Back-to-school is right around the corner, and if you have been spending your summer catching up on all of the things you put off last school year, it’s time for a break. Finish up what is necessary, and enjoy these last few weeks of “me-time” before school stars up again!
Here are some ways to maximize the rest of your summer vacation to help you return rested and some tips to get your mind rejuvenated going into those first few weeks of school:
1. These last few weeks: Relax…..or Play
- Book a last minute trip somewhere: buy a plane ticket for a weekend get away to a city you”ve never been to, road trip to a National Park, a beach, the mountains, or a big city – or if you don’t have time or the resources, plan a stay-cation and explore parts of your city (or the closest one) you have never seen before
- Treat yourself to a great meal, enjoy a day at the spa or try a new yoga or spin class
- Spend a day poolside with friends or by yourself with some sunscreen and good reading material
- Inspire yourself: go to your favorite museum, read about famous educators and other inspirational leaders or see a movie that moves you
- Spend time with your kids at amazement parks, camping, bike riding, doing crafts, or just eating ice cream
- Spend the day shopping, not for the school year, just for what makes you happy
- Volunteer for a charity or cause that makes you feel good
- Get takeout and spend the day binge watching movies
- Explore free concerts and festivals in your area
- Stay up late and sleep in as long as you want
2. Right Before School Starts: Reflect and Evaluate
Right before the school year it is important to get your mind ready to go back-to-school. However, you don’t have to over-stress about getting yourself prepared. Take it day by day and follow these tips by Special Education Coach Elizabeth Stein from her article Three Things You Can Do This Summer to Be a Better Teacher in the Fall:
- Practice Mindfulness Everyday: be more aware and accepting of circumstances and surroundings happening around you in every day life to better deal with stress and control your emotions in the classroom.
- Read, Reflect and Plan: find a book that you actually enjoy, that can double for-pleasure and professional reading purposes, reflect on it’s content and try and create a list of ideas, that can elevate your instruction plans this next year.
- Connect, Collaborate, Listen and Share: Spend a few days researching new technology-based tools and then link up with other instructors over lunch before the new school year, and share ideas and techniques with them and discover what they have learned, instead of doing it all on your own.
3. Those First Few Weeks: Don’t Burn Yourself Out
And finally when the school year begins it is important to keep yourself in a positive head-space and spend equal time between do things for school and things that make you happy, to prevent getting burnt out. Wendi Pillars has written a piece for Edweek.org titled, Six Signs of – and Solutions for – Teacher Burnout. Burnout signs include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
Wendi says when you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is important to practice these lessons:
- Let go
- Find balance
- Be selfish sometimes
- Embrace gratitude
- Accept healing
Allow yourself to become stronger, more determined and focused by practicing Wendi’s steps to prevent burn out, in life and in the classroom. Remember these lessons in those first few weeks of school when it seems like you are constantly on the go and don’t have time for yourself anymore. Even though you are so used to doing things for others, it is okay to take time for yourself and do the things you love, as well as teaching.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.
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It’s summertime and temperatures are on the quickly rise. Extreme heat is more than an inconvenience though; it is a health hazard. It’s extremely important that we do all that we can to avoid overheating and that we all know the symptoms of heat related illnesses like:
These are muscular pain or spasms in the leg or abdomen – often a first sign of trouble. Getting a person to a cooler place and hydrating them with water or sports drinks usually alleviates them.
This is much more severe with symptoms of:
- Cool moist pale, ashen or flushed skin
Treatment includes moving to a cooler place with circulating air, remove or loosen clothing and apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Spraying a person with water helps as well as giving small amounts of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or sports drinks. If symptoms persist, call medical help immediately
This is a life threatening condition. Symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees); hot, red skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion and possible unconsciousness. Immediately:
- Call 911
- Move the person to a cooler place
- Cool them with water by immersing them or spraying them
- Cover them with ice packs or bags of ice
Children and Pets are at Risk
Don’t forget your precious cargo when the weather heats up. We think that it will never happen to our families, unfortunately, each year an average of 37 children and many hundreds of pets die from being left in hot cars. The majority is the result of a parent or caregiver who forgot the child or pet was in the vehicle. Even on a 70 degree day, the inside temperature can climb to a dangerous 110 degrees.
New technology and apps are being developed to warn parents of a child left in a car or truck, and the 2017 GMC Acadia will be the first vehicle with a built in sensor that alerts drivers to check the back seat for children or pets left in the car. Until these are tested and more readily available, safety groups have mounted campaigns to prevent child heat stroke danger with these warning tips:
- Never leave a child or pet in an unattended vehicle
- Keep vehicles locked so children can’t climb in
- Always check the back seat before leaving the vehicle
- Place a stuffed toy in the car seat when it’s unoccupied and move it to the front seat as a visible reminder when you put a child in the seat
- Put a purse, brief case or other important items in the back seat with your infant or young child
- Alert childcare facilities to notify you if your child fails to show up
- Call 911 if you see a child alone in a vehicle and take action if you see they are in distress or unresponsive (break a window and remove them to a cool place and wait for emergency responders)
When extremely hot weather hits, these are things you can do to alleviate the danger:
- Drink plenty of water and rehydrating sports drinks
- Avoid strenuous work during the heat of the day
- Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light colored clothing
- Stay indoors as much as possible
- Never leave children or pets in a vehicle
- Go to a basement or lowest floor of a house or building if there is no air conditioning
- Consider spending the warmest part of the day in cool public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, malls and other community facilities
- Spend time at a community pool or water park
- Check on family, friends and neighbors (especially the very young or old) who do not have air conditioning
Ready.gov has an extensive list of recommendations to help keep your home cool when the temperature rises:
- Install window air conditioners snugly and insulate them
- Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation
- Install temporary window reflectors (such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard) to reflect heat back outside
- Cover windows that receive direct sunlight with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers
- Keep storm windows up
Your car takes a beating in extreme heat. It’s a good reminder to:
- Test your battery
- Check your fluids – oil, coolant and wiper fluid
- Get your air conditioning serviced
- Inspect all hoses and belts for cracks or tears
- Carry extra water or coolant
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.
You always amaze us. From great achievements, awards, and celebrations, you impress us with all of your many accomplishments. We’ve been lucky to be there with you for many of them.
California Casualty contingent and California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, celebrating Distinguished Schools with Mickey and Minnie Mouse
On the education side, California Casualty is proud to sponsor the California Distinguished Schools Awards and Gala. It was a thrilling night at Disneyland in April, as we honored the 162 public middle and high schools and 18 districts that were named 2019 Distinguished Schools and Exemplary Districts.
California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, thanked California Casualty for its help. “We couldn’t provide this platform of acknowledgement without our partnership with California Casualty, a long-time sponsor of our California School Recognition Program,” he said.
Nina Ericksen presenting the Distinguished School banner to Medea Creek Middle School
Our CEO, Beau Brown, expressed how fortunate we were to be a part of the special event. “We are elated to join the Department of Education, California Teachers Association and the Association of California School Administrators in congratulating all of the schools and districts being honored, especially the dedicated staff who worked so hard for this designation. Their dedication and innovative leadership has helped California continue to be one of the top states preparing students for graduation, college and beyond.”
The entire list of 2019 California Distinguished Schools can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/sr/cs/yr19distschools.asp.
Meadville High Athletics Grant presentation
Athletics Grant presentation at Lewis
Also in April, we announced the 64 public middle schools and high schools in 32 states that were recipients of the 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants. A total of $67,149 was awarded this year to help schools affected by tight budgets purchase equipment, improve safety or provide new uniforms. A couple examples included Lewis Middle School in CA, where the grant will help provide uniforms that will be shared by the basketball, cross country and Special Olympics teams, and Meadville Area High School in PA, where the baseball team will buy safety equipment and update the scoreboard.
The entire list of 2019 Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grants awardees can be found on the California Casualty newsroom page, www.calcas.com/-/64-schools-cross-the-finish-line-with-a-2019-athletics-grant-from-california-casualty.
Caden receiving his Create Real Impact award
California Casualty is also a proud supporter of the Create Real Impact Contest, which awards students ages 14-22 for their creative works to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Educational Grants totaling $12,000 were awarded in the 2019 Spring contest, including Caden Turner’s $1,500 grand prize for his video, “Listen Up.” The Missouri teen was honored during a district school board meeting in April.
Other grand prize recipients were:
- Ashlee Walkowiak, WI, in the writing category for her work titled, “Be Different”
- Everen Graves, CA, in the music category for the song “So Much to Live For”
- Lindsey Sanchez, GA, in the art category for the poster “Camera Filters”
Information about the Create Real Impact Contest and the Spring 2019 winners can be found at www.createrealimpact.com.
Karen and Field Marketing Manager DeeDee Tempeleton
And because nurses give so much, California Casualty gives back with the $1,000 Nurse’s Night Out award. Medford, Oregon ICU nurse Karen Dwyer was the most recent winner. At the check presentation in May, Karen said she will use the funds to buy a new bicycle for an upcoming cross country bike trip. “It makes me feel good to receive this honor, and it’s a wonderful way to show appreciation for the caring we give to people – especially as we start Nurses Week,” she said.
Oregon & Ohio nurses can apply for the next Nurse’s Night Out at www.nursesnight.com.
Tanya and NVFC’s Bob Timko with Jr. Firefighter recipient Robert Dowd
California Casualty has worked with firefighter organizations since 1974. We’ve provided support for various trainings, benefits and activities, as well as Firehouse Makeovers and Work Hard/Play Hard giveaways.
An important program that California Casualty sponsors is the National Volunteer Fire Council’s annual Junior Firefighter and Junior Firefighter Program of the Year Awards. The 2019 recipients are Robert Dowd and the Westport, Massachusetts Fire Department’s Explorer Post #744. California Casualty’s Account Relations Manager, Tanya Rigsby, helped present Robert’s award at the NVFC awards gala at the end of April. Robert remarked that it was nice to be recognized for the hard work he’s put into the fire service, and how important it is that California Casualty helps in the effort to develop future fire professionals. “The support that I have received from California Casualty has been unparalleled, and it has pushed me harder to be my best and helped me focus on reaching future goals that will put me at an advantage in life,” he said.
We also ask a lot from our law enforcement officers, with all too many losing their lives as they do their jobs. It is important that we remember and honor those who give the ultimate sacrifice.
National Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony
California Casualty was proud, once again, to attend the National Law Enforcement Memorial and help sponsor the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS awards.
Vice President of Partner Relations, Roxanne Dean, and Alina Fayerman, Account Relations Manager, represented the company as family, friends and the public honored 371 fallen officers from 2018 at the nation’s capital.
Roxanne and Alina were also present as the TOP COP Awards were presented to law enforcement officers from 10 federal, state, county, tribal and local agencies from across the country, for actions from the previous year that went above and beyond the call of duty.
California Casualty salutes the law enforcement officers for all the work they do to make a difference for their communities.
You all do extraordinary things, and California Casualty continues to thank you for your hard work. Educators have until June 30 to apply for a Music and Arts Grant at www.calcasmusicartsgrant.com, and until July 12 for a $7,500 School Lounge Makeover at www.NewSchoolLounge.com. First responders can enter to win a $7,500 Garage Makeover from California Casualty at www.Contest4Heroes.com. Pass the information on to your colleagues too. The entry deadline is October.
Learn more about the many resources and ways we honor the professions we serve at our blog, https://mycalcas.com.
Having a new driver in the family can be an exciting yet terrifying time. It means a newfound freedom for your teen, but lots of parental worrying about distractions, their inexperience, and the aggressive drivers they might encounter. These safety tips can help ease your worry and make sure they’re ready to get behind the wheel and take to the roads.
- Enroll Them In Driver Education
A dilemma for many parents is deciding whether to teach their child to drive, or leave it up to an expert. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends enrolling new drivers in a driver education program to help develop life-long safe driving habits. Each state has a list of approved driver education programs, often found on your state’s department of motor vehicles website. A resource for all states can be found at www.dmv.org/drivers-ed.php.
To ensure young drivers have the training and experience they need, safety groups are pushing for a national, mandatory graduated driver licensing system (GDL), which has proven to save lives.
- Research Which Vehicles Are Safer for Them
When shopping for a vehicle for younger drivers, The National Highway Safety Institute recommends:
- Looking for bigger, heavier vehicles that offer more protection (no mini or small cars were on the list)
- Avoiding vehicles with high horsepower
- Considering vehicles with an electronic stability control system to maintain traction and control on curves and slippery roads
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does extensive crash tests on cars and trucks to rate them for safety. Realizing that many parents opt for a used vehicle for new teen drivers, they created a list of those that meet important safety criteria, with prices ranging from $2,000 to nearly $20,000. They found 53 “Best Choices” under $20,000, and 62 “Good Choices” that start at under $10,000.
Some of the “Best Choice” vehicles $20,000 or less include:
- 2007 and newer Volvo S80 – large cars ($4,000)
- 2013 and newer (built after October 2012) Volkswagen Passat – midsized cars ($6,600)
- 2014 and newer (built after October 2013) Mazda CX-5 – small SUVs ($10,700)
These are some of the recommendations for “Good Choices” priced at $10,000 or less:
- 2010-2016 Buick LaCrosse – large cars ($6,200)
- 2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon – midsized cars ($3,800)
- 2007-2011 Honda Element – small SUVs ($4,400)
Most of these vehicles now include safety technology – such as collision avoidance systems and full airbag protection for drivers and passengers. See the complete list at https://www.iihs.org/ratings/safe-vehicles-for-teens.
- Observe Their Driving Habits
Before you let your new driver start on the road to independence, check that he or she knows the vehicle and understands safe operating procedures, such as:
- Adjusting the seat and mirrors before leaving the driveway
- Putting on seat belts and ensuring that all passengers are buckled in
- Using turn signals
- Looking in all directions before pulling into traffic (even at green lights)
- Accelerating and braking smoothly
- Following at a safe distance
- Avoiding distractions
To help avoid confrontations with irate drivers, parents can put a “New Driver” sticker on the car, truck or SUV that the inexperienced driver will be using.
- Reinforce the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted and inattentive driving are one of the leading causes of crashes for all drivers, but especially for teens. The crash rate for newly licensed teens was almost double that of teen drivers with a few years of experience, according to the NHTSA.
Here are some strategies to help prevent inattentive driving:
- Pledge, along with your teenage driver, to avoid texting or using social media behind the wheel
- Use apps that block incoming calls and texts, and send alerts when the app is turned off
- Teach children to speak out when they are with a driver who’s distracted
- Request that they not speed, goof off, or drive impaired (or get into a car with someone who is upset or impaired)
- Help your teen map out routes and create music lists before heading out
Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit founded through a partnership between California Association of Highway Patrolmen, California Casualty and California Teachers Association, offers free, creative ways for parents and teens to educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted and careless driving. Visit www.impactteendrivers.org to learn more.
- Fully Insure Your Teen Drivers
While higher auto insurance premiums are a hard reality for parents, you don’t want to skimp on your coverage. Did you know that California Casualty has really good rates for teen drivers?
Lack of experience behind the wheel makes them more likely to be involved in a collision, even a minor one. Increasing your liability limits, and adding full coverage, ensures that your insurance is enough to cover your assets. (Now is also a great time to learn more about an Umbrella Policy if you don’t already have one.)
Here are some ways to help manage the insurance costs for teen drivers:
- Take advantage of good student discounts
- Purchase cars that have modern safety features and a good safety rating
- Consider a monitoring system that tracks your young driver’s habits
- Enroll them in a defensive driving course
- Cut driving miles by carpooling and using mass transit
- Let your insurer know if the driver is away at college
Hopefully, your teen driver will gain experience, and you’ll feel more confident each time they get behind the wheel, knowing they are in the safest vehicle, armed with the best advice, and are paying attention to the road and other drivers.
Take a moment and contact one of our Customer Service representatives to get the protection your teen driver needs by calling 1.800.800.9410, option 3, or by visiting www.calcas.com/customer-service.
When something happens to your vehicle, it’s an unexpected and unappreciated disruption to your life. We often take for granted the convenience our vehicle provides – until it is out of commission following an accident or other covered claim.
That’s why you need rental car reimbursement. Rental car reimbursement, also known as rental car coverage or transportation expense, is a wonderful feature of your auto insurance. When added to your policy that already has collision and comprehensive, it pays the cost of renting a vehicle until repairs from a covered accident or loss are completed on your ride.
Did you know?
- Insurance will only reimburse you for the daily rental rate. Other expenses, such as the cost of gas or security deposit for the car, are typically your responsibility.
- The rental car company can bill the insurer directly if you choose one that partners with your insurer.
- Lower rental rates are available to those involved in an accident, but you must let the rental agent know that you are renting due to an accident.
- There are typically two types of parameters for reimbursing your temporary rental: a daily rate and a per-claim limit.
- Choosing the right amount of rental reimbursement is important. Some insureds may need only the minimum coverage amount while others may need more.
If you have a large family that requires a larger SUV or van to commute to work, school and all of the extracurricular events your family participates in, then you should consider a higher amount of rental car reimbursement. Also, take into account where you live. What are the going rates for a rental vehicle that would fit your needs should your personal vehicle be out of commission for a number of days? Be sure you have the limits that make sense for your needs.
An accident is disruptive enough; having the right rental reimbursement coverage will save you time, money and headaches while you’re getting your vehicle back on the road.
A California Casualty advisor is ready to give you a policy review, make sure that you have comprehensive and collision coverage, and check the amount you have for rental car reimbursement. Give a call today at 1.800.800.9410 option 3, or visit www.calcas.com/customer-service.