Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Check out the experts quoted in this NYT article
 All are past GPS presenters!! 

White House Memo


As president, Barack Obama must contend with challenges of global importance. As a father, he potentially faces a home test: A two-week family vacation with teenage daughters.

Monday, December 29, 2014

National Drug Facts Week

GPS is a co-sponsor of Robert Crown Center's (RCC) Community Open House for National Drug Facts Week Celebration, Saturday January 31, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The event will be a great opportunity for you, your child, your students, your business and your community to build awareness of substance abuse risks and the disease of addiction.

RCC will be hosting:
  •  In My Shoes, an art installation by teens in recovery at Rosecrance.In My Shoes will be joined by area middle school artists who add their own shoe stories to the exhibit. For background on the traveling exhibit In My Shoes please click here.
  •  Hidden in Plain Sight, a mock teenage bedroom by LEAD that contains over 100 items that may indicate a child at risk. For more information about LEAD, please click here.
  • Free mini prevention presentations from professional health educators, combating addiction to tobacco, alcohol, prescription pain pills, and heroin.
  • Health Risks for Athletes: The 3-Point Advantage for Athletes room, sponsored by the American Medical Association. Injury and pain management are a reality in athletics. Learn the scientific facts and risks associated with the use of prescription pain pills.
  • Video screening room to feature cutting edge documentaries for and by teens about substance abuse prevention.
For more information about this event, please call 630-325-1900 or visit robertcrown.org. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Notes from Sian Beilock, GPS December 4 2014 Event


            We have all done this. Practiced and prepared for the big exam, speech, presentation or performance. But in the moment we forget, flounder and fail. Why? Sian Beilock, Ph. D. can tell us.

            An Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago, Beilock (http://sianbeilock.com/)  is an expert on performance and brain science and the author of a new book,  Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting it Right When You Have To. December 4th she gave her insights and tips at the Glenbard Parent Series at Glenbard South. 

            Research has indicated that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at an activity. Beilock explains that “deliberate practice” or practicing something correctly is most important, as is “varied” practice which means people should try different activities instead of just focusing on one.

            Why do people “choke” under pressure? Beilock calls it “paralysis analysis.” A malfunction occurs in the pre-frontal cortex, the large area of the brain that governs thoughts and emotions. Stress causes worry, which causes people to start thinking too much about performance details. Too much analysis of the details causes “brain paralysis” and results in “messing up.” Actually, it is stress that causes the pre-frontal cortex to fail to connect well with the rest of the brain’s functions.

            To get the connections back, Beilock recommends:  1) taking a break from the activity, even for a few minutes; 2) talking the problem over with someone; 3) getting some rest; or 4) take a walk in nature. Even looking at pictures of nature can help.

            What can we do about negativity?  If you haven’t done well at an activity, Beilock suggests that you think about how you can do things differently next time. People also need to think about why they are going to succeed. When people think of themselves in negative terms they will do worse on a task. Mindset matters.

            Other strategies Beilock offered to avoid “choking” included: 1) closing the time gap between training and competition; 2) “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Believe that you are capable and make sure your body posture is reflective of that attitude; and 3) journaling before the big task helps to minimize anxiety.

            All in all, success is more than simply what you know. Attitudes, motivation and anxiety all affect performance.

Suzanne Burdett is a freelance writer and a Glenbard parent.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why do some children succeed while others fail?
Important New GPS Program in the New Year
Mark your calendars NOW!

January 21 might seem words away today but we all know it will be here in no time. Please place the date on your calendars and websites-as all are welcome to this free and important program which will be of interest to all.  And warm wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.  

The Glenbard Parent Series : (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families presents "How Children Succeed! Beyond Smart -- How Grit, Curiosity, and Character Help Kids Thrive" at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 21 at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center (MAC) 425 Fawell Blvd. Glen Ellyn.

Why do some children succeed while others fail?  Can character, rather than IQ,  be the secret to real and lasting success?

The story that is often told about childhood and success , stresses intelligence over all:  with the greatest success coming to those children who score the highest on tests -- from preschool admissions ‘exams’ to high school SATs. In this provocative program, New York Times best-selling author Paul Tough cogently argues that the qualities that matter most for life-long success in our children have much more to do with personality skills such as  curiosity, optimism, perseverance, and self-control.

Tough’s GPS workshop will introduce parents to a new generation of researchers and educators who are using science to uncover the mysteries that help to mold ‘character.’ Through their stories, Tough reveals how these newly discovered insights can be used to transform young peoples’ lives. By showing how nature and nurture are intertwined, Tough demonstrates the surprising ways in which parents do—and sometimes do not—prepare their children for successful adulthood,  providing a blueprint into how to improve the lives of all children.

Tough's book "How Children Succeed' has spent years on the best-seller lists. A contributing writer /editor to the New York Times Magazine, Paul Tough is also the author of  "Whatever it Takes", a compelling look at the groundbreaking work of the Harlem Children's Zone and its leader Geoffrey Canada, named Best Book-2008 by the Wall Street Journal.Tough has also contributed articles to magazines including This American Life and The New Yorker, where he has honed his focus upon education, poverty, parenting, and politics.

Don't miss this hopeful presentation which will change our understanding of the powerful role parents and other adults must play in nurturing character traits in our children -- traits that both foster resilience and help insure real, lasting life-success.  The public is invited to this free special event at a very special location.  Doors open at 6:30pm.

GPS is generously sponsored by the Cebrin Goodman Center, CASE (Cooperative Association for Special Education), he College of DuPage, the DuPage Medical Group, the Emmy Gaffey Foundation, and the Trust Company of Illinois.

For information on all GPS programming go to www.glenbardgps.org or contact Gilda Ross, Glenbard Student and Community Projects Coordinator, at 630-942-7668 and by email @ gilda_ross@glenbard.org.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Most Powerful Drunk Driving Ad EVER.

This very powerful and graphic drunk driving video can also be found on the Glenbard West Post Prom facebook page. It needs to be seen.

The Most Powerful Drunk Driving Ad EVER.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Madeline Levine, a frequent GPS presenter, 
is hosted in this important article.

 Head of School, The Thacher School

The Three Most Important Questions You Can Ask Your Teenager

Posted: Updated: 

Friday, November 28, 2014

GPS has hosted speakers from the Family Instititute in the past.  Here they share tips for a true apology useful for couples AND teens!




A True Apology

Who among us doesn't sometimes say the wrong thing or act in a way that triggers -- even accidentally -- a spouse's hurt feelings? And who among us, after a misstep, doesn't want to be forgiven? We want our partner to move on without harboring ill will. Research has found that an authentic apology increases the likelihood of being forgiven, and reduces feelings of anger in the "injured" spouse. It seems that we're viewed as a more valuable partner through our acts of apology, and our injured spouse feels less risk of being hurt again if we apologize.1

 But a proper apology can be a tricky thing. Many of us say, "I'm sorry if you felt badly" or "I'm sorry if I upset you." Why the "if"? The "if" conveys that we're not sure we believe that our partner's feelings are really hurt. Or the "if" conveys that we're not sure we did anything wrong. Apologies with an "if" usually leave an injured spouse feeling dissatisfied or disappointed.

 "I'm sorry that you feel this way" is another common expression that doesn't cut it as an authentic apology. In this wording, too, there's no acknowledgement that we did anything wrong, which is precisely what an injured spouse wants to hear.

 A true apology begins with three words: either "I'm sorry I ..." or "I apologize for ..." A true apology acknowledges that something I said,or something I did, was insensitive or unkind or triggered hurt, fear, embarrassment or humiliation. (The fact that the outcome -- our partner's distress -- may have been unintentional on our part doesn't preclude the need for an apology.) 

Here are some well-phrased apologies:
  • "I'm sorry I spoke in a hurtful way."
  • "I apologize for shouting and frightening you."
  • "I'm sorry I broke our agreement."
  • "I apologize for losing my patience."
  • "I'm sorry I rolled my eyes in the way you dislike."
Without the three words -- "I'm sorry I ..." or "I apologize for ..." -- an apology is unlikely to promote the kind of forgiveness that heals emotional wounds and helps partners move past those tough moments all couples encounter.

1McCullough, Michael E. et al. "Conciliatory gestures promote human forgiveness and reduce anger in humans." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Volume 111 Number 30, pages 11211-11216.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving is a time when many teens engage in risky behavior.  Learn what you can do....

Mothers Against Drunk Driving refers to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as "Black Wednesday" one of the biggest drinking nights of the year.  It may be a time when many teens engage in risky behavior as college age student reunite with friends in bars, house parties and restaurants. Learn what you can do, in the following post by LEAD in Lake Forest, which is collaborating with West Nation.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The APP Generation, a follow up...

Please read CyberSafety Consulting's latest blog entry regarding apps that kids can use to hide photos that they don't want parents to see, i.e. sexting.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Laurence Steinberg, PhD., November 4, 2014 GPS Event

            There are innumerable books written on the difficulties parents encounter when raising teens.  But try to find one book extolling the pleasures and virtues of the task. Laurence Steinberg Ph.D., a leading expert in adolescence and professor of psychology at Temple University, ought to know. He’s written seventeen books and hundreds of articles on teen development.

            Now in his new book Age of Opportunity – Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence Steinberg wants parents to see this time in their lives as an opportunity to embrace and enjoy the changes occurring with their children.

            In a two hour midafternoon presentation on November 4th at Glenbard South High School Steinberg offered educators and parents the benefit of his forty plus years of experience. He began with the sobering fact that there is a real disconnect between what science tells us of adolescence and how it is portrayed in our popular culture. The United States doesn’t “deal well with adolescence.” Steinberg explains, “American teens lead the world in obesity, binge drinking, illicit drug use and STDs.”

            Girls are developing into puberty by age twelve. A century ago they didn’t reach puberty until fourteen and one half. Boys are also maturing two full years earlier than a century ago. Several factors are at play, including increases in obesity and the use of chemicals in our environment. Even the increase in children’s exposure to light, which affects the levels of melatonin they produce, has had an impact.

            Conversely, it is taking longer for children to move from adolescence to adulthood. Why? Because teens are staying in school longer, are financially dependent on their parents longer, and they are taking longer to marry and have children of their own. As a result, adolescence for today’s children lasts about fifteen years, which is two times longer then it did when their parents were adolescents.

            What science has discovered about the adolescent brain can help parents to better understand the changes their teens are experiencing. Generally, during adolescence people have deeper and richer recollections than at any other time in their lives. They remember the books they read, the music they listened to, the movies they saw. This occurs because of the adolescent brain’s neuroplasticity.

            Steinberg explains that during adolescence the brain is still being “built.” It is transforming itself and is the last time when the brain will ever be that flexible. In adulthood the brain loses its elasticity. Steinberg uses the analogy of the difference between being able to remodel or redecorate a house.

            Different parts of the adolescent brain are more elastic at different times. The pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions like planning, self-regulation and decision-making, is the last to develop.

            Steinberg believes that self-control is most important to development. Adolescents who exhibit self-control are happier, succeed more often and have better relationships. This factor translates into how economists have determined the four basic rules for avoiding poverty.

1.      Graduate from high school.
2.      Don’t have a child before marriage.
3.      Don’t break the law.
4.      Don’t be idle.
In other words, self-control is the best protection against negative or risky behavior.

            Puberty has many affects on the brain. It makes the brain more “elastic” which aides in the acceptance of new information. Also, dopamine is released in greater quantities at this time intensifying emotions and pleasurable experiences. That is why teens become “sensation seeking.” They will seek an experience even if there is risk because the “reward center” in the brain is so activated but the frontal cortex is still not fully developed. As Steinberg puts it, “Adolescents engage in risky behavior, not because they are not informed but because they have no braking system.” To help parents cope with adolescent behavior Steinberg asserts that we need to “change the context in which adolescents live and not try to change adolescents.”

            As an example of what he means, Steinberg explains that teen smoking has declined, not because of adults teaching teens about the health risks but because the cost went up thus making it harder for teens to obtain cigarettes.

            Another example Steinberg uses is the Graduated Driver’s License program in the State of Illinois. Teen driving fatalities have fallen, not because we are teaching them better of the risks of driving but because we have changed the way they can obtain a driver’s license.

            Steinberg points out that, statistically, the most dangerous time of the day for teens is between the hours three p.m. to six p.m. when they are least likely to be monitored by an adult. During these hours teens are more likely to use illicit drugs, engage in sex or engage in delinquent behavior. One way to curb this behavior would be to offer after-school programs for teens so that they can be engaged in productive activities.
            Steinberg maintains that looking at brain science should help shape public policy. He believes that if we know adolescents can’t think like adults yet then we shouldn’t be charging them as adults when a crime is committed. If a teen remains in the juvenile justice system he or she has a better chance of getting the counseling needed to change behavior.

            We know that American teens do not perform scholastically as well as teens in other developed countries. This has been attributed to a lack of demand of high schools students. There is a lack of “rigor” in their coursework. Only one out of six students’ in high school reports taking a challenging class. Most report that school is too easy and boring. To help teens parents need to encourage them to take harder courses and to challenge themselves.

            For their frontal cortex to develop adolescents need to develop determination, perseverance, and grit. That can only happen when they are challenged and along the road experience failure and learn to stick with something.

            Steinberg explains that the adolescent brain remains elastic when it is introduced to “novelty.” He says, “In adulthood we trade a life from unpredictability to predictability. If a person in his or her twenties can stay in situations that lend to new experiences it will prolong the brain’s plasticity.”

            Above all, Steinberg wants us to stop thinking of adolescence as a problem and more of an opportunity. To do that he recommends the following:

1.      Spread the word that adolescence is a time of brain growth. Resources and funds should be used for adolescents as much as it is for preschoolers.
2.      We need to better educate parents on how to parent adolescents.
3.      Make school more challenging for all students.
4.      Realign laws so that they make sense when dealing with adolescents.
5.      Stop making adolescence a race to get to adulthood. Make this time more stimulating and challenging for teens.

            There are so many positive experiences to embrace during adolescence. Focusing on those can make the challenges seem less so.

By Suzanne Burdett
Glenbard parent and freelance writer

A Message from Christine Carter on Teen Gratitude

Gratitude Day will be celebrated again this year at all Glenbard Schools on Nov 19 after school in the school cafeterias .

An article by former GPS speaker Christine Carter (with reference to another GPS speaker Mike Riera) gives suggestions for parents to foster gratitude with their teens'.  Link below:

... from 

Monday, November 3, 2014

  TOMORROW: November 4GPS Event featuring Dr. Laurence Steinbergy, Ph.D.

Age of Opportunity: A Practical Workshop for Parents

Please join us on Tuesday, November 4, 2014,  for a GPS presentation by Dr. Laurence Steinberg, Age of Opportunity : A Practical Workshop for Parents, from noon  until 2:00 p.m. at GLENBARD SOUTH.

When parents are asked to name the most difficult periods in their child’s development, the teen years usually are at the top of the list. But with a better understanding of how and why your child is changing during the transition into and through adolescence, you can become a more effective parent, reduce the amount of conflict you and your teenager have, help your teenager develop in positive ways, and maintain your own equanimity. 

In this workshop, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on adolescence, will provide an overview of the major physical, intellectual, social, and emotional changes that take place as children move into and through adolescence. You will gain an understanding of how your teenager thinks, why his or her behavior is changing, how your relationship is being transformed, and how all of this is affecting parents’ own well-being.

Links for Dr. Laurence Steinberg:

NPR: Q&A: Plumbing The Mysteries Of The Teenage Brain 

Time Magazine: Injuries. Stress. Divided Attention. Are Coaches Damaging Our Kids?

Getting Smart:  Changes in the Student Brain: A Review of Age of Opportunity

Website:  Dr. Laurence Steinberg

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Homestretch
“A compelling take on a heartbreaking issue."
 Youth Homelessness in Chicago

Please come to a screening of one of this year’s MUST SEE FILMS.

The Homestretch follows the lives of three young people - two of whom are clients of  Chicago's Teen Living Program (TLP) - as they persevere in the of face extraordinary challenges and defy the odds to create hopeful futures for themselves.
Date:  Sunday November 16, 2014

Time:  4 – 6 PM   
            (Doors open at 3:30, and show will begin promptly at 4:00)

Location:   The Glen Art Theatre
                    540 Crescent Blvd.
                    Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

RSVP to Nicole at nmeunier@teenliving.org or 312-568-5700 ext. 226 

Please bring socks or snacks for TLP’s holiday drive!

 November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month!

THE HOMESTRETCH, a 90 minute documentary film is premiering at The Glen Art Theatre.   This documentary will help put faces on those trying to overcome youth homelessness in our area… so please take advantage of this documentary screening to learn more!

Trailer for this documentary can be found at:  http://vimeo.com/77430311

For more information on ending Youth Homelessness in Chicago please check out:  Teen Living Programs www.tlpchicago.org.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Community Event on Heroin Addiction

HGNA Presents 

Coach Joe Ehrmann

HGNA is hosting Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL player and author, this Sunday from 7-8 p.m. at Downers Grove North. The presentation will be a  very inspirational message for anyone who works with youth (especially coaches) – to ensure we are building people for the future and not just focusing on the win. 

As a part of its parenting series, HGNA is honored to host Coach Joe Ehrmann for this one-time event while he is in town working with the Chicago Bears!  Whether you are a coach, parent, teacher or director of a student activity, Coach Joe Ehrmann has an important message for you. 
A former NFL player, founder of Coach for America, and named by Parade Magazine as "The Most Important Coach in America," Coach Ehrmann travels the globe to share his inspirational message of instructing and mentoring with empathy and integrity -- and the very important role of coaches and influential adults in the lives of young people.
REGISTRATION NOTE: High school students are FREE.  Send an email to info@hgna.org with student's name to reserve a seat. Student ID required.

HGNA challenges the negative images and information bombarding girls today, while offering support 
and education to their parents.  For more information, please go to:  http://www.hgna.org/

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Former GPS speaker Dr. Christine Carter shares a Happiness Tip and reminds us to
"Find Something to Love About the Moment You Are In Right Now"


 When I drop my kids off at school in the morning, I ask them one question: "What are you going to 
do today?" They always answer, usually without rolling their eyes and sometimes with actual enthusiasm: "HAVE FUN!!" 

Having fun, to me, is the most important thing. Yes, I want them to learn and be respectful and kind and everything else, and no, I don't want them to have fun at the expense of other people or by breaking school rules -- obviously. But when it comes down to it, I know that if they are having fun, they will learn better, and make better friends, and in general, be a delight to their teachers. 

And there is always fun to be had, even in the more boring or trying aspects of school, or, as the case may be, work. Or life. Finding something to love in every situation isn't about complacency, it's about accepting the full truth of the present moment. It's about focusing our minds on the positive aspects of a situation, and then reaping the benefits of doing so. 

A friend recently faced a nerve-wracking medical procedure for a serious illness. She was terrified, and having a hard time finding something to love about the situation, which included the possibility that she might not recover. But here are some things we came up with:

She felt love and gratitude for the people supporting her -- her doctors and nurses, her husband, her friends.She felt hope and gratitude because there are treatments for her illness (and super thankful she has health insurance).She felt deep gratitude (again) just to be alive. She came to see her fear as a part of her profound will to live.Finding something to love even in very difficult situations involves acceptance of (and even surrender to) things that we didn't choose and perhaps didn't want. But instead of just pointing to the ways that a situation is hard or wrong or bad, or focusing on the things that we'd like to change, we can transform a situation by also acknowledging the positive aspects of a situation. The key: seeing that we would not get to experience these positive aspects, at least in the same way, without the difficult bits. 

Seeing this fuller picture -- accepting both the good and the bad in a situation -- is a solid tactic for feeling happier and more more fulfilled. The positive emotions that arise when we identify what we love are tremendously functional. Gratitude, love, hope, optimism, compassion, awe -- these emotions all make us healthier, happier, and more satisfied with our lives. 
Take action: Have fun today. If not that, find something to love about the situation you are in. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A summary of GPS event with Amanda Ripley on Tuesday, October 14, 2014. 

         How did the smartest kids in the world get that way? Amanda Ripley knows. This highly acclaimed investigative journalist spent a year following foreign exchange high school students in the United States and U.S. foreign exchange students in other counties.

         Ripley shared some of her revealing findings on October 14th at the Glenbard Parents Series held at Glenbard East High School to an audience comprised primarily of parents whose children aren’t even in high school yet. Glenbard Staff heard Ripley as their Institute Day keynote.

          Ripley explains that educators can no longer look at the last twenty years to predict education trends for the next twenty years because technology is changing too quickly. What can be predicted is that there will be a need for students to fill “non-routine” jobs like analysts. Students will need to be more motivated and have deeper critical thinking skills. Employees will need to continually prove their expertise in their professions.

          Using PISA results, a test given in seventy countries every three years that measures the knowledge and skills students currently have in reading, science and math, Ripley was able to compare Americans scores to those in several other developed countries. American scores were average in reading and science and below average in math. Canada, Finland, and New Zealand, to name just a few countries, all did better that the U.S.

        U.S. students in foreign high schools found the courses to be harder and foreign students in U.S. high schools found the courses to be easier.

        Ripley explains that in the U.S. we protect students from failing, but this is not true in other countries. “You cannot learn at a deeper or more aggressive pace unless you fail on a regular basis.” She further explains that students learn from “productive failure.”

         The biggest difference is that foreign schools employ much more “rigor” than U.S. schools. Ripley explains that there is no tracking in foreign schools. All students are held to the same standard. Also, teachers and administrators in other countries are trained much more extensively that in the U.S. Ripley explains,  “Getting into a teacher college in Finland is as hard as getting into MIT in the U.S.”
          What is very important are the signals we send as parents that education is a top priority. ~Read to them when they are young, talk to them about books, movies and the news of the day when they get older and let them see you read for pleasure. Kids notice what parents value and those lessons matter more than what parents say they value.

Suzanne Burdett is a freelance writer and Glenbard parent
Dr Christine Carter a former GPS speaker shares this tip- "DON'T take a picture"


Happiness Tip: Don't Take a Picture

This last weekend was my nephew's first birthday party, and because he is absolutely the most adorable  baby EVER and I love him so much, I'd planned on widely documenting the occasion, in HD video and still photography. You know, just so we'll never ever forget the adorableness of it all.

 I forgot my big camera, but that didn't really matter because every adult and teenager there was snapping away with their phone cameras like crazy paparazzi (myself included).

In the middle of all this, I remembered a study which showed that photographing objects in a museum impaired   person's ability to recall much about the object they photographed -- and also impaired their ability to remember that they'd seen the object at all. So I stopped madly photographing the big event and started trying to just be present.

 Then I remembered a follow-up study. The "photo-taking impairment effect," as researchers call it, didn't occur when people were asked to zoom in on a detail of the object they were photographing. And so I went back to photographing, this time zooming in on my nephew's messy face (did I mention that he is adorable?).

Here is what researchers think is happening: When we take a picture, we delegate memory-making to our camera, and our brain stops trying to make the memory itself. But when people photograph a specific part of an object, their memory is not impaired, presumably because their brains still need to make sense of the whole picture in order to photograph the detail.

Take Action: We tend to feel happiest when we give the people we love our full attention. It is hard to be fully present at the same time that we are photographing something. So whether we are after a happy moment or a happy memory, often the best thing we can do is just put our camera down.

Link to original post: