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Community Conversation Series

Mahtomedi Public Schools Elementary Parent Panel on Distance Learning
Brought to you by the Mahtomedi Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and the Mahtomedi Zephyr Wellness Program
Monday, November 30, 2020
Panel discussion with Mahtomedi elementary school parents about distance learning. Families who have been distance learning during the fall of 2020 shared their experience as well as tips with other families. The panel also answered questions submitted before and during the event.

The Zephyr Wellness Program presents Parenting in a Pandemic Wellness Series with

Erin Walsh of the Spark & Stitch Institute

Parenting has never been easy. Parenting during COVID-19? Even harder. 

Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles
Monday, October 26, 2020
6-7:15 pm
Parents, caregivers, and educators welcome.
Continuing education credit available.
Parenting and working at home during COVID-19 is challenging and we can quickly get pulled into conflict and power struggles with our kids. During times of stress, it can be hard to know when to be flexible and when to hold the line. Learn more about why kids and teens need boundaries in uncertain times and how to be both flexible and firm when your kids need it most.


The Science of Motivation
Monday, October 5, 2020
7-8:15 pm
Parents, caregivers, and educators welcome.
Continuing education credit available.

You don’t have to go far on the Internet these days to find tips for how to “stay productive” during the pandemic and ideas for how to motivate kids despite changing routines and high uncertainty. The reality on the ground though is that productivity and high motivation become more elusive as the pandemic wears on. Understanding the science of motivation can help us keep our eyes on how to nurture it in our kids – not just for the sake of getting more done but for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.


About the Presenter
Erin is a parent, speaker, educator, and writer. She has worked with communities across the country who want to better understand child and adolescent development and cut through conflicting information about kids and technology. She is fiercely committed to bringing an equity lens and asset-based approach to our understanding of, and response to, youth and media. Her signature down-to-earth approach and sense of humor helps families and educators engage in complicated topics and leave feeling capable and motivated.

Erin has enjoyed bringing science and tips to families and educators alongside her father Dr. David Walsh for nearly 20 years. They started together at the National Institute on Media and the Family and then more recently founded Mind Positive Parenting before creating Spark & Stitch Institute™ in 2019. In addition to writing articles for several other organizations including Bolster Collaborative and Psychology Today, she co-authored the 10th Anniversary Edition of the national bestseller Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen.

April 7, 2020
Helping Kids and Families Thrive During Distance Learning

Click here to listen to the audio file of the Presentation.

Click here to apply for CEUs for this event.

On March 30, Mahtomedi Public Schools transformed the way teaching and learning looks in the school district and launched Distance Learning. Our students, teachers, and families are at home trying to learn and work simultaneously. It is a stressful and uncertain time, however, there are important things we can do to support both our kids and families as we transform our work in a digital context. Discover with author and speaker Dr. Devorah Heitner, the essential considerations for families to help kids thrive during this unprecedented digital time.

This session will give you the tools and strategies to support your kids and family to thrive during Distance Learning. Dr. Heitner will also answer questions from the audience. This session includes:

  • How to set up routines and learning spaces at home.
  • What should the “screen time” rules be for both recreational and learning technology use during this time?
  • How can adults model healthy habits and boundaries while working from home with our children?
  • How do adults keep up with the news without getting overwhelmed and at the same time be cautious with the news kids are consuming?
  • How can social media help our kids keep in touch with friends?
  • How can parents mentor kids on social media, texting, and gaming during this time?


About the Presenter

An expert on young people’s relationship with digital media and technology, Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives. Her mission is to cultivate a culture of empathy and social/emotional literacy. Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, TIME magazine and Education Week. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own digital native.

Canceled Nurturing Empathy and Kindness in Kids

Explore the value of empathy and kindness with educator and 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Katy Smith. Discover how nurturing these abilities and actions impact a child’s wellness, development, and personal excellence throughout their E-21 education and beyond. Katy makes use of current research and combines her educational experience with humor to keep audiences engaged.

Tuesday, March 31, 6:30-8:30 PM (canceled, will reschedule)
Wildwood Elementary School
Dinner and childcare provided
E-21 parents, caregivers, and educators welcome.
Continuing Education Credit available.

RSVP required: https://forms.gle/AEV98Q4ZyiAqDg3r6

About the Presenter: Katy Smith has spent a career engaging communities in transformative conversations. She is a keynote speaker, an educator, a trainer, and a valued resource for parents and educators. Katy is the 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, the first early childhood teacher in Minnesota, and the first parent educator nationally, to be honored with the award.


The Key Ingredient to Your Child’s Emotional Well-Being
January 14, 2020

At this event, Dr. Natale Garrity and Dr. Jessica Dresden from Embolden You (https://www.embolden-you.com/), a Mahtomedi-based clinic that specializes in providing individual therapy and psychological services, discussed with families and educators the key to supporting children’s emotional well-being.

This session will give you the tools and strategies to grow and support your child’s emotional well-being. This session included:

  • The key ingredient to help your child be successful
  • Specific and easy-to-use parenting strategies
  • Approaches to support and nurture your child’s emotional development
  • Strategies to help de-escalate intense emotions
  • Communication techniques to improve your relationship with your child

Resources from the Presentation:
Presentation Slides
Validating Phrases
Invalidating Phrases

November 4, 2019: The Impact of Vaping on Student Wellness
Resources from the event: Vaping Presentation, Article, "How Vaping Causes Serious Lung Disorders."
Handout: How to Talk to Your Kids About Vaping

This event explored the connection between engaging in at-risk behaviors and wellness. At the event, educators and families will learned about vaping and the impact on student wellness. Presenters reviewed common questions, what to do if you think your child is engaging in the behavior, and how to seek support.


  • Sharrilyn Helgertz, PhD, Senior Research Scientist Center for Health Statistics, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Cassandra C. Stepan, M.A., Local Policy Planner, Tobacco Prevention and Control, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Deputy Justin McDonough #178, Washington County Sheriff's Office, School Resource Officer / Mahtomedi High School

October 15, 2019: Mental Health Overview

Resources from the Event: Google Slides Presentation and Wellness Resources at Mahtomedi Public Schools

Close to 100 families and staff members from Mahtomedi Public Schools gathered on October 15 to discuss mental health. The conversation is part of the Zephyr Wellness series and is an opportunity for families and staff to earn, grow, and support each other on wellness issues. Presenters discussed the difference between age-appropriate expected behaviors and common behavioral signs that may benefit from professional mental health support. The presenters also gave an overview involving how to access mental health supports in Washington County and at Mahtomedi Public Schools. Members of the Mahtomedi High School Student Leadership Council assisted in the free childcare program so parents could attend the event.
Co-Located Mental Health Services

Lindsay Morgan is a mental health therapist from NorthHomes Children and Family Services and will be working within the Mahtomedi School District this year full-time.

Click here for a document regarding Children's Mental Health and steps to take if you feel you're child and family could benefit from Mental Health Services. If you have any questions regarding the service at Mahtomedi Public Schools or are interested in receiving services, please contact Ms. Morgan or your child's teacher.
Lindsay Morgan

September 10, 2019: Community Connection Night
The Community Connection Night is an opportunity to meet other families and find out about community groups, athletic and activity organizations, and other wellness-oriented groups in a fun, family-friendly way, at the start of the school year. Resources from the Event: Resource Fair Participant List and Wellness Resources at Mahtomedi Public Schools

Our Mission

The mission of the Mahtomedi School District, the unified community of courageous hearts and curious minds dedicated to inspiring personal excellence, is to ensure that each student is a bold agent of learning who successfully pursues their passions while advancing the greater good, through a vital system distinguished by:

  • environments that inspire curiosity
  • an inclusive learning community
  • an array of exceptional learning experiences
  • teaching and learning that imparts a global view
  • culture of empathy that empowers the whole person

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