Dear Sprague Community, Well, it is the shortest day of the year and many of us still have lots to do! I am always a bit perplexed by the winter solstice. It signals the beginning of longer days, yet always seems to feel like just the beginning of the coldest, harshest weather of the year. As a summer person, I like to focus on the incremental steps that will bring me back to beach weather! It may not hurt this year that the forecast for this week is for temperatures in the 60’s! Whatever your preference and however you spend this winter break, I wish you warm thoughts and hope you will enjoy time with your wonderful children. Whether it is a holiday celebration with loved ones, a vacation, or just time at home relaxing, I am sure it will be a welcome break from the packed schedules most of us have. As 2015 comes to a close, I must share my gratitude with you all and acknowledge the strength of our warm and giving school community. I feel so fortunate to be a “Sprague-er” and hope your family does as well. Have a wonderful Winter Break and a very Happy New Year! We’ll see you all on January 4th! Dates to remember: Dec. 24-Jan. 3: Winter Break Jan. 4: Classes resume Jan. 8: Winter Concert featuring Grade 5 Band and Chorus—Parents invited Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Day—No school Jan. 22: Martin Luther King Day Concert featuring grades 4/5-Parents invited   From the Nurse: How To Get The Best Medical Advice Online Online medical resources are powerful tools. The most reliable and accurate web sites provide information and advice about disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, sometimes helping to improve someone’s quality of life dramatically. But how to tell which of the countless number of sites are accurate and reliable? As we know, not all web-based information is accurate. Online medical information can be highly variable and inaccurate, so we have to sort the reliable science from the junk. Consider sources carefully, particularly when they promote specific treatment options or a specific product. Be mindful that anyone can put up anything on a web site. (I could put up a page about quantum algorithms, about which I know absolutely nothing.) Internet resources help people become more active advocates for their own interests. Internet-savvy patients often find experts and treatments that change the course of their disease. Keep in mind that all new data should be reviewed with a medical professional. “Getting your source is only part of the equation. You should also check with your healthcare provider,” said Mary Cushman, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont Medical School. “I encourage my patients to share what they’re reading online with me. It’s not just about verifying the credibility of the source. It’s also an opportunity to provide context and follow-up… I also point them to sites I trust and approve of.” The National Library of Medicine has a checklist of questions to ask when browsing medical Web sites. Each question leads to clues about the quality of the information on the site. The answers are usually found on the home page and in an “About Us” area.                                                      First, examine the provider. You need to need to know your source. Who is in charge of the Web site? Why are they providing the site? Can you contact them? There should be an “About Us” tag that tells who maintains the site and why. If this section is missing, or if the site seems focused on selling something, look elsewhere.                                                         Who can you trust? The most reliable sources include accredited medical schools, university teaching hospitals and reputable nonprofit organizations such as the American Heart Association. These sites (which end in .edu and .org) provide health information and additional resources. Government sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services are also very reliable. (These sites end in .gov.) Then, look at the funding. Where does the money to support the site come from? Does the site have advertisements? Are they clearly labeled? Whose name is on it and who provides it? Some resources are sponsored or sold by private companies. Others are sold or provided free-of-charge by government offices, non-profit organizations, or educational institutions. One type of sponsorship is not necessarily better than another. But keep in mind that the sponsor of a resource may have an interest or agenda different from your own. While medicine is based on science, some health information on the web and provided through apps may be biased. Next, evaluate the quality. Where does the information on the site originate? How is content selected? Do experts review the information that goes on the site? Does the site avoid unbelievable or emotional claims? Is it up-to-date? Generally, the most credible research is done in large academic institutions or government centers such as the NIH or CDC. The highest-quality studies are published in peer-reviewed journals. These publications only accept articles that have been rigorously evaluated by medical experts. If it sounds too good to be true …be especially skeptical of news about miracle cures or unlikely treatment breakthroughs. Again, apply the “know your source” principle.               Lastly, focus on privacy. Does the site ask for your personal information? Do they tell how it will be used? Are you comfortable with how it will be used? A web site that is more likely to be a good reliable source will

  • Be run by experts
  • Have a clearly stated purpose
  • Label all advertising
  • Review the information before posting it
  • Explain the sources of data and research         
  • Be up-to-date
  • Not share personal information

“According to my best friend’s cousin’s boss…” blogs and chat rooms are a great way to connect with others who share your health concerns, but remember that these people are not experts and anyone can say just about anything on the internet. The National Library of Medicine has an excellent 16-minute online tutorial that teaches consumers how to evaluate health information on the web. Find the tutorial at I hope this is helpful when you search the internet for information about health topics. I’ve used the following sources to obtain this information: American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, Forbes, NEJM Journal Watch, Archives of Disease in Childhood, The Smart Searcher: A Guide To Online Medical Advice, and Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial From the National Library of Medicine.   Sharon            

Wellesley Public Schools would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be removed from our list, please contact Wellesley Public Schools directly. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service, follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe If you need to update your email address or phone number, please contact the secretary at your child’s school. SchoolMessenger is a notification service used by the nation’s leading school systems to connect with parents, students and staff through voice, SMS text, email, and social media.

Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–December 22, 2015
Secured By miniOrange