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News Releases
An illustration of Estelle and her mother from
An illustration of Estelle and her mother from "When the City Went Quiet"
Daybreak principal pens children's book on coping with COVID (Photo) - 10/08/20

When schools closed their doors in March, Daybreak Primary School Assistant Principal Solina Journey was struck by the feeling from walking into such a large, empty building. Without children or staff filling the classrooms and hallways, it was an emotionally challenging experience—even for a veteran educator and leader who is used to tackling a variety of new challenges every day. 

Like so many other families, Journey felt the strain from many angles. As a working mother, she thought about the experiences of countless families who must be struggling after losing jobs, child care and other support systems. With her parents in their 70s, she wanted to be cautious about potentially exposing them to a deadly virus, so she and her family kept their distance. And as a school administrator, Journey’s thoughts kept returning to the challenges from a young child’s perspective. 

“I know how difficult it has been for kids—especially younger children—to make sense of everything that has been happening since spring,” Journey said. “Not being able to see close friends and family, not being able to participate in favorite activities, and hearing bad news every day about the pandemic and social unrest is a lot for little ones and young adults to comprehend.” 

A few weeks after Battle Ground Public Schools shut down by order of the governor (along with all the other school districts in the state), Journey felt a sudden surge of inspiration and started writing. The experience of putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard was therapeutic, and before she knew it, she had completed the story that would become her first published book.

“When the City Went Quiet” follows second grader Estelle, her single mother who is trying to balance parenting and working from home, and their emotional experiences with COVID-19. Told through the eyes of a young child experiencing changes caused by the coronavirus, the book explores how kids can cope and learn helpful ways to keep their community and loved ones safe and healthy.

“I had been talking to a lot of families who were struggling to make ends meet,” Journey said. “Lots of parents lost their jobs. Many others were trying to balance working from home while also caring for their children. And it’s even more difficult for single parents who are the sole providers for their families.”

Disruptions caused by COVID-19 are hard to understand and can be frightening. Familiar routines at home, at school, and in their communities have been interrupted, causing confusion and emotional distress. Many kids are upset, confused, and sometimes even angry. And they have a lot of questions. “When the City Went Quiet” is intended to help address those questions, and after the story is told, includes discussion questions, coping strategies, and suggested activities designed to help support parents and guardians. 

“When the City Went Quiet” was illustrated by Julie Dee. A single mother herself, Dee is a former preschool teacher and para-educator who is thrilled to combine her love of caring for children and her passion for art into an opportunity of illustrating her first children's book.

Copies of the “When the City Went Quiet” can be ordered at There is also a limited edition of the book available that can be personalized. 

Sample Emoji cards that will be distributed by the DREAM Team
Sample Emoji cards that will be distributed by the DREAM Team
Battle Ground students develop Emoji campaign to help manage emotions (Photo) - 10/06/20

Chief Umtuch Middle School's DREAM Team wants their peers to know that they are not alone in what they are feeling during the pandemic. To get the word out to students learning at home, the team has developed a social-emotional campaign featuring expressive and relatable emojis on a series of trading cards that will be distributed beginning this week. 

From happy and sad to "meh," each card features one emoji and a corresponding emotion with information on how to identify, process, and manage that feeling. The goal is to help provide support for the social-emotional needs of every student that the team can reach at home. 

“I’m excited to help my peers in whatever small way I can,” said team member and 8th grader Addisyn Heller. “If we were back in school learning in person and I saw a friend or fellow student in distress, I would want to try and help them get back to a positive place. Creating emoji cards and sharing positive, encouraging messages is the best way that we’re able to replicate the experience of being able to help our friends with difficult emotions.” 

The campaign will last several weeks, with a new card and emotion each week through winter break. The DREAM team has partnered with Battle Ground Public Schools’ Nutrition Services department to include the cards once per week in the grab and go lunches that are distributed on specific campuses each school day

Students can collect the cards not only for the valuable information and resources, but will also have the opportunity to exchange the cards for small trinkets or treats.

One of Battle Ground Public Schools' strategic goals is to educate students in social-emotional topics that help them learn resiliency, emotional-management, and other life skills.

“Everyone has emotions, and everyone experiences changes with these feelings,” said Blake Bowers, Chief Umtuch Middle School’s Health and Fitness teacher and the DREAM Team advisor. “Sometimes, strong feelings can be a distraction to your life and learning. We’re trying to reach students and teach them that what you do with your emotions can affect your entire day and your ability to learn.”

This is not the first time the DREAM Team has stepped up to provide peer support for issues facing teens and pre-teens. Chief Umtuch’s DREAM Team is the youth club of the Prevent Together Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, which focuses on reducing substance abuse in our community. The DREAM team won a pair of awards for work it did last school year to educate students on the risks of vaping. Through these projects, students on the team have been able to expand their own skills in marketing, public relations, business and communications.

As a precursor to the campaign, and inspired by Suicide Prevention month in September, the DREAM team distributed 800 cards in sack lunches last week to encourage students to "ACT" if they hear someone talking about hurting themselves or others. A.C.T. stands for Acknowledge, Care, Tell, and the cards instruct students to Acknowledge by listening to your friend; Care by letting your friend know you care; and Tell a trusted adult so they can help. 

“We want all of our students to know that your emotions matter, that you matter, and that you belong,” Bowers said.