Families need guidance from schools on how to create effective learning environments at home. Share the following tips:

  • Create a flexible learning space. Your child may like to sit at the kitchen table to do math problems but prefer to sit on the couch to read. Giving kids a choice of where to complete work can result in greater learning.
  • Check in with your child throughout the day to find out how he’s feeling. Ask questions such as, “What emoji best represents your mood right now?” or “What color represents how you are feeling?”
  • Schedule frequent breaks. Students need breaks every 20-30 minutes to maintain focus and energy.
  • Incorporate exercise and play into the day. Physical activity has been shown to improve children’s memory, attention, mood and cognitive function. Unstructured play allows kids to practice social-emotional skills and creative problem-solving.

 

Five strategies for getting students back on track

When students, teachers and staff return to school buildings, educators will be faced with helping students get back on track. Chalkbeat.org has identified five research-based strategies that school leaders and policymakers might consider:

  1. Extend the school day or school year to make up for months of missed school.
  2. Provide extra tutoring during the school day for groups of students who are struggling.
  3. Loop elementary school teachers with the same group of students next year to provide a sense of familiarity for students when they return.
  4. Increase the number of mental health professionals available in schools, such as counselors, school psychologists, social workers and nurses.
  5. Integrate content regarding coronavirus into the curriculum to help students make sense of what is happening in the world.

 

Quote of the Day

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"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Helen Keller

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There are lots of things parents can do to limit their children’s stress and fear during these unsettling times. Share the following tips with families:

  • Limit your child’s access to the news.
  • Share positive information, such as the increasing numbers of people who are recovering from the virus and the acts of kindness being performed around the world.
  • Create routines. A daily routine for waking, eating, learning, playing and sleeping helps kids maintain a sense of order.
  • Find ways to exercise. Physical activity is a great stress reliever, and it is a great way to spend time together as a family.
  • Connect with friends and family. Encourage your child to reach out via phone or video chat. Write cards or letters.

 

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Five books for professional development

Reading is an effective way for educators and school leaders to gain knowledge and achieve professional growth. Here are five titles to explore:

  1. Phyllis Hunter, It's Not Complicated! What I Know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers
  2. Kat Howard, Stop Talking About Wellbeing
  3. Juliana Othman and Fatiha Senom, Professional Development through Mentoring: Novice ESL Teachers' Identity Formation and Professional Practice
  4. Pamela McLean, Self as Coach, Self as Leader: Developing the Best in You to Develop the Best in Others
  5. Lee Watanabe-Crockett, Future-Focused Learning: 10 Essential Shifts of Everyday Practice

did-you-know  Did You Know?

The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a collection of COVID-19 resources for schools and school personnel. Check it out: https://www.ed.gov/coronavirus.

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Talking to kids about COVID-19 is easier if you follow the tips below. Share these strategies with families and teachers:

  • Speak calmly. Your calmness will help children be calm.
  • Share the facts but leave out unnecessary details that may increase anxiety. Find reliable information about preventing COVID-19 at the Centers for Disease Control's website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
  • Validate feelings. Some children may be afraid or worried. Some may be disappointed about missing cancelled activities. Say that it is OK to feel that way.
  • Offer reassurance. Let kids know that you will cope with this together.
  • Empower kids. Help them feel a sense of control. Explain that by following instructions, like washing hands thoroughly, they can keep themselves and others safe.

 

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Five habits for success

Want to become a more effective leader? Here are five habits you can start practicing today:

  1. Get enough sleep. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Your body and mind need fuel to function properly.
  3. Replace social media with learning time. Listen to a podcast. Read a book.
  4. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow. Find mentors and learn from them.
  5. Make time for daily exercise. Talk a walk. Shoot some hoops with your kids.

did-you-know  Did You Know?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is full of reliable information, resources and updates on COVID-19. Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Source goes here

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While educators are focused on facilitating remote learning for students, don’t forget about parents! Empower them to support their students at home by sharing information in new ways, such as:

  • An audio recording that parents can listen to.
  • A video that parents can watch on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • A collection of articles that parents can download from your school’s website or social media site.

 

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Team up with parents to reduce recreational screen time

As more schools close and move to online learning, reducing screen time can become an even greater challenge for parents. Share information with families on the importance of reducing recreational screen time and encourage them to:

  • Set limits on recreational screen time.
  • Monitor children’s digital activity.
  • Remove televisions, computers and other digital devices from children’s rooms.
  • Establish screen-free times, such as during meals and family time.
  • Enforce a technology curfew. All screens should be turned off at least one hour before bedtime.

did-you-know  Did You Know?

According to a study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, children who spend fewer than two hours a day using digital devices in their free time perform better on cognitive tests that assess their thinking, language and memory.

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During times of crisis, it’s important to be aware of your school district’s policy regarding media inquiries. If your administration/staff are not authorized to respond to media inquiries, make sure they know to direct callers to your district’s official spokesperson.

If there is someone at your school who is authorized to talk to media, make sure that person has talking points that have been agreed upon by leadership before they speak publicly on behalf of the school. In addition, share these tips:

  • Stick to the facts. Don’t speculate. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it, offer to get back to the reporter—and then do so.
  • Stop talking when you have finished answering a question. Reporters often wait in silence for more information—don’t feel compelled to keep talking.
  • Realize that reporters are looking for a clear, quotable statement. If you are asked a question that is off the point, redirect the interview by answering the question you wish you had been asked. Say something like, “What’s important here is that ... ,” to get everyone back on track.

 

Defuse angry parents

Sometimes parents get angry—especially in times of crisis. It’s critical that school staff handle it effectively. Here are some tips for dealing with parents who are angry, frustrated or stressed out:

  • Listen. Parents need to be heard. Simply paying attention and restating what you hear can put parents at ease.
  • Empathize. Don’t take the anger personally. Instead, focus on the goal you share: their student’s well-being.
  • Remain calm. Model behavior you want to see—a composed, respectful demeanor.
  • Set clear ground rules. If a parent swears at you, you don’t have to take it. Say as quietly as you can that you don’t respond to foul language, and that if it continues, you’ll have to meet at another time.

 

Quote of the Day

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“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Bryant H. McGill

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