October 16 Parent Update
October 16, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians of NSD Students,
You are an important part of your child’s education. Thank you for your partnership and support during this time. We acknowledge that this has been a difficult time for parents as well as children and staff. We have collected some key ideas that we hope will offer some support while we remain in a hybrid system. To find additional ideas, please go to our website here.
Help students “own” their learning
No one expects parents to be full-time teachers or to be educational and content matter experts. Provide support and encouragement and expect your children to do their part. Struggling is allowed and a part of the learning process! Don’t help too much. Becoming independent takes lots of practice.
Help only as long as your child is doing most of the work. Say the following to yourself over and over again: “This is my child’s work. Not mine!” Each time they achieve something difficult on their own, their self-esteem soars and they are better prepared for the real world.
Make space for learning
Many adults have a specific area of the home in which they do work, and it’s important that you create a similar space for your child. Your children will achieve their best work in a quiet, comfortable, and dedicated space that is strictly devoted to learning. This space should be a different set-up than where they normally play games or watch television.
Don’t underestimate the power of a schedule
A schedule, for your work and your child’s work, is extremely important. To start, experts recommend keeping them on the same or similar sleeping schedule that they have when they are going to school in person. If a schedule was not provided by their teachers, help them write one for not only each day, but each week as well. Having a clear vision of what is expected of your child will help them see that just because they are home does not mean they don’t have work to do. Experts recommend helping them prioritize and learn to create goals, tasks, and deadlines, just like adults do when they go to work.
Begin and end the day by checking in
In the morning, you might ask:
- What classes/subjects do you have today?
- Do you have any assessments?
- How will you spend your time?
- What resources do you need?
- What can I do to help?
At the end of the day you might ask:
• How far did you get in your learning tasks today?
• What did you discover?
• What was hard?
• What could we do to make tomorrow better?
These brief grounding conversations matter. Checking in with students helps them to process instructions they received from their teachers, and it helps them organize themselves and set priorities – older students, too. Not all students thrive in distance learning; some struggle with too much independence or lack of structure. These check-in routines can help avoid later challenges and disappointments. They help students develop the self-management and executive functioning skills that are essential for life. Parents are good life coaches.
Routines and schedules are extremely important for children at school, and this is no different in their at-home school. Children will function best if they maintain their routine as close to normal as possible. Setting alarms similar to those they would encounter at school can be helpful for keeping them on a schedule. Around lunchtime, encourage them to get up, get some fresh air, go for a walk, ride a bike, or have a snack so that they are not sedentary for the entire day.
A “digital quarantine” might be necessary to keep your child’s attention focused on their schoolwork. You should limit use of their devices, other than what is needed to complete their work, until their schoolwork is done. If you choose, you can allow your child to play on a device during a designated break, but make them aware that they only have a limited amount of time until they need to get back to work.
Remember to schedule time for fun
While this is most certainly not a vacation, it’s important to have some fun with your children while they are at home. It’s rare that you have this much time with your children, so use it as an opportunity to bond. Experts at Children and Screens recommend organizing a tournament, family card games, charades, or chess, or getting outside for a hike or walk together.
Here is a heads up of things to watch for this next week:
- High School Parent-Teacher conferences – Tuesday and Wednesday evening from 5-8 p.m.
- Middle School Parent-Teacher conferences – Wednesday and Thursday evening from 5-8 p.m.
- The State Board of Education will go live next Wednesday with a website to support families. The program – Strong Families, Strong Students – will offer $50 million for parents to access to support their students in digital learning. Families who qualify (you will need to submit evidence of income and registration in a school) will be awarded a “digital wallet” to be spent on connectivity and devices.
- SURVEY – yes, we want to hear from you! We have contracted with a third party to collect some important information from you. The content of the survey will explore curriculum and instruction areas as well as opinions regarding the district’s reopening plan. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us through this survey. A link will be sent next week to our families. In addition, we will survey our staff and students.
New information is available on the number of COVID-19 cases in your child’s school and across the district. We have added to the information available to our patrons. In addition to our weekly report on metrics within the district, we will now include a link on this page to access positive COVID-19 cases per building in the Nampa School District.
We remain committed to communicating with parents when a positive COVID case is identified in their child’s building if the individual had the potential to infect others on campus.
Dr. Paula Kellerer
Nampa School District