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What Can Parents Do to Help Teach Their Child at Home?

During these unprecedented times, it’s important now more than ever to engage with your student in their schoolwork. We understand the reality of students learning at home can be very challenging for parents, as you juggle your own work responsibilities, while ensuring your family remains healthy and safe.

As you navigate this new and temporary normal, CCSD staff and administrators are committed to making sure you have the right tools and resources you need to help your student succeed.  Alissa Putnam, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, recommends the following tips for parents of students at all grade levels when supplementing learning at home:

  1. Stick to a schedule.

Putnam recommends parents help their student establish a schedule. This schedule should consist of activities, schoolwork, lunch and some form of play to help mimic their routine at school. Creating and sticking to a schedule helps create a sense of normalcy and stability.

  1. Communicate with teachers.

Parents are also encouraged to keep in contact with their student’s teachers, whether they need additional help or not, via email, social media or learning platforms. Teachers are ready and willing to answer any questions you might have, and they want to hear from parents and students as much as possible during this time.

  1. Take breaks.

Putnam reminds parents this is uncharted territory for all of us. It’s okay for students and parents alike to take a break and process everything that’s happening as a family – it’s actually encouraged. Carve our specific time for you and your student or your entire family to pause andtake a walk, make a meal, watch a show or play a board game. Taking care of yourself and your family should be your top priority, but sometimes it’s the first thing that is forgotten.

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Parents are reminded that it’s okay if they can’t help their student get through all of their learning opportunities each day or week. The last thing the district wants is for this to cause unnecessary stress on families. Sticking to a routine is a great way to ensure your students gets learning time in throughout the week, but don’t be defeated if you can’t get to everything. You’re encouraged to reach out to your student’s teacher if you feel like they are falling behind for whatever reason.

  1. Check learning platforms regularly.

Regardless of a student’s grade level, parents are encouraged to check Class Dojo, Google Classroom or other platforms being used for teaching on a regular basis. We understand an assignment may slip through the cracks, but regularly checking these platforms will help students stay on track.

If parents or students have any questions, they are encouraged to reach out directly to their teachers or building principal. Please continue to check the district Facebook page and webpage for updates on everything related to COVID-19. Remember, we are all in this together, and we will be a stronger Cavalier Nation because of this!

tips for parents

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

As kindergarten enrollment approaches, soon-to-be kindergarten parents are likely considering what they should be doing to prepare their child for this next big step in their education. CCSD director of curriculum and instruction, Alissa Putnam, offers advice for parents who want to ensure their child is ready and eager to start kindergarten in the fall.

“One of the best things parents can do is to establish routines at home,” said Putnam. “Routines help children learn, give them a sense of control and foster their self-confidence. Parents can easily establish bedtime, mealtime and reading routines.”

Mealtime routines are critical as many children struggle at the beginning of kindergarten at mealtimes. Parents can practice opening containers or packaging with their children, so they are familiar with those processes when they get to school. They can also practice eating within a 20-minute timeframe  – the amount of time allotted for lunch period at school – and cleaning up after themselves once they are done with lunch.

For bedtime routines, parents can ensure children get a good night’s sleep with a predictable order of activities such as taking a bath, putting on pajamas, brushing teeth and reading a story or singing a song. As far as reading routines go, Putnam encourages parents to read with their children for at least 20 minutes daily to build language and literacy skills. Reading routines can be at bedtime or any other convenient time for parents and children. Putnam recommends allowing children to pick out the book to increase engagement and enjoyment of reading.

“Remember that students don’t have to have mastered any specific skills to enter kindergarten, but there are academic ways to help best prepare your child for kindergarten,” said Putnam. “ Identifying letters of the alphabet is a great way to have fun and challenge early readers.”

Putnam recommends books like Chicka Chicka Boom and Letter Town for teaching kids their ABCs. She also recommends classic nursery rhymes and songs as a means of teaching rhyming and sound awareness. Students can also practice properly holding pencils and crayons as well as using and handling scissors safely. If possible, students should work on recognizing or writing their first name.

“One of the biggest challenges that our students face is simply the separation from their caregivers and the ability to regulate their bodies, their feelings and emotions at school,” said Putnam. “Allow for opportunities for your child to be away from you and around other children his/her age. Independent play and play with a friend are essential components of kindergarten and anytime your child can 'practice' this skill, it will benefit kindergarten development.”

It is important to keep children engaged over the summer to support a smooth transition into school. Supportive activities and experiences should focus on the joys of early childhood, including playing and talking.

“Starting kindergarten is a big milestone for parents and students,” said Putnam. “Parents have a lot of questions and a lot of emotions, but they should remember they aren’t alone. The school community is here to ensure they feel ready to begin the year.”

For more information on how to prepare your student for kindergarten, reach out to Alissa Putnam at alissa.putnam@ccsd.us. 

kindergarten tips

New Esports Offerings Teach Students Teamwork and Strategy

Esports, also known as competitive video games, have become increasingly popular in the sports world, which is why CCSD has created their own league for students 13 and older. The program officially started last fall when Chillicothe’s team competed with Esports Ohio and made it to the finals in two of the three games they played.

In the upcoming spring season, students will compete against schools across the state playing League of Legends, Overwatch, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate on a competitive level. They will also play Fortnite and Hearthstone on a club level, which means they will not compete through Esports Ohio, but in a more casual setting instead.

Esports are more than just video games – they provide students with a huge opportunity to receive scholarships.

“The prospect of scholarships is a huge part of why we pushed this program forward,” said Brian Lewis, esports coach. “These scholarships are on par with traditional athletics, in which students can receive up to a full-ride depending on the game and college.”

Beyond potential scholarships, the program offers numerous other benefits, including social and emotional peer support. While a wide variety of students have signed up to participate in esports, much of the team does not participate in traditional sports, so this is their opportunity to be a part of a team outside of academics. Esports provides those students with an avenue to compete against each other without being held back by physical, economic or social restraints.

“Students participating in esports learn teamwork and communication firsthand, outside of a classroom environment,” said Lewis. “As most of the games are team-based and require a high degree of coordination to be competitive, students are learning valuable skills.

Additionally, some games, like League of Legends, require a lot of pre-game planning in which players use their knowledge of the characters to strategize how to best play the game. This includes determining which combinations of items will produce the most ideal stats for their character against the composition of the opposing team.

Students also learn creative problem solving through esports. Players learn the limitations and extremes of the games and are able to push their abilities and use them in ways that, in some cases, the game developers didn’t even foresee.

A new arena for the district’s esports league will be built in the new Chillicothe Athletic Center when renovations begin this summer.

For more information about the esports program, contact coach Brian Lewis at brian.lewis@ccsd.us. To join the spring esports league, students can sign up at https://www.esportsohio.org/league/sign-up and see Mr. Lewis for a parent permission slip by Friday, February 28.

esports