt like. I tried to figure out everything I could from the students to determine what I could do to help them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So tell us about what you learned from students about how they feel about vaping.

Stewart:
So for most of the kids, I actually had a few arguments with kids that said, "I wasn't smoking, I was vaping". There was a little bit of a disconnect for them, whether or not they were actually smoking or vaping. And we had that discussion. And in the end, in the eyes of the law, legally, it's the same thing. And so that discussion was had, but what I found out is, with most kids, almost without exception, when I peel back the layers, the reason why they were smoking is they're overwhelmed. They had anxiety, they were depressed. They had something that was going on in their life, oftentimes hard issues going on at home, but they didn't know how to cope with. And so it was a form of self-medicating. I had numerous students tell me, "Hudnall, when I see that smoke come out, it just relaxes me. It's an easy way for me to calm down. And sometimes there's nothing else out there that's going to calm me down as much as taking a hit".

Superintendent Godfrey:
So sometimes it's the process as much as the substance.

Stewart:
The scary thing is, they started because of the process. Nicotine is very addictive and the amount of nicotine varies so much, based on the juice, that they don't realize the amount of nicotine they're smoking, and sure enough, they get addicted to it. And so no longer is it just a coping mechanism. They're not just coping with it, but now they have to have it. They have to have that nicotine addiction.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So tell me, what are some of the impacts that you've seen on students from being addicted to vaping?

Stewart:
A lot of it can be educational. They're not able to focus in class. Kids are sneaking away. We're finding lots of kids smoking in the bathroom. In fact, the joke going around is we installed bathrooms in their vape rooms because to make that more convenient. Most assistant principals I've talked to in other schools say that's where they're finding most kids. They're going to be in the stall smoking. And so they've got to sneak away during class in order just to feel like they can function because the nicotine addiction is too high.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I did have a student when I was teaching in eighth grade, that was late to class. And I finally realized that it was because he needed to have a smoke before class because of the timing of my particular class. And he was sneaking behind a portable and taking care of that everyday. But with vaping maybe is it easier to you to vape indoors?

Stewart:
Absolutely. And that's part of where the struggle comes from. I think the reason why it's become so popular with kids, the stigma's gone. It's no longer that gross cigarette that they have to light. Historically, we could walk down the hall and we could smell the kid that smoked a cigarette because it's such a strong odor. Now it's a fruity smell. Now it's a smell that's going to be cotton candy, fruit, anything in between. And kids are actually even able to do it in class without the teacher realizing it because it's so easy.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So there really is more access, I guess, because vaping doesn't give itself away.

Stewart:
Yeah. In fact, a lot of times when I'll talk to kids, when they're in their cars, in the parking lot, they'll roll down the window. And that's how I can tell they've been smoking because it smells fruity. Most boys cars, when they rolled down the window, say it doesn't smell fruity, but when they roll it down and it smells fruity, I know something's usually going on.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, now when the car smells good, there's a worry opposed to the way that you used to be able to detect it.

Stewart:
And I think most parents will agree, boys bedrooms, boys cars, they don't always smell the best. And so, when you get a really strong smell of that, we've told teachers in the classroom, it might be the girl putting on lotion, or it might be the kid behind her who took a puff while the teacher's back was turned.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So it does make it much more difficult.

Stewart:
Absolutely.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Given that it is more difficult to detect, and as an Assistant Principal myself years ago, I know that you end up learning a little bit about what kids do to disguise their negative behavior. Can you give any tips to parents about how you have seen kids disguise their devices or their vaping habits?

Stewart:
Well, because they're so small, they're really easy to hide. It's not like it's the big pack of cigarettes anymore. Our most popular device, we're finding, is called the Smoke Novo. And it is really small. It's not quite as skinny as the Juul that most people have out there, but with this tiny device, they're able to hide it really easily in their pocket, or in their hands. Parents aren't going to see that. The two biggest things that we tell parents to look out for is the smell ,because it's hard to hide the smell, and the second thing to look out for is the sound when they ask.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So what does it sound like?

Stewart:
Crackly sound? Um, it's hard to describe, but it's almost like electricity crackling.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Mr. Hudnall, can you give us a demonstration of hat sound?

Stewart:
Yeah, absolutely. This device I have here was actually confiscated from a student at the first hour of the first day of school. He was out in his car. We went out to check parking lots just to see how the law was doing, because we have a lot less kids this year and he was sitting there smoking. And so it actually has enough battery left in it. I can show you the sound.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Perhaps nervous about the first day of school?

Stewart:
Absolutely. And he actually said he's had this one for a year and a half. And so he was not really excited to part with it. It kind of was his favorite, but this is the sound. This is something they can't hide when we go in the bathrooms to do bathroom checks. This is another easy way to tell if the kid's smoking. You don't always see the cloud, but they can't hide the sound. So this is the sound.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And is that the sound just when they start it or throughout the time that they're vaping, you can hear it.

Stewart:
So, anytime that they're sucking on it. So typically what's happening is they're pushing that button to create the vapor and that's what they're sucking out. And so that's what's happening. That sound is happening while they're smoking it. Some devices don't have buttons. Those ones are draw activated, meaning that nothing happens until they put their mouth on it and suck on it. And so it's kind of always on.

Superintendent Godfrey:
But when they take a draw on it, then you don't hear the noise?

Stewart:
Yeah. You don't necessarily hear the sucking. You're going to hear that crackling sound. It's almost like electricity.

And I said sometimes it's hard to see the vapor. Is some vapor easier to see than others, because I know that I've seen folks vaping and it's almost like there's more of a cloud than there would have been had someone been smoking so big, does that vary by device? Or how does the big devices, the ones that will have two, three, four batteries in them, they'll actually use those at competitions as well because they're able to create a gigantic cloud and they like that cloud. But when I was talking to the students, I pulled down a couple of students I had busted and I said, "Help educate me a little bit about this. Why aren't kids using the big cool ones? Why are they using these little ones? "And he said, "Hudnall, the reason why they use the little ones is because they're just addicted to the nicotine."

It's not going to create that big cloud that they want. They can do really cool tricks with those clouds, with those small ones, but mostly, they just need the nicotine hit. It's really easy to hide. They'll blow it in their shirt. They'll keep it in their mouth. Kids have blown in their backpacks, in their sleeves and it just dissipates because it's vapor.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hmm. Okay. So the device really determines whether there's going to be a big cloud or not.

Stewart:
Absolutely. And you can get plenty of nicotine into your system without a big cloud. If that's what you're shooting for, and the juices have different levels of nicotine. So juices will have three milligrams and some will have six milligrams. And, some will have 24 milligrams for the bottle. Some will even have 50 milligrams for the bottle.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're going to take a break and we'll come right back and talk a little bit more about vaping and some of the liquids used in vaping. Stay with us.

Sandra Reisgraf:
Do you want your child to live the best, healthiest, happiest life possible? The Jordan School District Health and Wellness Team wants to help make that happen. Visit wellness.jordandistrict.org for resources, and to get information on everything from mental and physical health and wellness to free counseling services for families. Remember, our JSD Health and Wellness Team is here to help. Join us and live your healthiest, happiest life possible.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're back with Assistant Principal Stewart Hudnall talking about vaping. He's an Assistant Principal at Herriman High School and has had more experience than he would have liked, I'm sure, taking devices off of various students. But to his great credit, has conversations with students to try to understand why they vape and how they vape, so that he has a better understanding of how to help, how to help students who are involved in this illegal behavior. You talked a little bit about the various ways that you have been able to identify that someone is vaping.

Stewart:
It's different from smoking. You could smell someone who smokes a long ways away. The cigarettes can only be stored in a few different ways because they're fairly fragile, whereas, you can easily stash a small vaping device.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What do you call it? I call it a vaping device.

Stewart:
I think it's a mod.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. So you can hide the mod pretty easily and the smoke will depend on the mod or the device that you're using. So can you just recap for us, if you're a parent and you want  to see whether your child is vaping, you listen for the sound, the crackling sound, the vapor, of course, the mod, which is a little device that can even look like a lighter when it's actually, like a USB stick.

Stewart:
Yeah. You have a few devices here in front of you that would be difficult to immediately identify as something illegal. Some of them have more flourish and flare, and that's a little bit obvious. But with others, it would be more difficult to tell.

And some of the kids love tricking out their mods. Like this one. I have a device here that has different customized pieces that the student has purchased, so they can actually spend quite a bit of money on it. They trick it out, kinda like they trick out a car. They can have specialty batteries, specialty tanks, specialty inhalers, specialty bodies. There's a lot of different options that they can mix and match to create it and kind of make it their own.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Do they take a rechargeable battery?

Stewart:
Yeah. So my favorite one is called a mag and it is just like a pistol grip on a gun. And the trigger to pull like on the gun is how they want the device activating property on the mod. But the reason why they call it a mag is, there's a button on there that will drop out the base, which looks just like a magazine for a gun. And so it just slides in and out.

So part of the procedure that you go through is kind of almost like a fidget spinner or something where you'll find kids fidgeting with them throughout the day.

It's something that they like to play with the smaller device. Like you said, it is harder to detect. They all have rechargeable batteries. I haven't seen one yet that doesn't have a rechargeable battery. In fact, the Juuls are what get the most media attention right now. But we actually aren't finding them at my school at all.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Why do you think that is? Is it that Juuls are more expensive?

Stewart:
The number one reason. And this is what I've talked to kids about. I asked him why aren't more kids, Juuling. And they said, it's because it's more expensive. The pod that goes on top that is filled with the juice is not refillable. It's a onetime use. When that pod is gone, they have to throw it away and buy a new one. Kids, being cheap as all high school kids, are not having a lot of disposable income. The Smoke Novo is their favorite. It's the smallest one is the cheapest one, but it also comes with a cartridge that's easy to refill. It has little rubber stopper on the side that they can pop out and then they just buy the juice and then they can fill it and reuse it as many times until the cotton inside is completely burned out.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So where do students buy these? Where are they able to get their hands on a device if it's illegal for students of that age to use?

Stewart:
So you and I, being of age, we can go into any gas station, and just about any gas station or smoke shops are going to have all of these.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, you just answered my question. They shoplift them in convenience stores, right?

Stewart:
Most of the time ,though it is behind the desk. And so most kids I've talked to say there's a couple ways. One is they have a friend that has a cousin that's of age that buys it and sells it to them. Usually it's someone that they know that old enough to buy it, and then they sell it to them. Second is Amazon or eBay, because they're not checking ages when they buy it. So they're able to purchase it on the internet and get it shipped to them directly.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So. your Prime membership can get you a mod, next day, or if it's no rush shipping, you get a dollar credit on various digital items as well.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, that is remarkable. So we've talked about the devices and it really is amazing the array of devices. It's not like you see a cigarette and you know what it is. This is something that you'd have to keep on top of in order to be aware of the device. I guess if there's something plugged into the wall at night that doesn't look like a phone, then ask yourself some questions about what that device might be.

Stewart
Yeah. I had one kid actually charging his Juul on the Chromebook at school. The teacher emailed me and said, "Hey, I know we just talked about this. I think this kid might have e-cigarettes. Can you come up and check?" And I walked up and sure enough, it was plugged into the side of the Chromebook and charging in the middle of class.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That is relying on the ignorance of adults in a serious way. And it can work sometimes. But fortunately, the teacher in question had been trained and knew what to watch for. That's part of what's scary about this is that it's very dangerous for kids at that age. It's illegal, on top of that, but it's very difficult to detect and easy to get. So, parents need to be vigilant. Tell me about the liquids that are used. Is there ever an argument from a kid, and I honestly don't know enough about vaping to even know if this question makes sense, but is there ever an argument from a kid? Well, I'm just vaping  X or Y that isn't an illegal substance. Is there any type of vaping, depending on what you put in there, that could be legal.

Stewart:
There's a couple arguments. Kids will have one built by Juul that has no nicotine. They call it Nick.

Superintendent Godfrey:
No. Nick in the mod. In the juice. Yes. Okay.

Stewart:
So they'll say, well, there's no Nick in it. And I have to explain to them the nicotine part isn't necessarily what makes it illegal for them to have it, right? It's the smoking in general. And that's what the discussion is. But in the end, they are taking a juice of vapor, a hot vapor in their lungs that has, they don't know what's in it, because it's not really regulated. And so they're not sure what different chemicals are found in it. And they're taking that in their lungs and then expelling it. The second one is CBD oil, which we can go to GoodEarth and buy today. You can go to a smoke shop and buy CBD. It's a part of the marijuana plants, but it's the medicinal parts, right? And so kids are smoking that same, but Hudnell, it's not illegal for CBD.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So CBD, THC, what else?

Stewart:
Those are the two big ones.

Stewart:
So we hear about CBD and THC almost exclusively.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And do they claim, so if they claim that there's something else in there, there's no THC, there's no CBD.

Stewart:
Then the argument is still that you can't vape period, regardless of the substance? And technically, even in the eyes of the law, it's paraphernalia. And so they can't have the device to smoke, even if they don't have any juice on them, it's actually illegal for them to have the device period, because it's for something that is illegal for them to do.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. That does make sense. It's paraphernalia in the traditional sense.

Stewart:
Absolutely.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So, I have to ask about this that you brought here. All of the liquids look quite attractive. It's a candy shop, it's bursting with fruit flavor and it's very attractive. The devices themselves are intriguing. And I have to say, I am a lucky charms fan, and here's this little box of cereal carts, I guess, is the brand of THC, 85% to 90% THC.

Stewart:
Yeah. So this is where we get into the really scary stuff. It's scary enough to begin with because nicotine is so addicting, especially for a young kid to be addicted at such a young age. It really breaks my heart to have those discussions with parents about Nicorette gum, nicotine patches, what their kid can do to get through a whole school day without having nicotine. We've had those conversations before. But when we start talking about the THC, that's where we move into the definitely illegal realm. It's illegal for anybody at this point. And they're marketing it specifically to kids in the younger generation because they have things called cereal carts that are flavored after our favorite cereals. So I'll ask the kids when I have these presentation, what's your favorite cereal. They throw out all these names and just about every cereal they throw out, they can find a flavor for that.

THC. The scary part is what they do as they process the marijuana plant so that it's basically straight THC in that juice. They're smoking the marijuana of our day. Back in the day in the 19 hundreds, marijuana was about 5% to 15% THC. This stuff is processed down to where it's 85% to 90% THC. So the amount of THC their body is taking in is astronomical compared to what it would have been back in the day.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So what are some of the cereals, they have Cinnamon Toast Crunch?

Stewart:
Absolutely. If you just do an easy search online of cereal carts, you can find people that are willing and ready to sell it to you. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Frankenberry, Captain Crunch, Blueberry Trix, Honeynut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, CaptainCrunch.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Oh, wow. All your favorite flavors. So even a little box that looks like it has a prize in a cereal box is actually THC oil. Is that what you would call juice or is it liquid? What's the terminology? What would the kids call it?

Stewart:
Well, they just call it Dab, Carts, Dab Carts. So dab, that's when they distill it down, when they process it down and it's a waxy substance, so kids will actually still smoke that in like a pipe or some other way. This has now become the oil. So the Deb Carts is the next iteration of that. It can screw on just about any mod or e-cigarettes in one of those little vials. It has a gram of marijuana in it, and it goes for about $30 to $40 street value. I did find one kid that bought them for $25, which makes me a little nervous where he's getting it because that's really cheap. Most are going for about $30 to $40 while in Dab Carts.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And how long do the Dab Carts last?

Stewart:
It depends on the kid. It's kind of like asking a smoker. How long is that package of cigarettes going to last you? A kid we talked to just last week, said the Dab Cart lasts less than one day when he has it. He sees it that often.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Wow. It's kind of like chain smoking at that point. So the more extreme habits that you've seen could cost hundreds per week.

Stewart:
I sat down with him and bless his heart, he had the conversation with me. I said, "Help me understand that. I'm doing the math and that's like $750 a month. Are you doing a Dab Cart a day? He says, "I don't know. I can't afford that." He says, "But I'm doing about two or three a week". So that's $50 to $75 a week that he's smoking. Multiply that by four and he's using his allowance for his, where he says he gets his money.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. Well, very unsettling, very troubling, but great information to help us try to combat this growing problem. We're going to take a break and we'll be right back with some final tips from Mr. Stuart huddle from airman high school, stick with us.

Sandra Reisgraf:
Do you want to know what's going on in Jordan School District? Maybe see your child or a friend featured in a school story. Check out our website at jordandistrict.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at Jordan District. Let's connect today.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Alright. And we're back with Stuart Hudnall, Assistant Principal here in Jordan School District. He works at Herriman High School, as we mentioned, but this is a problem at all high schools nationwide to varying degrees, and even with younger and younger students all the time. Have you seen this with younger students as well or heard about that?

Stewart:
Yeah, as I've gone around and done presentations, I've had parents and administrators at elementary level. Even down to fourth grade where a kid has had an e-cigarette or a mod on them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. It's scary. The way it's attractive and brightly colored and fruit flavored. And it really makes it seem innocuous when it's dangerous and illegal. Can you summarize for us, just come up with some of your final tips for parents to be on the lookout, what to watch for, and then maybe some tips to students about the negatives that you've heard from students themselves that would maybe be a deterrent to students trying this in the first place?

Stewart:
Sure.With parents, obviously, you know, your kids best, any change in behavior can be a concern, keep an eye on them. Spending long times alone, they're going into their room to smoke. That's where a lot of kids are going to do it. And so with that in mind, what does the room smell like when you go in? Is there a fruity smell? Is there a cotton candy smell? Is there something going on in the room or behind the house that seems a little bit different. Keeping an eye out for that. Okay, sound wise as well. If you're hearing a crackling of current, then pretty sure that's going to be your e-cigarette.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. You have faulty wiring in your house. Hopefully it's e-cigarette. It's not a good sound either way.

Stewart:
No, it's not. And it is a scary sound. And then, have those conversations with your kids. Research has shown time and time again, that the biggest deterrent for drug use is parents. And those conversations being open and honest with your kid, have that discussion, ask them about it because I guarantee they've seen kids do it or they know kids that do it. See what their take is on it.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Great tips. Now tell us, if there's a student listening, who's thought about trying this or has started? Tell me some of the ill effects that you've seen that would maybe act as deterrent.

Stewart:
Sure to that. My first thing for the kid is just remember, there's hope. It doesn't matter how deep you feel, like you're in the hole with the e-cigarette and there's no way out. And if you're using it as a coping mechanism, reach out for help. Talk to your administrators, talk to your assistant principal, talk to your counselors. There's other coping mechanisms out there that can help. And we have seen success with kids who have had a serious addiction with nicotine,  to help wean themselves off, be completely nicotine free and find other ways to cope with what's going on because we all have hard things going on in our life, but know that we're here to help and we're here to support however we can. We're not coming from a judgmental side.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. Great advice. So seek help. There's someone to listen and as parents, keep an eye out so that we can help give the support that we need and always let the school know how we can help.

Stewart:
Yeah. In fact, the Cereal Cart that we have, it was a mom who brought it in. After I did a parent presentation, she found it. I'd never heard of it up to that point. And she said, "Hey, I thought you might be interested in this". She was nervous bringing it in, but it was a great conversation we had and really opened her eyes to some new stuff.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, I really appreciate you coming by. Things move so fast, it's easy to lose touch, and not be as up-to-date as we think we are. So thank you very much.

Now this has been a heavy topic. It's been really helpful and very informative, but we end all of our podcasts with Two Truths and a Lie. It's your chance to lie to the Superintendent. So, despite the heavy topic, let's end on a lighter note. Mr. Hudnall, can you tell me two truths and a lie? Let's see how my lie detectors working today. I want to put on the poker face. All right. You ready?

Stewart:
I've recently been hit in the face. I recently completed an Ironman Triathlon and I've never smoked.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Hmm. Let's see. Number three is the lie, never smoked.

Stewart:
Yeah. False.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Oh see, because I thought getting punched in the face and running a triathlon, kind of went together because you are a glutton for pain and punishment if you do a Triathlon. So certainly a punch in the face is really nothing. You were not recently punched in the face?

Stewart:
I was recently punched in the face.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So maybe the most positive thing in all is the lie.

Stewart:
I have not done an Ironman Triathlon.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. Well, see, it's a compliment that I thought that was the truth.

Stewart:
Now to clarify, I do some boxing sparring at a local gym. And so that's where the punch in the face came.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Oh, so it wasn't on purpose punch in the face. I mean, you try not to get hit in the face when you box, well, not on purpose. You knew that was perhaps part of the bargain. I see so many layers to peel back on this particular Two Truths and a Lie. It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much for being with us, Mr. Hudnall. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. See out there.

Show Audio Transcription

What are students thinking about as we begin the 2019-20 school year in Jordan School District? Superintendent Anthony Godfrey visits a second-grade classroom at Terra Linda Elementary School to hear what young students are saying and his conversation with one student takes an interesting turn.

Then the Superintendent heads back to the studio where two West Jordan High School seniors share their thoughts about finding success this school year and how they believe parents can help.


Audio Transcription

Superintendent Godfrey
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. We're just starting out a new Jordan School District podcast that's designed to educate, inform, and hopefully entertain you. We're going to talk about a lot of different topics related to education, students, teachers, parents. Some of it will just be informative no matter who you are. So we hope you'll stay tuned and stay in touch with us and keep listening to the Supercast for today. We're going to start by a quick stop at Terra Linda Elementary school to see how the new school years going.

Student:
My name is Joshua Holmes.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell me a little bit about second grade so far. How's it going?

Joshua:
It's going great. I love second grade and my most favorite thing is recess.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell me how you like second grade so far.

Joshua:
I like it a lot because I really like doing math and learning. I love it because we get to do coloring and we get to do science.

Superintendent Godfrey:
What do you want to be when you grow up?

Joshua:
I want to be a veterinarian and a dog wash.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Do you have a dog at home?

Joshua:
Yeah. Her name's Tina.

Superintendent:
Name is Tina. Wow. Do you have other dogs?

Joshua:
No. I have a bunny and chickens and a cat and fish.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Wow. So your parents must love animals as well. Is that right?

Joshua:
We have six chickens. They're all named breakfast food.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So what are your chicken's name?

Joshua:
Waffle, Pancake, Bacon, Oatmeal and Mashed Potato

Superintendent:
There's Mashed Potato. In your family, is that a breakfast food?

Joshua:
Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Just another reason to want to visit your house. I can't think of anyone who would do a better job as a veterinarian than you, so congratulations. In second grade, I did not know what I wanted to do and I certainly didn't have the qualifications. You already have some good job knowledge. That's really exciting.  Mrs. Allah, thank you for letting me talk with your second grade students.

Now, you said that they all made an assumption about me when I walked in.

Mrs. Allah:
Every single one of them asked if you were the President of the United States. They were pretty excited at the idea that the President was coming.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, thank you very much. Have a great year. Nice to see you.

We'll share more of my visit here at Terra Linda Elementary school later, but now, let's head back to the Supercast studio where I sit down with two students from West Jordan High School who have some great words of wisdom for students and parents alike. Here with us, we have two seniors looking at their senior year ahead of them. It's going to go fast ladies. I know old people are going to keep telling you that, like me, but we have Emily and Francesca in studio. Thanks for being here. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Introduce yourself here.

Student:
I am Emily Lavante. I'm going to be a senior at West Jordan High School. I am the Student Body President this year and I'm on dance company.

Student:
I'm Francesca Padovano. I'm also going to be a senior at West Jordan High School and like Emily, I really like to dance, but I'm not on dance company. I dance by myself, you know? I am also on student government and I'm the Communications Officer.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Tell me, now that you're on the cusp of senior year, and it's already going fast and it's going to fade away quickly, as we say, those of us who went to high school in the 1900's. As you look back, what have you liked most about your school experience? Are there moments or people?

Student:
I think for me, what I've liked and what I'm excited for going into senior year is just really feeling so close to everyone in the grade. I had classes with these people sophomore year or these people junior year, and I went to this game and saw them there. And now it just feels like it's our third year together, we've known each other for so long. I don't know, those are my favorite memories, seeing someone that I had a class with in a different place in school and just forming all those relationships.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's great. That's great. Francesca.

Student:
It's very similar. It's just the high school experience is something so fun and something people only dream of that live in other countries. America's high school is really cool. So I really like going to all of the games, sports games, football, volleyball, basketball, everything is so fun. Just seeing everybody progress. As all the years go, to see what they go into and if they actually live out their dreams, or if they change courses, like some of us want to do.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Yeah. That's very interesting to me. That's great. So are there some things that I would have to agree when I look back, it's the same thing. It's the relationships and kind of the sense of community and belonging, that we were all in it together, like you said, and we change and we learn and we're all doing it together. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back, stick around. These ladies have more wisdom to share. So we'll be right back.

Safe UT App:
Hey, you okay? Uh, yeah. I just have a lot of stuff going on in my head. You need to talk? Dude, stop hiding behind the happy face. Talk with no filter, get the Safe UT App. Download it now available on the Apple app store, Google play or safe ut.org.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Welcome back. We're back with Emily and Francesca, seniors at West Jordan High School. And they've talked about some of their goals and the positive experiences they've had over the years. I want to ask you now, you've both made the most of high school. Francesca, you came in from another school, dove in, made friends, got involved and you're in student government. Emily, you're heavily involved with Dance Company and government, and you've been with a group of students for a long time, and you both have the goal of helping get people to activities and feel part of the community. What advice do you have for parents to help their children get involved? Maybe they're starting out as a sophomore at the school. Maybe they are coming from another school, maybe boundaries have changed. What advice do you have for them to have a positive experience? The social part of high school can produce a lot of anxiety.

Student:
Actually, my freshman year coming into high school, I went to Oquirrh Hills in Riverton. And so I didn't really know anyone going into my sophomore year. I think just joining student government right off the bat. It's joining anything that interests you and just even going to the audition, just to make those connections and get to know people, I think is so important. And I know it's easier said than done, but just to put yourself out there and don't be afraid of failing when you are trying out for something or trying to join a club. I just think it pays off so much and that helps make school a more comfortable and fun place to be.

I would say, be encouraging to your kids to find things that they're interested in and to be involved in a group at the school. That gives you more reason to be there and to build that community.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I like what you said. I do think sometimes we go into that and we're worried about not being good enough to even try out. I remember, we had a great runner in my high school and I thought that would be kind of cool. I would like to do that, but I assumed that everyone had to be great like him. I didn't know that as long as you were willing to get up early and run and you were crazy enough to keep doing it, they would let you be on the team. I wish I had known that looking back. So I think it's great advice to dive in and try out. There's a lot to do. And, with folks like you leading student government, there'll be more and more opportunities. So Francesca, how about you, what advice do you have for parents to help students feel a part of things at high school?

Student:
Well, like Emily said, a very important part is that parents need to encourage children to just go out there. A parent's opinion is very important to students, especially. There's this spot for everybody at our school, there's clubs for everything. And if you don't like one thing, great, find something else. But it's definitely just encouraging and being for the student. If they do end up going into that club or that team to support and go to all the events and just be happy for them.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Great. So, kind of pave the way to be sure that they have the opportunity to go.

Student:
Yes.

Student:
I just love something that you said. That parents opinions do matter to kids. And I think that even my parents and I have talked about this before, that they've said with my two older brothers. They weren't really sure if going to his wrestling match, going to his band tournament, does it really matter? And it does. Even just being willing to make the time to drop your kid off at the school to go to odd jobs or to go to a football game. Just knowing what's going on. I know that teenagers can sometimes say, I don't want to talk about it. Don't wanna talk about my day because I've been that person. But just as much as they let you in, just take advantage of that because I'm so glad that my parents have stayed in the loop with everything that was going on at my school as they have. And they've definitely been the ones to encourage me to go to things sometimes I maybe didn't want to.

Superintendent Godfrey:
So in other words, even if the outer sign suggests that kids don't want parents involved deep down, they really do.

Student:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Okay. That's great. That's great advice. So you talk to a lot of kids, you know a lot of kids, you hear the struggles and troubles, so what are some things, you know, we've all been through high school. Adults have all been through high school in one way or another. So sometimes we remember it and think that it's still the way that it was. What are some things that, just talking with your friends or your personal experiences, what are some things that you wish adults knew about high school that sometimes they don't seem to understand about what it's like? Not your own parents or teachers, but just the things that you hear?

You've already told us something really important, which is students care about parents being involved. It's important to them and they listened and it matters what they say.

Student:
Maybe it's just that there's so many opportunities out there that they should be aware of that maybe weren't there when they were in high school and that they should really look into what's out there at the school.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That's a great point because I remember touring a high school as a teacher and I've been teaching for a while. I'd been out of high school for a little bit, but I thought it wasn't that long. I still know what's going on in high school. And I went back and visited and I had no idea what was going on because things had changed so much in a positive way. So that's good advice. Just be aware that there may be some opportunities that you don't know about and to help connect your child to those opportunities. You need to investigate that and explore. Yeah, that's great.

Student:
I think this is actually something I was also talking about with my mom the other day, that when you look back on trials, challenges, things have been difficult in your life. It's so easy to say, why was that hard for me? That was like looking back on it because you've been through it, and so it doesn't seem so difficult now. And, I don't know for parents and teachers to just say, the things that they do know are still going on, the things that haven't changed, the stress over homework, worrying about your social circle, that it's not just a shallow superficial thing. I mean, high school is just a place where your school, your extracurriculars, everything is so concentrated. And when you're removed from that, I think it's easy to, I mean I shouldn't say it's easy, but from what I've heard from adults and teachers, is that they feel like it isn't as difficult as it actually is. So, just trying to realize that when you're not in that situation, you might not have the same perspective and to just really listen to what kids have to say.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That makes a lot of sense. And it's good advice overall, really listen to what people have to say.

Student:
And if we made it through, sometimes you can think, well, I made it through, so it can't be that bad. You'll get through it. And instead, like you said, it's great advice. Just listen really carefully.

Superintendent Godfrey:
We're going to take another quick break. And then we'll be back with Emily and Francesca. They get to ask me some questions when we come back, so stick around, stay with us.

Sandra Riesgraf:
How many times do you hear your child ask what's for breakfast or what's for lunch? Find out what's on the menu at your child's Jordan School District School every day by simply downloading the Nutri-slice App to your smartphone or desktop. The Nutri-slice App gives you quick and easy access to daily menus, pictures of meal choices and nutrition information, along with allergens present in the foods. The App also allows students and parents to give feedback on food. Download the Neutri-slice app today and enjoy school breakfast and lunch in your school cafeteria.

Superintendent Godfrey:
And we're back with both seniors at West Jordan high school. I've been asking them a few questions. They've given some great advice and perspective about what high school in the 2019-20 school year is going to look like. Now it's their chance to ask questions of me. So a Francesca go ahead.

Student:
Okay. When technology nowadays is really advancing, I just wanted to know, how has that impacted students' achievement in the school district?

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well, I think that's a great question and it's a question we need to keep asking ourselves. Technology impacts it for the better, because we're able to use technology in ways that people can learn in completely new ways. On the negative side, technology distracts from spending time on homework or spending time learning or experiencing things. And so it's finding that balance and finding healthy, engaging ways to use technology, to learn in completely new ways, not just an electronic version of the old way. Emily.

Student:
I know for an elementary school, middle school and a high school, the budgets are obviously all different for those. But within that, do all the middle schools, all the high schools, do they have different budgets? And if so, how do you decide how resources and money are allocated to different areas?

Superintendent Godfrey:
I think a lot of people wonder that. including the principals who receive those budgets. You put money toward the things that you value, and there are some things that we have to do with certain pots of money. So some money is more restricted than other money. We allocate money to schools based on those rules. First, money from the state or from the federal government or from grants, and then as a district, we allocate money according to the number of students that you have. We try to give as much freedom to each school as we can so that they can accomplish the things that are important to them. But, school money comes from a lot of different sources and we try to really help principals make the most of that and they do a great job.

Student:
Right. Cool. Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
Alright, Francesca, did you have another?

Student:
Yes, I do have another question. So, every student at every school always has their own level of learning. I was just wondering what steps are being taken to ensure that every student is learning at their own pace.

Superintendent Godfrey:
That is something that we concern ourselves with all the time, because we want students, wherever they start to end the year with at least a year's progress. And so, there are a lot of different things that we do there. We work with teachers to help provide support so that they can structure class in a way that allows for what's called individualized or personalized learning. Then we also use technology, which you mentioned earlier, because that allows us to do some online courses or to do flipped classrooms where you're doing your learning at home. And then you do the work in the classroom, or even blended learning where you do work at your own pace and connect with the teacher on a regular basis. So we're trying lots of methods. That's the real trick to trying to make the most of education, is to personalize that for the individual. So we keep working on it.

Student:
Cool. Thank you.

Student:
So across the board, what would you say, just in general, how are high schools in the district excelling? And what's something that a lot of them are struggling with, like trends in both those areas?

Superintendent Godfrey:
I think high schools have done a great job of expanding the options for students. We have our tech centers, we have just a large variety. We've added sports, we've added clubs. So I think a lot has been added that way. We continue to improve in graduation rates. And so graduation goes up and up and ACT scores are going up and up. But I think the thing we always have to focus on, I'm going to go back to your question, Francesca. And that is, we just want to be sure that we're meeting the needs of the individual student. And it's hard to do that with class sizes so large and with our schools so large, but we have teachers dedicated to that. So that's the challenge, I think. And the other is social and emotional wellness, just making sure that everyone feels part of things and that they feel connected and they feel supported and that their self worth is there in place.

That's good for us to hear because that's our job. So yeah, I mean across the whole district, it's nice to know that that's something that we need to keep, like keep on going.

We're constantly thinking about that. And, like you said, it's students like you that make the big difference because you're able to connect and help people feel a part of things. So thank you for that.

Students:
Thank you.

Superintendent Godfrey:
I can't wait to see how the school year goes. I'm excited for you and thanks very much for spending some of your summer here in the studio.

All right. Thanks for joining us for another episode of the Supercase. We'll be back again. And remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. Now, Francesca, can you translate that to Spanish for us?

Student:
Si

Superintendent Godfrey:
Well said, thank you. See you next time.

Show Audio Transcription