St. Michael's Academy

Inspired Minds

Faith-Filled Hearts

Tomorrow's Leaders

Counseling - Mrs. Cullen

Welcome back - strategies for success!


I am blessed to be in my third year as a School Counselor here at SMA!  It is a very odd start to the school year for all of us.  I have been supporting all teachers and staff in welcoming back our old students (via computer and in the classroom) and getting to know our new students!  I also have been one of the many community adults supporting the physical, emotional, social and spiritual safety/well being of our students.  Eventually, I will get back into the classroom to deliver a variety of wellness lessons as I did last school year.  Please continue to ensure that your children are eating well, getting a good night sleep, establishing study spaces in the home free from distractions, and using their planners to keep track of their work.  More details about successful learning can be found in a document I can provide with an email request.  This document also has many links to other ways to take optimal care of yourselves. 

Please let the homeroom teachers know if you have concerns about your child and they will reach out to me if I can provide any additional information or help needed.

A quote…”The only constant at this time is that there WILL be changes” (UGH) - As God tells us in John 16:33..."...in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  I am not sure about each of you but I find this very difficult especially during these times of pandemic, political tensions, social justice issues and personal struggles.  However, when I do lean back on this amazing promise by sitting quietly with God, I do find peace even if only for a few minutes.  

May we remember God’s peace never leaves us!

Blessings

Mrs. Cullen - 413-782-5246 x1005

d.cullen@smaspringfield.org

during full remote learning call 413-569-8514 (text or call)






Hello SMA students and families (#11)!

This is my final message for this school year!  I continue to pray for you and all of us for God’s grace, mercy and love to sustain us and guide us continually (especially through these circumstances)!


I would like to share these resources for support any time and especially during this difficult time of quarantine.  Please do not hesitate to contact the following resources when needed…

  1. Crisis call/text services or simply to talk to someone regarding negative thoughts and feelings.

    1. BHN(Hampden) 733-6661/CSO (Hampshire)586-5555

    2. United Way - Call to Talk “warm line” - 508-532-2255 - English only - may have a short wait time - call to discuss minor or major negative feelings (stress, anger, overwhelm, sadness).  Someone is available 24/7. 

    3. Text 741741 “warm line” - type what your question is about when you feel minor or major negative feelings (stress, anger, overwhelm, sadness).  You will get a general response at first then a specific helpful person to communicate with you.  Someone is available 24/7. 

  2. Parenting support options

    1. Parental Stress Line 800-632-8188 - translation services available for ANY language - someone is available to talk 24/7. 

    2. Free parenting support by therapist and workshop presenter Sarah Getoff, 413-586-3653, sarahgetoff.com(workshops, phone consult, reading materials, etc.) 

  3. Grief/loss support services:

    1. Rick's Place - 413-279-2010 diane.ricksplace@gmail.com  

    2. The Garden - Northampton, MA - 413-582-5312  SLENN@cooleydickinson.org

  4. Covid-19 information, debt management, employment issues, financial/legal resources, etc.

    1. Call 211 - English, Spanish or translation services for other languages available - you will talk to someone right away or leave a message for a call back - someone is available 24/7

    2. Trinity Debt Management - a Christian financial support non-profit. - 1-800-750-9643

  5. Therapy support services:

    1. Clinical Support Options/CSO - Kristal Cleaver (Hampshire County) - 773-1314 x1035 or cell 727-5009 -kristal.cleaver@csoinc.org - Samantha Simmons (Hampden County) - 737-9544 x3044 or cell 342-1331

    2. Brightside for Families and Children is accepting referrals now – 413-539-2498 - Contact Cindy Stark  539-2468


I wish you all a joyful and safe summer!  I close with this prayer from

Pope Francis…

“O Mary, you always shine on our path as a sign of salvation and of hope.  We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.  You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need, and we are sure you will provide so that, as in Cana of Galilee, we may return to joy and to feasting after this time of trial.  Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform to the will of the Father and to do as we are told by Jesus, who has taken upon himself our sufferings and carried our sorrows to lead us, through the cross, to the joy of the resurrection.  Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God.  Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. AMEN”

(for a more Holy Spirit filled prayer, insert your name wherever it says “our, ourselves, we, us” - do this also when reading scripture)

God’s many blessings to you

Mrs. Cullen :-)






Hello SMA students and families (week 10)!

This week, I would like to share (email me a request to send it) which I created to support remote learning.  We are in the home stretch for the official end of the school year yet this resource will continue to be beneficial for summer learning and/or for the Fall.

I also share this webinar I attended that has incredible information for all parents/guardians about raising and supporting our kids especially during this difficult time. Called Teens, Tweens, and Quarantine - presented by Jon Mattleman and Kristal Cleaver, LICSW, Director of Community Education via Clinical Support Options

I close with God’s blessings to all and this prayer from a colleague...

Let Us Pray With Each Other”God of all creation, We thank you for the wonder of our being.  With gratitude for the past and hope for the future We entrust our lives into your hands.  As we continue to move into an uncertain future. We pray for discerning hearts and minds To know what you want of us.  Give us humble hearts To know that we are your instruments.  May your Holy Spirit guide us and give us courage, confidence and hope. As we journey together in Christ.”







Hello SMA students and families (#8)!

We are now completing week 8 of this very strange time!  I continue to pray for you/us all!  May we enjoy the sunshine, nature blooming rapidly, conversations by phone, virtually or outside (at a safe distance) with others.  May we continually turn towards God whenever we are experiencing difficult emotions!

I hope you have all found ways to…

  1. Put a new routine/schedule in place (in writing to look at daily) despite circumstances.  There are many varieties of daily schedules online or from others to choose which best works for you and your family.  

  2. Make a list of gratitudes and activity ideas to look at.  I created a document of activity ideas that I hear many families using.  Hope it is helpful (email me to request a copy). 

  3. Continue daily learning from your teachers (academic and specials) by completing the work assigned. Find ways to motivate yourself to attend classes virtually, do all the work and show the work completed to your teachers for a successful end to the year and good student habit building for your future!  

  4. If you are having trouble finding motivation (this is happening for all of us at different times right now), reach out to your teachers, family members via phone/virtually, peers, and SMA staff to ask for help.


Two helpful/inspiring quotes from a Novena to Our Blessed Mother..

  1. “When pain and sorrow are your part, The Father calls: Come to my Heart”

  2. “In pain and woe to Mary go, Tell her your grief - she’ll bring relief!”


I end with words from our risen Lord (Alleluia!):  Matthew 11:28-30Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Continued blessings,

Mrs. Cullen :-)







Hello SMA students and families (#5 and #7 combined)!

It is amazing that we are in week 7 already of this very strange time!  I continue to hope you all are well, taking good care of yourselves and each other, leaning on others (virtually) and turning to God when not feeling well emotionally or physically!

A few more ideas that I hope will help…

  1. Maybe have your child buddy up with another student in their grade (or an older student/family member by phone/computer) to talk about the work, help each other complete assignments and motivate each other. Please ask me or the teacher to help with contact information if needed.  This has helped many students.

  2. A reminder to your child (and each of us) to do all we can through prayer and self-talk to constantly remain in the present moment when our worries try to overtake us. 

  3. A reminder to your child (and each of us) that we have the power born into us by God to change our feelings and thoughts.  If you are in a negative state, take a walk, talk to someone, say a prayer, sing a favorite worship song, dance, etc to feel better!

  4. Consider having your child show their younger sister or brother the work they are doing. Remind them their siblings will do this work some day and they are being a good role model for them.

  5. Have your children develop a schedule to their day that includes a morning routine, eating a healthy breakfast (or lunch depending on when they wake up), getting to work on Google Classroom, taking breaks for reward activities, etc.

Excellent resources:

  1. Social/emotional support when it is more of a crisis like situation...413-733-6661 or text 741741.

  2. Parental Stress Line for support directly to you...800-632-8188 or a support coach Sarah at sarahgetoff.com or call 413-586-3653

  3. Dial 211 for lots of different supports...legal, financial, unemployment questions, etc.  You will likely need to leave a message and have them call you back.  A return call sometimes takes a day.

  4. Trinity Debt Management - a Christian Support non-profit financial aid help - 1-800-750-9643

Help your child connect with their friends and family by talking on the phone or virtual time.  In the words of Maya Angelou:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Luke 5:16 NIV - “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.

Where there is paticencand humility, there is neither anger nor vexation.

Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice.

Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.”

  • St. Frances of Assissi

Many continued blessings,

Mrs. Cullen :-)






Hello SMA students and families! (message #4)

I have been in phone contact with some of you to provide any support you might need with technology, materials and/or social-emotional.  Many of you are sharing the reality of the difficulty motivating your child to complete work. Many of us adults feel the same. These are the best strategies I know of at this time to help…

  1. Have your child follow their morning routine as if they needed to head off to school (no matter what time of day they wake up).

  2. Have your child eat something especially something with protein (banana, eggs, peanut butter, cheese etc.)

  3. Have your child sit in a place as free as possible from distractions.  Best if they sit on a chair at a table similar to being in school.

  4. Have your child complete assignments as listed on Google Classroom in the order of their typical day in school. If it is the day they would have a Specials class, they can even complete their assignment for their class on that day.

  5. Remind your child to set a specific amount of time to work and then a specific amount of time to take a break.  Break time might include; exercising, stretching, a healthy snack, brief play time with a sibling, etc.

  6. Help your child connect with friends either virtually via zoom, what’s app, duo, facetime (applications/websites) or a voice to voice phone call.  Some families are arranging side by side get togethers while staying in their cars and keeping at a safe distance.

  7. Have your child buddy up with someone in their class to discuss assignments and share ideas.


Please let me know via email < a href="mailto:d.cullen@smaspringfield.org" style="text-decoration:none;">d.cullen@smaspringfield.org< /a> if you have any questions

A reminder of these words from St. Paul (who although wrote from prison, was filled with joy)  through the Holy Spirit...Philippians 4:6-7 “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Continued blessings,

Mrs. Cullen :-)







Hello SMA students and families!

This third message comes with hope that all of you (like myself) are finding a way to make time for prayer, devotions, school work, exercise, and connections with loved ones (driving over while staying in our car at a distance/virtual face to face conversations/voice conversations) to keep the stress of the world from sinking our spirit.  Limit news as there are many inaccuracies and a tendency for it to increase our anxiety.

Do all you can to stay in the present moment to remain in an emotional state of calm and balance (as God wishes for us).  Turn your attention to gratitudes (make a list) when your mind starts to wander toward worry and upset.

Please do not hesitate to reach out for support.  Here are excellent resources that I have found extremely useful…

This list of resources 1-5 to support emotional/social health - 6 and 7 for accurate covid19 updates/legal/medical/financial assistance...

  1. Crisis call services BHN(Hampden) 733-6661/CSO (Hampshire)586-5555

  2. United Way - Call to Talk “warm line” - 508-532-2255 - English only - may have a short wait time - call to discuss minor or major negative feelings (stress, anger, overwhelm, sadness).  Someone is available 24/7. 

  3. Text 741741 “warm line” - type what your question is - you will get a general response at first then a specific helpful person to communicate with you.  You can text if you feel minor or major negative feelings (stress, anger, overwhelm, sadness). Someone is available 24/7. 

  4. Parental Stress Line 800-632-8188 - translation services available for ANY language - someone is available to talk 24/7. 

  5. Free parenting support by therapist and workshop presenter Sarah Getoff, 413-586-3653 or sarahgetoff.com

  6. Call 211 for COVID19 info, financial support, unemployment assistance, etc.  - English, Spanish or translation services for other languages available - you will talk to someone right away or leave a message for a call back - someone is available 24/7

  7. Trinity Debt Management - a Christian based financial support non-profit - 1-800-750-9643

I hope this information is helpful to you as it has been for me and many who use it.  

I am sending prayers to you all for God's grace to rain down!  Please email me at d.cullen@smaspringfield.org any time. I am available to email back or call you if you prefer.

We continue to pray for an end to this situation. In the meantime, let us remember the words of St. Vincent de Paul and those of our Lord…

  1. “We should take as a maxim never to be surprised at current difficulties, nor more than at a passing breeze, because with a little patience, we shall see them disappear.  Time changes everything.”

  2. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”(Psalm 46:1-3)

Blessings,

Mrs. Cullen :-)




Hello SMA students and families! (message 2)

My hope is that all of you continue to be in good health and doing the best you can to remain in an emotional state of calm and balance.  This has been difficult for many (including myself). Here are some of the professionally recommended strategies I use...

  1. I put effort into going to bed and getting up the same time each day as if headed to work.  I complete my typical daily routine of bathing, prayer and breakfast.  

  2. I have a rough schedule written for my days and other lists including; many ideas of things to do, things I am grateful for, and a list of things that help me when I feel sad or stressed (including bible verses). 

  3. I make a daily list which I cross off as I complete things (or move it to the next day if I do not).  As God tells us in Psalms 94:19: “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”  Best to write ideas down so they are not swirling in our minds so much.

  4. I limit daily news to one website (mass.gov) for updates of world events.  I put most energy into positive family togetherness, prayer, devotionals, and phone calls or facetime to family/friends.

  5. I set specific times to work and support my niece, nephew or son’s school work as needed. (I recognize this is more difficult for you all still working outside the home - my hope is you can reach out to extended family, neighbors, or friends for support by phone).

  6. I take walks, exercise to videos or simply march/stretch in place watching tv.  

I hope these ideas are helpful to you as they have been to me and many who use them.  

As we continue our lenten journey, I wish to share this quote by Mother Teresa

“Jesus spent 40 days in prayer before beginning his public life.  He often retired alone and spent the night in silence and prayer…

The fruit of silence is prayer.

The fruit of prayer is faith.

The fruit of faith is love.

The fruit of love is service.

The fruit of service is peace.”

Please email me anytime < a href="mailto:d.cullen@smaspringfield.org" style="text-decoration:none;">d.cullen@smaspringfield.org< /a>.

God’s many blessings to you all,

Mrs. Cullen :-)




Hello SMA students and families! (message 1)

My hope is that all of you (like myself) are finding a way to make a daily schedule which includes school work, board games, puzzles, arts/crafts, outdoor activities, looking at old photos/home movies, healthy eating/snacking, physical activity, reading and most important of all - prayer time. 

Many of you like me are likely experiencing extra feelings of stress.  The best recommendations to improve and maintain emotional health are...

  1. Pray/read devotionals

  2. Exercise (indoor videos or outdoor activities)

  3. Phone or video chat directly with loved ones (rather than texting/messaging) - try to keep conversations mostly about past memories and current ideas for staying healthy. 

  4. Limit screen time especially news about COVID19.  Use screen time to connect with others in a positive way and/or to bring you closer to God.

  5. Do all you can to stay in the present moment, when your mind wanders off, pull it back and remind yourself of all the positives.

  6. Make a gratitude and an activity ideas list that you can look at whenever needed.

I hope these are helpful to you just as they have been to me.  I am sending prayers to you all for God's grace to rain down! Please email me at d.cullen@smaspringfield.org any time.  I am available to email back or call you if you prefer.

Best always,

Mrs. Cullen :-)




Hello!  I am thrilled to have joined the SMA community for many reasons!  One specific reason is that I get to live my newly confirmed (April 2017) Catholic life at work and personally. Another reason is that I get to work with students in preK through 8th.  Most of my career has been working with students in 7th-12th grade.  I have been a School Counselor for over 20 years.  It has been a privilege and blessing to support students through adversity and advancement.  I will be available for individual meetings, run classroom lessons, be present throughout the school and hold lunch bunches for students in grades 3-7.  I am here to nurture, encourage, help and guide!

God's many blessings to all!

Contact information:


 I can be reached via email at d.cullen@smaspringfield.org to email back or have you ask me to contact you by phone during COVID19