Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cyclones at OKC Memorial Marathon 2018

Casady Environmental Club joins OKC Litter Blitz 2018

Casady UD Faculty at Street Clean-up, 8:30 am

Casady Environmental Club at Litter Blitz, Street Clean-Up, April 28,2018, 9:30 am

Environmental Club by Casady Adopt a Street Sign, established by Class of 2005

YAC's National Volunteer 2018 Action Project-Care Bags for YWCA

YAC's Action project for National Volunteer Week 2018 was making 51 care packages for the YWCA moms at their shelter.  While delivering the packages, Ms. Mary Cornelsen, Director of Outreach Education, and Volunteer services shared with us that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in October, the YWCA raises awareness of domestic violence.  Ms. Cornelsen,, 405-948-170 stated that the mothers will be very thankful because the items in the care packages are of great daily need.  Ms. Cornelson also stated that she would be happy to speak at UD chapel about the YWCA mission, vision, and volunteer opportunities  

After the meeting, Mrs. Clay brought to YAC's attention a Casady resource connected to the YWCA, Cyclone Susan Steward Russell  

Susan D. Russell-Stewart '66

Alumni Achievement 2017
Director of Services for Logan County, Family Builders
Oklahoma City, OK

Susan Russell-Stewart is on the staff of Family Builders, Oklahoma City, as director of services for Logan County, where she runs the batterers intervention and child abuse prevention programs. She also provides parenting courses at Palomar: Oklahoma City’s Family Justice Center.
Ms. Russell-Stewart works with several other community programs, several of which she co-founded or restarted, including the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, the Coordinated Community Response Team of Logan County, Palomar, and the Oklahoma Prevention Leadership Committee, which she chairs. Ms. Russell-Stewart served on the committees that established Leadership Midwest City and Leadership Oklahoma.

Friday, April 27, 2018

SEE Period: 7th Grade at Johnson Elementary

7th Grade Service Education Experience

Seventh grade went to Andrew Johnson Elementary to share their storybooks today; this was the culminating activity for SEE "Reading Buddies." 

We donated the stories to the AJE library. Casady students had the choice to write an ebook with audio or to write a hard copy. 

I hope you enjoy their creations.

Cherylynn O'Melia

2018 Spring Storybook Project
Ms. O’Melia’s 7th Grade English Classes
Click a book cover below to view these books and hear the audio in your web browser!

Access this page by visiting this short link:


Advisory Assignments:

O'Melia & Scott - Second Grade/Ms. Kongs A113
Titus - Kindergarten/Ms. Freeman A106

*Sappington - Pre-K/Ms. Ferguson B116 (This is a new assignment for this advisory)
Lester & Staats - First Grade/Ms. Ellis A108

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Spring Fling, April 26th at 5:30 pm

Spring Fling Visual and Performing Arts Event Featuring MD and UD

Thursday, April 26, the Casady Community will have the opportunity to enjoy performances and view student artwork at the Spring Fling Visual and Performing Arts Event featuring Middle and Upper Division students. 

The Spring Fling will begin at 5:30 p.m. with performances scheduled every 30 minutes until 7:00 p.m. in various venues within Bennett Athletic Center. 

Food trucks will be on campus, and families are welcome to bring blankets for picnics on the lawn near Jimmy's Concessions or dine inside at tables in the Bennett Athletic Center lobby.

All Casady families are invited to come and listen to all choirs, bands, orchestra, and scenes and monologues. The art show will be in the lobby. 

Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People

Follow these steps to feel more compassionate toward others and toward yourself.

Would you describe yourself as a compassionate person?
Even if you don’t necessarily see yourself that way, I bet you’re compassionate at least some of the time (e.g., when you’re well-rested and not in a hurry), or with certain people in your life (e.g., with your closest friends). Compassion can be thought of as a mental state or an orientation towards suffering (your own or others’) that includes four components:
  • Bringing attention or awareness to recognizing that there is suffering (cognitive)
  • Feeling emotionally moved by that suffering (affective)
  • Wishing there to be relief from that suffering (intentional)
  • A readiness to take action to relieve that suffering (motivational)
Contrary to what many may believe, compassion is considered to be like a muscle that, as any other, can be strengthened with relevant exercises—or can deteriorate and atrophy. In other words, your capacity for compassion can expand, if you choose.
You likely never learned in school that you can intentionally strengthen inner skills such as compassion. The good news is that there are specific habits that you can practice in order to begin honing your abilities to expand compassion for yourself and for others.

Habit 1: Try the research-tested compassion practices

Preliminary research from a variety of randomized controlled trials suggests that compassion can in fact be enhanced through systematic training programs. For example, the eight-week compassion cultivation training (CCT) course that was developed by Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D., and colleagues at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education suggests that adults can indeed improve compassion for themselves, and reduce fear of compassion for themselves and for others.
Even if you don’t or can’t take a research-validated training program, there are numerous ways to build your compassion muscle—many of which are described on Greater Good in Action (GGIA), the GGSC’s library of science-based practices. Some of these practices involve meditation, such as loving-kindness. Others are writing exercises, such as one that asks you to describe a time when you felt a strong bond with another person.
  • Feeling Connected

Feeling Connected

  • A writing exercise to foster connection and kindness
    Try It Now
Many of the practices in both GGIA and the structured training programs range from 10-30 minutes in length. As with most exercises, the more you do them, the more you will likely reap the benefits. However, something is better than nothing. For example, if your physical exercise goal is to take 10,000 steps a day and you only take 3,000, that’s still better for your health than taking none.
Meditation is similar. While the intention may be 20-30 minutes of daily compassion meditation, some practice is better than no practice—and you are maintaining your intention and routine, which will only increase the likelihood of your continuing this intention and routine the next day. Notice if this “all-or-nothing” mentality with your compassion practice is hindering you and see if you can test the “something is better than nothing” theory.

Habit 2: And try informal compassion practices, too

While there’s lots of research supporting those kinds of compassion-cultivating practices, there’s also a place for informal, moment-to-moment practices throughout the day.
For example, you could notice when compassion comes easily or spontaneously for you throughout the day (e.g., watching the evening news). You could notice when you resist acknowledging or being with suffering (your own or others) throughout the day (e.g., when passing someone on the street who is asking for money or an extended family member who is challenging). Throughout the day, you could notice when you judge or minimize suffering (e.g., saying that it doesn’t count or is insignificant compared to someone else or something else going on in the world). We often notice suffering (our own and that of others) but quickly dismiss it and thus do not allow ourselves to be emotionally touched or moved by the suffering (the second component of compassion). This kind of awareness of the presence, or absence, of compassion can provide some valuable information to you.
  • Letting Go of Anger through Compassion

Letting Go of Anger through Compassion

  • To foster resilience, think about a hurtful event in a different way
    Try It Now
So, the next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, instead of looking down at your phone or watching how quickly the surrounding lines are moving (I’m guilty of both), take a moment to consider the common humanity of the people who made your grocery trip possible—the people who grew the food, transported the food, and stocked the shelves, or even the cashier who is about to help you. Perhaps you could take a moment of appreciation for each of them.
If you choose, this could be an opportunity to acknowledge the interdependence that surrounds us. Our lives, even simple trips to the grocery store, are supported by countless others.

Habit 3: Set an intention

Renowned meditation teacher Jack Kornfield once wrote that setting one’s intention is like setting the compass for one’s heart. Our intention helps guide our efforts to be compassionate and helps remind us why we are choosing to set time aside for compassion-cultivating practices. When I teach compassion, I pose questions for my students, such as these:
  • What is bringing you to the practice today?
  • What do you want for yourself?
  • What do you want for your life?
  • What do you have to offer the world?
While these are indeed “big” questions, asking them allows us to ponder our intentions of why we are trying to strengthen our inner skill of compassion.
For a week, try setting an intention before you start your compassion meditation practice and notice whether this intention helps clarify your purpose. At times, this intention can come up again throughout the day as a means of renewing your commitment to practice compassion, even when you are living life “off the cushion.”

Habit 4: Collect your own data

Research is probabilistic. Just because something works for most people (or people in research studies) does not mean that it will work for you. As I always tell my students, in order to get the most convincing data, “Be your own laboratory.”
Run a short experiment (e.g., a couple weeks or a couple months) and collect your own data. Do you feel more compassionate (towards yourself, loved ones, strangers, difficult people) when utilizing formal (e.g., sitting meditation) and informal (e.g., silently reciting loving-kindness phrases to yourself while waiting in line at Trader Joe’s) compassion practices?
  • Loving-Kindness Meditation

Loving-Kindness Meditation

  • Strengthen feelings of kindness and connection toward others
    Try It Now
Students in my compassion training classes receive a workbook, which contains a daily practice log and space for comments. Since the practice is different every day, it’s important that we spend time, even if just a few minutes, reflecting on what the practice was like for us: what came up, where did our attention wander to during the practice, how did our intention guide our practice, and so on. Without reflection, these practices can become another thing on a lengthy daily “to-do” list. It is only with reflection that we can get a sense of whether these practices are actually benefitting us (immediately or in the longer-term).
Additionally, I invite students even when they do not practice to still log a “0” for practice time for the day and to also write down what they did instead of doing the practice (e.g., caught up on emails, slept in, went to the gym, watched TV, etc.). This allows us to continue the routine of logging and reflecting and also allows us to examine patterns to the days where we are not practicing—perhaps what we are choosing to do instead of meditating is a higher priority, or perhaps what we are doing instead is not actually adding value to our lives.
Running this experiment does not require a workbook, purchasing a fancy meditation cushion, or buying trendy new yoga clothes. These practices, which are thousands of years old, can be done right in the comfort of your own home, at the office, in your car, or really anywhere, just as you are. Afterward, reflection can take many forms—and you should adopt one that works for you.

Habit 5: Get support

In my experience as a meditation student and as a meditation teacher, the practices are initially helpful when done with the guidance of an instructor. The instructor can answer questions, help troubleshoot and problem-solve, and, most importantly, help you stick with and come back to your practice.
One of my favorite things about teaching compassion courses is the supportive environment that gets created within the group—it’s a unique opportunity to participate in community-based practice. I find it also helps renew one’s optimism as it reminds us that we are not alone in these practices. Many others are choosing to acknowledge suffering (their own and others’) and wish to see the relief of suffering. This notion can get lost at times when doing these practices in solitude.
  • Feeling Supported

Feeling Supported

  • Recalling how others have comforted us can make us more compassionate
    Try It Now
If you don’t have the time or money for a class, don’t despair. You might find support at a religious community or center in your area, if you have one. If you don’t, enlist a friend or relative to support your effort to make compassion more of a habit—someone who can encourage and remind you to stay on track and help you (non-judgmentally) troubleshoot the times when you just don’t feel very compassionate in the midst of suffering. 

Habit 6: Be open to possibilities—and compassionate toward yourself

There are lots of good reasons why sometimes we intend to do compassion meditation practices, and yet, for whatever reason, we drop the ball. Often, what people do when this happens is engage in “negative self-talk” by implicitly or explicitly saying things to themselves, such as “I never stick with anything”; “I’m a failure”; or “I can’t do this.” Interestingly, there’s no empirical evidence to suggest that beating ourselves up will actually help us change our behavior; in fact, some data suggests that this type of criticism can move us away from our goals rather than towards them.
Additionally, one of the interesting opportunities that arises when we do not do our compassion meditation practices is to see if, in that moment, we can practice compassion for ourselves. While a bit meta (compassion for missing the compassion practice), this is essentially one of the “tests” of our practice. When we’re tempted to be harsh, critical, and judgmental with ourselves, can we instead choose to have compassion: acknowledging our suffering, noting how this makes us human and that we are not alone, and trying to be gentle or kind with ourselves (or at least refrain from beating ourselves up—“if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”)?
  • Compassion Meditation

Compassion Meditation

  • Strengthen feelings of concern for the suffering of others
    Try It Now
Often the story that gets told about meditation is that it will be “relaxing,” “stress-relieving,” and “blissful.” While all of these experiences are possible, for many people the experience with meditation or compassion practices is the exact opposite of peaceful, relaxing, and positive. For some, depending on the practice, just focusing on one’s breath can bring about extreme anxiety or worry thoughts, bringing to mind a loved one can bring about grief and loss, imagining oneself as a young child can bring about sadness or pain, considering the suffering of all beings may bring about guilt or overwhelm.
It is important to notice whether we are bringing any expectations to the compassion practice. Often people will say that the compassion practices are not “working.” When we investigate what they mean by this, they are often referring to the experience of not feeling relaxed after the meditation. While relaxation and stress relief can be the goal of some meditations, in general this is not the case with compassion meditation. Compassion is ultimately about suffering, which can at times feel difficult to sit with.
Finally, people often bring the expectation that because a compassion practice generated a certain feeling or experience before (e.g., yesterday or last week), it “should” or will generate a similar feeling or experience today. As I often tell my students, reality is constantly changing (time is passing and the earth is rotating as you read this), and thus it is a bit of a fallacy to expect that we, and the practice, will be the same day in and day out. Because the practice is different every day, we have something “new” to reflect on after each practice.
It may simply be the case that the activities aren’t right for you. If loving-kindness doesn’t seem to be increasing your compassion, try something else, like writing about a time when you felt like someone showed compassion toward you, or a time when you felt spontaneous compassion for another. It is important to be open to another possibility: Perhaps compassion practices aren’t what you need right now. The good news is that there are many varieties of different contemplative practices available that can help you to become more present and non-judgmental.
Establishing new habits takes time. Be patient and keep trying. One day, you might find yourself more open to suffering—and more capable of addressing it—than you’ve ever been before.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

4th Grade Resilience Training Graduation Tea

Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. --Winston Churchill

How to Hardwire Resilience into the Brain

--by Rick Hanson, Forrest Hanson, syndicated from Greater Good, Apr 24, 2018
One winter, I went camping with my friend Bob in the backcountry near Sequoia National Park. After spending the day slogging uphill through deep snow, we were exhausted but needed to make camp.
As the temperature rapidly dropped, Bob began shivering uncontrollably. He had poured out so much energy without refueling himself that he was sliding into hypothermia, the first stage of freezing to death. We hurried to set up the tent, get into our sleeping bags, light the stove, drink hot water, and eat hot food—and soon Bob’s teeth stopped chattering.
Luckily, we had just enough resilience to turn this misadventure around. Mental resources like calm, grit, and courage kept us going when we were hit with freezing temperatures. And these are the same types of resources we all can use to help us cope with and push through obstacles in our own lives.
But how do we cultivate them? The key is knowing how to turn passing experiences into lasting inner resources built into our brains. I teach this skill—called positive neuroplasticity—in my new book, Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness (written with Forrest Hanson).
Though it’s not a quick fix, you can change your brain for the better by working it the same way you would work a muscle. As you become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges, you move toward greater well-being and away from stress, worry, frustration, and hurt.
12 resources for resilience
Every human being has three basic needs—safetysatisfaction, and connection—that are grounded in our ancient evolutionary history. While our circumstances have changed enormously over the last 200,000 years, our brains have remained largely the same. The neural machinery that enabled our ancestors to satisfy their need for safety by finding shelter, for satisfaction by getting food, and for connection by bonding with others is alive in our brains today.
A particular need is best met by inner strengths that are matched to it—and these mental resources are what make us resilient.
To meet our need for safety, we can draw on:
  • Compassion: Being sensitive to the burdens and suffering of others and ourselves, along with the desire to help with these if we can.
  • Grit: Being doggedly tough and resourceful.
  • Calm: Emotional balance and a sense of capability in the face of threats.
  • Courage: Protecting and standing up for ourselves, including with others.
To meet our need for satisfaction, we can draw on:
  • Mindfulness: Staying present in the moment as it is, rather than daydreaming, ruminating, or being distracted.
  • Gratitude: Appreciating and feeling good about what already exists.
  • Motivation: Pursuing opportunities in the face of challenges.
  • Aspiration: Reaching for and achieving results that are important to us.
To meet our need for connection, we can draw on:
  • Learning: Growing and developing, a process that allows us to cultivate all the other strengths.
  • Confidence: Feeling a sense of being cared about, worthy, and self-assured.
  • Intimacy: Being open to knowing and being known by others.
  • Generosity: Giving to others through altruism, compassion, and forgiveness.
To start cultivating more resilience, pick a challenge in your life, and then consider the needs at stake in it, in terms of safety, satisfaction, and connection. You may be dealing with an external challenge, such as a relationship conflict, a stressful job, or a health problem. Or you could be facing an internal challenge, such as harsh self-criticism or feeling unwanted. Sometimes there’s a one-two punch. For example, tension with someone might be stirring up self-criticism inside you.
As you consider a major challenge and the need(s) at the heart of it, see if any of the twelve resources stand out. Ask yourself:
  • What, if it were more present in my mind these days, would really help?
  • What inner strengths could help me stay peaceful, content, and loving when I’m dealing with this challenge?
  • If this challenge began in the past, what would have been really helpful to have experienced back then?
  • Deep down, what experience do I still very much long for?
The answers to these questions point to which resources you might need to get through your challenge. Next, follow my HEAL framework (Have a beneficial experience, Enrich it, Absorb it, Link it) to cultivate this resource as a durable strength hardwired into your own brain.
1. Have a beneficial experience
Nearly everyone has many enjoyable or useful experiences each day, most of them mild and brief. For example, it feels good to put on a sweater if you’re chilled or feel friendly toward someone who is kind to you. But do you take notice of these experiences and highlight them in your awareness, or just pass by them and move on to the next thing?
The brain is continually remodeling itself as you learn from your experiences. When you repeatedly stimulate a “circuit” in the brain, you strengthen it. The brain operates so rapidly—with neurons routinely firing 5-50 times a second—that you can grow resilience and well-being many times a day, taking a minute or less each time.
To have beneficial experiences in the first place, it helps to be alert to the good facts around you—for example, fortunate circumstances, the beauty of nature, tasks you are completing, people who care about you, or your own talents and skills. You can even find the good in hard times, such as seeing the kindness of others as you go through a loss.
Besides simply noticing useful or pleasurable thoughts, feelings, or sensations that are already present in your awareness, you could create beneficial experiences, such as by getting some exercise (to help build the resource of grit) or deliberately recognizing your own good heart (for confidence). Or you could make something good happen in a relationship, such as by listening carefully to someone (for intimacy).
Over time, you can learn to directly evoke a positive experience, such as relaxing at will, calling up a sense of determination, or letting go of resentment. Because of experience-dependent neuroplasticity, repeatedly having and internalizing a particular experience in the past makes it easier and easier to evoke it in the present. It’s like being able to push a button on your inner jukebox and quickly get the song of a useful experience playing in your mind, since you’ve recorded it again and again.
To grow the inner resources that produce resilient well-being, we must turn experiences of these resources into physical changes in the nervous system. Otherwise, by definition there is no healing, no growth, no development. Having an experience is only the first stage in the process of learning (including the emotional, social, and somatic learning I’m focused on here). The necessary second stage is to install that experience as a lasting change of neural structure or function. This is the stage that is routinely overlooked in psychotherapy, coaching, human resources trainings, and informal personal efforts at healing and growth. Therefore, this stage is where we have the greatest opportunity for steepening the learning curves of ourselves and others.
We can increase the installation of our beneficial experiences in two kinds of ways. First, we can enrich them, making them prominent and sustained in awareness. Second, we can absorb them by heightening the sensitivity of the nervous system. Here’s how.
2. Enrich it
There are five ways to enrich an experience:
  • Lengthen it. Stay with it for five, ten, or more seconds. The longer that neurons fire together, the more they tend to wire together. Protect the experience from distractions, focus on it, and come back to it if your mind wanders.
  • Intensify it. Open to it and let it be big in your mind. Turn up the volume by breathing more fully or getting a little excited.
  • Expand it. Notice other elements of the experience. For example, if you’re having a useful thought, look for related sensations or emotions.
  • Freshen it. The brain is a novelty detector, designed to learn from what’s new or unexpected. Look for what’s interesting or surprising about an experience. Imagine that you are having it for the very first time.
  • Value it. We learn from what is personally relevant. Be aware of why the experience is important to you, why it matters, and how it could help you.
Any one of these methods will increase the impact of an experience, and the more, the better. But you don’t have to use all of them every time. Often, you’ll simply stay with something for a breath or two while feeling it in your body, and then move on to the next experience.
3. Absorb it
You can increase the absorption of an experience in three ways:
  • Intend to receive it. Consciously choose to take in the experience.
  • Sense it sinking into you. You could imagine that the experience is like a warm, soothing balm or a jewel being placed in the treasure chest of your heart. Give over to it, allowing it to become a part of you.
  • Reward yourself. Tune into whatever is pleasurable, reassuring, helpful, or hopeful about the experience. Doing this will tend to increase the activity of two neurotransmitter systems—dopamine and norepinephrine—that will flag the experience as a “keeper” for long-term storage.
This is not about holding on to experiences. The stream of consciousness is constantly changing, so trying to cling to anything in it is both doomed and painful. But you cangently encourage whatever is beneficial to arise and stick around and sink in—even as you are letting go of it. Happiness is like a beautiful wild animal watching from the edge of a forest. If you try to grab it, it will run away. But if you sit by your campfire and add some sticks to it, happiness will come to you, and stay.
4. Link it
In Linking, you are simply conscious of both “negative” and “positive” material at the same time. For example, off to the side of awareness could be old feelings of being left out and unwanted (perhaps from a rocky childhood) while in the foreground of awareness are feelings of being liked and included by people at work. The brain naturally associates things together, so if you keep the positive material more prominent and intense in awareness, it will tend to soothe, ease, and even gradually replace the negative material.
It helps to use positive material that is matched in some way to the negative material. To identify the specific psychological resources that will be especially effective with particular issues, I use the framework of the three basic human needs.
For example, challenges to safety are often indicated by a sense of anxiety, anger, powerlessness, or trauma—and a sense of calm or grit can really help with these. Challenges to our need for satisfaction are frequently experienced as frustration, disappointment, drivenness, addiction, blahness, or boredom. Feeling thankful, awestruck, or already contented are well-matched to these issues. Challenges to connection can be experienced as loneliness, resentment, or inadequacy—and feeling either caring or cared about is a wonderful relief, since love is love whether it is flowing in or out. 
To link, you can start with something positive, such as the sense of a key resource. While having that experience, you can bring to mind some negative material for which it would be good medicine. Or, you can start with something that is uncomfortable, stressful, or harmful, such as a lot of anxiety before giving a presentation. After letting your feelings be as long as you like and then letting go of them, you find positive material to replace what you released, such as a sense of calm from knowing that people are actually interested in hearing what you have to say.
If you get pulled into the negative, drop it and focus only on the positive. And remember that this step is optional: If the challenge you’re facing is too powerful, you can grow mental resources for addressing it through the first three HEAL steps alone.
A core of happiness
Going on a dangerous hike, we know that we need to bring food and other supplies. The same is true when traveling the road of life. We need psychological supplies, such as courage and generosity, in our neural “backpack.”
To fill up your backpack, be mindful of which particular need—safety, satisfaction, or connection—is at stake in the challenges of your life. Deliberately call upon your inner strengths related to meeting that need. Then, as you experience mental resources, you can reinforce them in your nervous system.
As you grow these strengths and become more resilient, you will feel less anxiety and irritation, less disappointment and frustration, and less loneliness, hurt, and resentment. And when the waves of life come at you, you’ll meet them with more peace, contentment, and love in the core of your being.

This article originally appeared on