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Keeping the Arts Alive in a Virtual World

Chillicothe Middle School Choral Director Kelly Frailly hasn’t let the pandemic stop her from producing the school’s musical. This spring, the middle school will be virtually presenting High School Musical, Jr.

Frailly had heard about other teachers across the country pivoting to perform plays and musicals through outdoor shows, drive-ins, live shows with limited audiences or performing via Zoom. She decided to go the virtual route so her students could do what they love in the safest way possible. The production will be filmed, and anyone who wishes to watch the show will purchase a ticket for an online viewing time, just like a real show.

“There are quite a few challenges that come with a virtual show, but I wanted to ensure the students didn’t miss out on something they’re so passionate about,” said Frailly. “We had to keep the cast small, rehearsals are complicated, and there’s new technology I need to learn, but there are tons of great opportunities as well.”

One opportunity is that students are learning about a different style of acting, further expanding their skillsets. Students also have the chance to play multiple characters because there isn’t a time limit for costume changes. Having a single set will also allow the crew to avoid the lengthy process of scene changes. The group is working to stay focused on the positives and to tackle the challenges as a team.

“The arts are a form of solace to so many people, including our students, so we have to find ways to adapt to make them possible this year,” said Frailly. “It helps to preserve the mental and emotional health of many and keep people functioning, focused and in a healthy mindset. The arts keep us alive in more ways than one.”

Beyond the musical, students have still been able to participate in band, orchestra, choir and art this year – it just looks a little different. Many teachers have found alternative ways to showcase students’ talents like outdoor concerts, virtual performances and digital galleries.

For the holidays, choir, band and orchestra are all doing virtual performances for their annual concerts. Additionally, Frailly and fellow choral director, Mala Kennard, are putting a Virtual Holiday Revue together, which will be full of students and staff singing, dancing, drawing and more that will be released over winter break to spread holiday cheer.

If you have questions about the upcoming musical, please contact Kelly Frailly at kelly.frailly@ccsd.us.

Preparing Online Learners to Return to In-Person Classes

As we head into a new semester, some students are returning to classes for the first time since last spring. To help students and families prepare for this big adjustment, high school assistant principal, Dustin Weaver, and the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, Alissa Putnam, have offered their advice.

“Returning to school with new COVID policies may be challenging for some students, especially younger ones,” said Putnam. “We recommend ensuring students get to know the new health protocols, including wearing masks, understanding the one-way hallways in the middle and high schools, learning different lunch rules and making sure to socially distance.”

Younger students may need to prepare for this transition by practicing wearing a mask for a long period of time. It is also helpful for students to get back on a schedule, such as waking up early and eating lunch at the same time daily.

Parents can also help students prepare to return to in-person learning by making sure that all outstanding online work has been completed. Middle and high school parents can check on missing assignments through the Missing Assignment Database.

“Former distance learning students returning to in-person learning should also build relationships with their new teachers,” said Weaver. “Communicating with teachers on Google Classrooms and attending weekly virtual meetings will help create and strengthen those connections.”

Teachers will help facilitate the transition through a period of review of first semester concepts at the start of the second semester to support Virtual Learning Academy students in their shift to in-person learning.

For more information, email Dustin Weaver at dustin.weaver@ccsd.us or Alissa Putnam at alissa.putnam@ccsd.us.


in-person learning

CCSD Partners with Local Treatment Center to Support Vulnerable Students

The district is pleased to announce its partnership with Another Chance Ministries (ACM), an intensive outpatient treatment center in Chillicothe that will provide support to students struggling with mental health disorders and/or addiction.

ACM approached the district earlier this year to see how they could better serve students. After several meetings, the decision was made to pursue a relationship that will provide several new benefits to students and their families.

This partnership will allow students struggling with addiction and/or mental health disorders to have access to treatments beyond what the district already offers, at no cost to the student or their family.

At first, ACM will initially focus on students in grades 7-12, with plans to extend services throughout all grade levels over time. Students eligible for support will be identified through the district’s Keys to Success (drug-free) program and potentially through staff recommendations.

“This is a valuable opportunity to reach struggling students who feel that they have nowhere to turn, or who believe no one can relate to their specific struggle,” said Greg Phillips, Keys to Success staff liaison. “Most of the counselors at ACM are individuals who have personally struggled with mental health disorders or the battle of addiction themselves.”

Because the counselors have gone through their own struggles, they are well-positioned to relate to this population of students and to be able to communicate with them effectively.

“We must focus as much on mental health as on physical health, especially during the pandemic,” said Phillips. “Our work with ACM will allow us to really focus on the well-being of vulnerable population of students.”

The partnership is slated to begin December 2020 or early 2021. If you have questions about the support ACM will offer, reach out to Greg Phillips at gregory.phillips@ccsd.us.

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