Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent

 
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
Education &
Enrichment Guide

        Early Learning
            14 - 18
    Elementary & Secondary
            19 - 27
         Enrichment
            28 - 31
       Special Education
            32 - 33

                             JANUARY 2021   13
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
Early Learning

       Benefits
                            of half-day Kindergarten
                                                            By Cheryl Maguire

        an we go to the library playroom       dergarten versus half day (at first there
        and do a puppet show?” my six-         were some gains but it was short-lived).
        year-old daughter asked.                            More time to play
           “Sure. Do you remember when             While my kids were in half day
we used to come here for story time in         Kindergarten they had the opportunity
the morning before you went to after-          to have unstructured play time either
noon Kindergarten?”                            alone or with other friends. The benefits
     “Yes, with Miss Carol! It was so much     of unstructured play include a stronger
fun.”                                          bond to family members, better peer
     I have warm memories of library           relationships, improved problem
story time with all three of my children.      solving and healthy develop-
We had this experience since they              ment.
attended half day Kindergarten. In                 My children developed
their school, I had an option to pay for                                                                              They will be in
                                               friendships during this
full-day Kindergarten whereas half day                                                                                 school for six
                                               time which they main-
is free. There are a limited amount of                                                                                  hours a day
                                               tained over the past six
full-day spots so if you are interested in                                                                              for the next
                                               years. I also met and
full-day Kindergarten you are placed in                                                                                 twelve years
                                               socialized with their
a lottery system. My twins were not se-                                                                                 so I’m grateful
                                               friend’s parents. We did
lected for the lottery full day spots, but I                                                                            for the addi-
                                               activities such as library
discovered it was for the best. Because                                                                                tional time with
                                               story time which had
I enjoyed having a few extra hours with                                                                               them.
                                               some structure mixed
my twins, I chose half-day Kindergarten        with unstructured time to                                                Five year olds
for my younger daughter as well.               allow the children to social-                                           low attention
   No significant educational benefit          ize with one another.                                                       span
    The main reason I wanted to enroll                 More time with family                                      Most five-year-olds
my twins in full day Kindergarten is                                                                   (the age children are in Kinder-
                                                  Research from the University of Illi-
because I thought they would receive                                                         garten) have a limited attention span.
                                               nois found when families regularly spent
more education which would help them                                                         According to the website Day2Day
                                               time together (in this case they studied
excel academically the following year.                                                       parenting, the average five-six-year-
                                               going on nature hikes) they functioned
Both of them have done well in school                                                        old child can attend to something of
                                               better as a family. The study suggests
academically despite the fewer hours in                                                      interest to them for ten-15 minutes, but
                                               the time together enables families to
school.                                                                                      this time frame decreases to only five-
                                               better read social cues which led to
                                                                                             ten minutes for uninteresting topics. A
    Research by Philip DeCicca at              feeling less irritable and more in control.
                                                                                             school day is six hours long which may
McMaster University in Hamilton had               I look back on those extra hours I         be difficult for children at this age to
similar findings to my experience. He          had with all three of my children with        remain on task for this time period.
tested children at the end of first grade      fond memories. Besides going to library
and found there was little difference in       story time we also went to playgrounds,                 Costs less money
both the reading and math test scores          playgroups, and other similar activities.        The cost of full-day Kindergarten is
of children who attended full-day Kin-

14      JANUARY 2021                                      Early Learning                                   PittsburghParent.com
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
expensive. In the school my children at-
tend it is $3k per child so for my twins it
would have been $6k! Instead of spend-
ing the money on school I was able to
save some of it. I used the remainder to
pay for activities such as a gymnastics
class or dance class. There are only 180       Celebrating over 45 years of excellence
days of school and some days are half         • Accredited by the National Association for
days. After I realized this with my twins       the Education of Young Children since 1986
for me it wasn’t worth spending an extra
$3k for only three hours extra per day        • A four-star facility by Keystone STARS Program
for my younger daughter.                      • Awarded gold environmental certification from
                                                the US Green Building Council as an Existing
       What is best for your child              Facility
    You know your child better than           • Multiple grassy and tree-lined outdoor play
anyone. If you feel they would benefit           spaces with new playground equipment
from full day they might. Also some           • Accepts children six weeks to six years
parents may think full day Kindergarten       • Exceptional child/staff ratio
is a good alternative to day care. At the
time I made the decision, I thought my        • Fully licensed, exceptional all-day
children would receive more education           Kindergarten
which would help the following year.          • Open Mon.-Fri., 8:00am to 5:00pm
When we ended up not making the lot-          • Located in a quiet residential area
tery for full day we made the best of the     • Limited number of spaces still available
situation and in the end it worked out
for us. n
                                                Call 412-421-0300
                                                 for information
   Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of
Counseling Psychology degree. She
married and is the mother of twins and
a daughter. You can find her at Twitter @          Carriage House Children’s Center
CherylMaguire05                                  Wightman School Community Building
                                                          5604 Solway Street
                                                      Pittsburgh, PA 15217-1264
                                                        www.carriagehouse.org

PittsburghParent.com                                     Early Learning                          JANUARY 2021   15
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
EducationConnection                 Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts

                                               Dear Teacher
                           Success secrets in content area subjects

Q:        My son is only in third grade
          and is having difficulty under-
          standing math, science and
social studies. What can I do to help him
                                                     The essential vocabulary of each
                                                 content area is not easy to identify. These
                                                 words are not usually found in basal read-
                                                 ers nor on general vocabulary lists.
handle these classes? – HELP                         Most science and social studies and

A:       The first thing that you need
         to do is to determine with his
         teacher’s help exactly why he
is having problems with these three
                                                 even math textbooks and e-books do give
                                                 students obvious clues about the words
                                                 needed to master these subjects. Typi-
                                                 cally, they are found in a list at the start
                                                 of a chapter or in the end material of the
subjects. Is it a reading problem? Is it
                                                 chapter.
possibly a learning disability? If it is one
of these two problems, testing will need            When your son starts a new chapter,
to be done to find the way to help him.          look over the important chapter words
                                                 with him. Choose a few each day and help
   On the other hand, the problem
                                                 him pronounce them and have him look
could be that your son does not know
                                                 up their meaning in the book’s glossary if
the meaning of the new words that are
                                                 there is one. Then to reinforce the learn-
being introduced in these content areas.
                                                 ing of these words, you may wish to have
Content area vocabulary begins to
                                                 him read assignments with you and look up
emerge in third grade. It is the unique
                                                 again any words that he cannot define for
technical vocabulary used to teach the
                                                 you.
ideas, facts and skills of each content
area subject. For example, understand-                It will further help him learn these words
ing words like “fraction,” “numerator”           if he does all the exercises at the end of
and “denominator” is necessary to suc-           science and social studies chapters — even
ceed in math.                                    if they are not assigned. For further reinforcement and understanding of this new
                                                 vocabulary, make it a point to discuss what he has learned in school every day while
                                                                         trying to use the new vocabulary words.
                                                                        If learning the content words does not help him, then it is
                                                                     time for another chat with his teacher.

                                                                        Understanding multiplication
                                                                                made easy
  Providence Heights Alpha School is an independent,
    Catholic school for students in PreK through 8.
                                                                     Q:        A while back I believe that you had an article on mul-
                                                                               tiplication for those students who were not learning in
                                                                               traditional ways. You mentioned using 3 paper plates
                                                                     and 5 blocks to show 3 x 5 = 15 instead of rotely memorizing
                                                                     3 x 5 = 15. Can you explain it again? I hope this helps my third
                                                                     grader who just doesn’t get multiplication. – Parent

                                                                      A:       Whether students do or don’t get multiplication, the
                                                                               best way to acquaint them with the concept is through
                                                                               the use of pictures, drawings and hands-on material.
                                                                     This gives them an understanding of what multiplication looks
                                                                     like and is not the time to drill children to memorize the facts.

          r NOW ENROT,T,TNG
                                                                     Later on, there is time to commit these facts to memory.
                                                                         Here’s how the paper plate introduction to multiplication
                                                                     works. Have your children lay out 3 plates and place five blocks
                                                                     on each plate. Ask, “How many blocks did you use altogether?”
                                                                     Then have the children count the blocks. Repeat the activity us-
                                                                     ing different combinations of plates and blocks.
 Call for more information or to schedule a private tour.                Next, introduce the symbolism for multiplication “x,” the
                                                                     “times sign.” Use the symbol in a sample multiplication sen-
 9000 Babcock Blvd.                         412.366.4455             tence, such as 2 x 3. This time use blocks. The height of the
 Allison Park, PA 15101                   AlphaSchool.org            blocks is 2, and the length is 3. The figure contains 6 blocks, so 2
                                                                     x 3 = 6. Repeat this with other number combinations.
     Founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence

16      JANUARY 2021                                        Early Learning                                  PittsburghParent.com
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
54
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                      Years    Nursery School
                               & Kindergarten
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    Beulah Christian
      Preschool and
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 Preschool Classes—Ages 2 to 5 yrs.
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    NAEYC Accredited • Keystone Stars 4 Center
  To register call 412-242-4424
     or visit beulahpscc.org

                                                                     fact 3 x 5 = 15. Work          instead of really reading everything on
                                                                     through all of the flash       all the pages.
                                                                     cards in this way.                  Skimming gives you a general
                                                                          Once children begin       overview. Your eyes move quickly over
                                                                     to learn some of the           a page, looking only for highlights, key
                                                                     multiplication facts, they     words and phrases. When you skim,
                                                                     should write down the          you read only a little bit of the informa-
                                                                     problem with the answer        tion on the page. You skip most of the
                                                                     if they know it. If not,       material. If children want to know what a
                                                                     they can use the plates        chapter in their science books is about,
                                                                     and blocks to determine        they will read only the headings and
                                                                     it. This is better than        glance at the pictures and charts. This is
                                                                     your telling them what         a smart thing for them to do before they
                                                                     the answer is and is the       read the entire chapter.
                                                                     first step in their learning        Scanning helps you find one thing
                                                                     multiplication facts.          quickly — like finding one person’s
                                                                                                    name on a list. You will need to com-
                                                                                                    bine what you have learned about
    Now your children are ready to make                                                             reading from left to right with reading
multiplication cards, starting with 1 x 1                Skimming and                               the page from top to bottom. Your eyes

                                                        scanning defined
through 6 x 6 for younger children and                                                              move quickly. Children should use scan-
continuing to 9 x 9 for older ones. Do                                                              ning when they are looking for a specific

                                                     Q:
not include the answers (products) on                                                               event, like a battle in their social studies
either the front or back of the card as                          Is there a difference between      book. n
the products should be determined by                             skimming and scanning? Or
the learner.                                                     are they both the same skill?      Parents should send questions and
    Go back to the plates and blocks                 – Puzzled                                      comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.

                                                     A:
and have the children select a multipli-                                                            com or ask them on the columnists’
cation card at random. If it is 3 x 5, for                    Skimming and scanning are             website at www.dearteacher.com.
example, they should follow the same                          different skills. Both skills help
steps as they did earlier. They should                        you pick out just a few bits
count all the blocks and then write the              of information that you can use later

PittsburghParent.com                                             Early Learning                                   JANUARY 2021             17
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
An            insider’s
    guide  to
    choosing the
    right daycare                                      Did you walk right in without anyone noticing you? Do the children look
                                                       happy and occupied? Notice the teachers: Are they warm and caring? Do
                                                       they seem to genuinely like children?
    By Rachael Moshman                                                              Recommendations
                                                           Ask other parents and caregivers who currently use the daycare as well
                                                       as former families about their experiences there. Also check with the local
    hoosing a daycare is one of the most       Better Business Bureau. A quick online search never hurts, either.
     important decisions parents make for                                            Cleanliness
     their infants and toddlers. Your child
     will spend most of his waking hours          Sure, with dozens of small children, it’s tough to keep a building clean, but it is
there, so it’s important to find an environ-   imperative to keep everyone healthy. Do you notice any foul smells? Teachers should
ment that is safe and nurturing physically,    wear gloves for diapering and wash their hands before and after. Procedures should
emotionally and academically.                  be in place for sanitizing all equipment and toys throughout the day.
   I’ve worked in the field of early child-                                               Ratios
hood education for decades. Here are my           In Florida, one teacher is allowed by law to be alone with eleven two-year-olds.
top things to look for when searching for      The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends
the right childcare.                           a one-to-six ratio for the same age group. The lower the ratio, the more attention
              Convenience                      your child will receive. The ratio varies depending on the age group. If your day-
                                               care is NAEYC-approved, find out the appropriate NAEYC ratio for your child’s age.
   Consider the following: Do the pro-         Check the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to learn
gram’s hours work for your schedule? Is it     your state’s health and safety recommendations.
near your home or office? How long will it
take you to get there if there’s an emer-                                            Turnover
gency during the day?                             Once you’ve found the perfect teacher, you want some assurance that she won’t
                     Cost                      leave two weeks after you enroll your child. Find out the program’s turnover rate. If
                                               teachers frequently leave, they may be unhappy about the way they’re treated or
   While it’s crucial to find a program        about something happening at the school, which is cause for concern.
that fits into your budget, that doesn’t
mean you should scrimp on quality. If                                         Policies and procedures
your dream daycare is too costly for you           Confirm the school is up to date on licensing standards by contacting your local
to manage, ask about scholarships. Many        department of children and families. Ask to see the school’s policy and procedure
communities have programs to help work-        handbooks. They should have plans in place for dealing with a wide variety of issues
ing parents with the cost of childcare.        from lice outbreaks to power outages. Ask about the center’s safety procedures.
             First impressions                     Choosing a daycare doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In the end, trust your
   Drop in unannounced to get a feel for       instincts. n
a place. Pay close attention to how you’re         Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, writer and educator. Find her at www.ram-
greeted and what’s going on. Is it chaotic?    blingrach.com

                                                                                             A safe and positive learning environment
                                                                                                      • Infant through Kindergarten
                                                                                                     • M - F from 6:30am to 6:30pm
   Offering a long tradition of excellence in early childhood education                      • Now accepting open enrollment for full day PreK
     Child-centered curriculum for two-, three-, and pre-k four-and five-year-olds              • Now enrolling for the 2021-22 school year
                                                                                                         for full day kindergarten
  • Foster development of the whole child • Encourage creativity and independence
    • Model respect for others • Promote play-based learning and problem solving                  www.priorycourtchildrenscenter.com
                                                                                                 Priorycourt91@gmail.com • 412-487-5758
 5121 Westminster Place, Pgh., PA 15232 • 412-681-6311 •ShadySideSchool.org                    2566 Duncan Avenue • Allison Park, PA (Just off Rt. 8)

18      JANUARY 2021                                     Early Learning                                        PittsburghParent.com
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
Elementary & Secondary

        How to survive the elementary school years -
                            Parenting tips for ages 6 to 10
              By Kimberly Blaker
   ou survived potty training and the terrible twos; you’ve re-      ness with you.
  claimed your bed, and your child is now somewhat self-suf-
  ficient. Life ought to be smooth sailing from here on, right?
  Perhaps. That is if you don’t take into account the elemen-
                                                                        Media overload.           With the overwhelming variety of
                                                                     media available to kids, it’s hard to know where to draw the
tary school-age battles that lie just ahead. But don’t sweat it.     line. But the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends
The following tips will help you ride out this adventuresome         kids be limited to no more than two hours of entertainment-
yet trying stage.                                                    based screen time per day.
                                                                         To gain cooperation, invite your child to help you establish
   Tattletales.     Does your child tattle every time a sibling
or playmate breaks a rule? Kids tattle for many reasons. Some-
                                                                     media use rules. List the various forms of media used by your
                                                                     child, including tv, video games, computer and cell phone.
times they don’t understand the difference between tattling          Establish a total number of hours per day your kid can use
and telling about something important. Other times, kids are         media. Then ask your child to help you break down how much
looking to get another into trouble.                                 of that time can be spent on specific forms. Also, discuss the
    So explain the difference between tattling and telling. Tat-     measures you’ll take if rules are violated.
tling is when someone breaks a rule (or when there is no rule),
and breaking the rule is relatively harmless. Telling, on the
other hand, is when another child does something that could
                                                                        Chore wars.
                                                                     As your child grows,
cause harm to oneself or others. Make a rule that you don’t          so should his or
want to hear any tattling, but that telling is okay and even         her responsibilities.
necessary.                                                           In the elementary
                                                                     years, kids can pick
   Lying.    Every child tells a lie at some point or another.
Even most adults are guilty of occasional white lies. Still,
                                                                     up their rooms, set
                                                                     and clear off the
teaching kids to be honest is vital to developing into trustwor-     table, sort their
thy adults and their ability to form intimate relationships.         laundry, fold laundry,
   Talk to your child about how lying diminishes yours and           put away their clean
                                              others’ ability to     clothes, bring in the
                                              trust your child.      mail, rake leaves and
         Talk to your                         Explain how it can
                                              impact your child’s
                                                                     dust, among other
                                                                     simple tasks.
                                              relationships.             So have your
     child about how                          Then, if you catch
                                              your kid in a lie,
                                                                     child choose a small
                                                                     number of simple chores. As your kid grows, increase the
                                              explain how his or     amount or level of difficulty. To gain cooperation, set a regular
                                              her future freedom     schedule for each task, and offer daily or weekly rewards or an
     lying diminishes                         and privileges are     allowance.
                                              dependent on how
                                              well you can trust        Homework hassles.             This is a routine challenge for
   yours and others’                          your child.            many parents. So hold a meeting with your child to discuss
                                                                     homework. Explain you’re going to set some rules. Then give
                                                  Also, to build
                                              your kid’s trust in    your kid a couple of choices to increase cooperation. One
      ability to trust                        you, practice being
                                              open and nonjudg-
                                                                     option might be 30 minutes of free time or media time after
                                                                     school before having to begin homework. Another option
                                              mental. This will go   could be to do chores and free time right after school. Then
                                                                     homework will start immediately following dinner. But avoid
          your child.                         a long way toward
                                              your child’s open-     saving homework until late in the evening.
                                                                                                               Continued on page 20…

PittsburghParent.com                               Elementary & Secondary                                 JANUARY 2021            19
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
Continued from page 19…                     ents fumbling. So, prepare in advance
                                                                                  for the inevitable discussions so you
     Small classes. Big ideas.                                                    can answer questions in the best way
                                         Then require your kids to put their
                                      phones on the charger, away from the        possible and without showing discom-
                                      area when doing homework.                   fort. Your comfort is essential to making
                                                                                             your kid feel comfortable and
                                                                                             will lead to more openness
                                                                                             from your child as he or she
                                                                                             matures.
                                                                                                 To get started, during the
                                                                                             early elementary years, read
                                                                                             “Where Did I Come From?”
                                                                                             or another age-appropriate
                                                                                             book to your child. This takes
                                                                                             the guesswork out of what to

 Accepting                                                                                   say and how to say it.
                                                                                                 In the later elementary

  Applications
                                                                                             years, discuss puberty and sex
                                                                                             more completely. Many kids
                                                                                             reach puberty by the age of
for the 2020-2021 school year                                                                ten. So make sure your pre-

For more information, please email:
admissions@kentuckyavenueschool.org
     or call 412.228.7127
                                        Name - calling and
                                      teasing.       Sometimes when kids
  5701 Fifth Avenue        K-8        call each other names, they’re just
                                      playing. If they’re going back and
      (at Negley)                     forth at each other, both laughing
 Pittsburgh, PA 15232                 and having a good time, it probably
                                      isn’t a big deal. As long as it’s play,
KENTUCKY AVENUE SCHOOL                balanced and no one’s feelings are
  kentuckyavenueschool.org            getting hurt, you can let it go.
                                          But if it’s one-sided, mean-spirit-
                                      ed, or the child on the receiving end
                                      seems angry, upset, scared or hurt
                                      by it, it’s usually best to intervene.
                                      First, try to empower the teased
                                      child, and encourage him or her             teen is fully prepared for the changes
                                      to tell the other to stop. If necessary,    that’ll take place. By late elementary,
                                      take a more direct approach, and make       some kids are already talking about it
                                      clear to the child doing the teasing how    among each other and are full of misin-
                                      hurtful the behavior is and that it isn’t   formation. So having this discussion is
                                      acceptable.                                 crucial to ensure your child is accurately
                                                                                  informed about sex
                                         The birds and the bees.
                                      The question of where babies come              Defiance.        As kids grow, they
                                      from, and discussions of puberty can        become more independent – and with
                                      leave even the most open-minded par-        independence comes defiance. To deal
                                                                                  with defiance, lay out the rules ahead
                                                                                  of time, so you and your kids know the
                                              First, try to                       consequences.
                                                                                      When your child is defiant, remem-

      Accepting                              empower the
                                                                                  ber the following. Consistency is crucial
                                                                                  to being effective. Also, don’t argue.

     Applications
                                                                                  If your child tries to debate you after
                                                                                  you’ve already stated the issue and
                                          teased child, and                       laid down the consequence, calmly say
                                                                                  you’ve already made up your mind, and
                                                                                  you’re done discussing it. Then leave
                                            encourage him                         the room, so you’re not tempted to
                                                                                  argue or give in to badgering. n

                                          or her to tell the                          Kimberly Blaker is a freelance
                                                                                  parenting and lifestyle writer. She also
                                                                                  writes content, blog posts, and more for
                                                                                  businesses in a variety of industries and
                                            other to stop.                        is an expert in on-page SEO. Find her at
                                                                                  kimberlyblaker.com

20   JANUARY 2021                        Elementary & Secondary                                 PittsburghParent.com
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
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the last school year, it was clear that with those two decades       journey today!
of experience, time had come for PA Cyber to shine as an

                                           Meet America Smith and her son Noah. Twenty years ago, America enrolled in PA Cyber
                                       the very first year the school opened. Both of her siblings also attended – with her brother
                                       graduating as a member of the first PA Cyber graduating class.
                                           While America had nothing short of a great cyber school experience, when it came time
                                       to send her first child, Noah, to Kindergarten, she originally decided to send him to public
                                       school. Smith realized early on that her son was not getting the education she expected.
                                       Noah deserved a more personalized education, like the one where she personally thrived.
                                       She immediately enrolled Noah in PA Cyber and couldn’t be happier at the progress he has
                                       made.
                                           America says that in her experience both as a student and as a parent of a student, the
                                       value of PA Cyber’s education is “top-notch,” – offering a better experience with curriculum,
                                       instruction, setup and layout of classes, parents’ resources, and even extracurricular
                                       activities. She says, “Ultimately, what you are receiving at PA Cyber is closer and more
                                       comparable to a private school education than a public school one.” The Smith family is
                                       happy that PA Cyber was an option 20 years ago and is still an option today! This excellent
                                       educational experience is something their family now shares among generations.

  PittsburghParent.com                             Elementary & Secondary                                  JANUARY 2021           21
Education & Enrichment Guide - Early Learning Elementary & Secondary Enrichment Special Education - Pittsburgh Parent
How to select the right school:
                 Virtual, public or private
                                                              By Cheryl Maguire

            hen will we be able to go to school
            in-person full-time?”
               My 12-year-old daughter attends a
           public school that offers a hybrid op-
tion. She goes to school in-person two days and
three days she learns virtually from home. She
misses going to school full-time in-person and
often asks me when that will be an option.
    Depending on where you live, you may have
different options for school instruction. Your
school may have started the year remotely or
hybrid and now is switching to all in-person.
Deciding about the best educational plan for your
kids may be challenging.

              Types of schools
                       Public
    Public schools offer a free education to
students living within the district. The funding for
public schools is from local, state and federal tax
dollars. These schools are supervised by local government                   Depending on what your school is offering you may be able
authorities. There are different types and options of public            to attend school virtually (remote) at home, hybrid (combina-
schools such as school choice, vouchers, tax-credit scholar-            tion of remote and in-person) or all in-person.
ships, magnet and charter schools.
                                                                                                      Private
                                                                            A student must pay a tuition and submit an application to
                                                                        attend a private school. A private school is funded by student
                                                                        tuition payments, endowments, grants and donations. Some
                                                                        private schools are affiliated with a religion.
                                                                                                  Home school
                                                                           A homeschool is when a student is educated at their home
                                                                        by either a parent, tutor or an online program. States regulate
                                                                        and have requirements for homeschools.

                                                                          Factors to consider when making a decision
                                                                                                       Cost
                                                                            If you are unable to afford the private school tuition, which
                                                                        the national average is $10,000 per year, then you would be
                                                                        limited to the free public-school options. Depending on the
                                                                        state you live in you could use vouchers or the tax-credit schol-
                                                                        arships to help fund the tuition. Another consideration is the
                                                                        cost of transportation to the public school.
                                                                                                   School size
     Open to student of all faiths, races, and national origins.            The class size may be an important factor if your child is
                                                                        easily distracted or requires assistance to learn. Even though
                     TOURS AVAILABLE                                    public schools can make accommodations for students with
           Schedule a Private Tour By Appointment.
                                                                        special needs, sometimes a smaller class is more helpful to the
                  Go to SaintJosephHS.com
                                                                        child. A private school usually offers small class sizes. You may
                     for a new Virtual Tour!
                                                                        also want smaller class size so to decrease your child’s risk of
                                                                        exposure to virus.
                     Enrolling Freshmen & Transfer Students
                                                                                    Considering different options
                                                                            If you are attending public or private school you may have
                                                                        different options of in-person, hybrid or full remote virtual
                                                                        learning. This is a difficult choice to make and will require fac-
                                                                        toring in many different considerations.
                                                                                                                   Continued on page 24…

22      JANUARY 2021                                 Elementary & Secondary                                   PittsburghParent.com
PARENT to

                                                                                  Michelle (mom) and              HOW WILL AGORA
                                                                                  Sarah Georgiana                 BE GREAT FOR OTHER
                                                                                                                  PARENTS?

                                                                                  WHY IS AGORA A GREAT                A main difference
  DON’T CHANGE THE                                                                EXPERIENCE FOR US?              between cyber charter
                                                                                                                  and other virtual options
  WAY THEY LEARN.                                                                     As a working dancer,
                                                                                  Agora has provided an
                                                                                                                  is that Agora students
                                                                                                                  are communicating with
                                                                                                                  classmates and teachers
  CHANGE THE WAY
                                                                                  “on the go” learning
                                                                                  environment for my 8th          in chats, video streams
                                                                                                                  and through emails,
  THEY’RE TAUGHT.                                                                 grade daughter. Agora can
                                                                                  truly be a mobile classroom     giving personal attention
                                                                                                                  to individual needs. The
                                                                                  and being able to log in to
  Agora’s online school uses an individualized teaching approach                  live classes from anywhere      Family Coach, assigned
                                                                                  in the country while Sarah      by Agora, is in constant
  to guide and inspire students in kindergarten through 12th grade
                                                                                  was on set or auditioning       contact with school
  to reach their highest potential. A rigorous curriculum is delivered                                            updates, including social
                                                                                  for a new role was the key
  by Pennsylvania-certified, highly qualified teachers using                      for us to joining the Agora     activities that students can
  innovative technology.                                                          family.                         choose to attend and meet
                                                                                                                  in person when safe. It’s
                                                                                      Personally, without         always nice to put faces
  This is the personalized education you have been
                                                                                  Agora’s flexibility, I am not   with names and for parents
  searching for.                                                                  sure how Sarah would have       to make new friendships,
                                                                                  completed her school and        too. Agora’s MTSS system
                                                                                  dreams. Agora’s curriculum      of support meets kids at
   TO ENROLL NOW, GO TO AGORA.ORG.                                                                                their level, teaches them
                                                                                  and their staff worked with
                                                                                  us to make it possible.         accordingly, and the
                                                                                  I cannot say enough             individualized nature of
                                                                                  about their willingness to      learning at Agora opens
                                                                                  listen to a student with a      endless possibilities.
                                                                                  dream and find a way to
                                                                                  make it happen. For me,            For more information
                                                                                  that is what education is       go to agora.org and
                                                                                  about: maximizing human         register for a virtual open
                                                                                  potential. Agora made that      house..
                                                                                  happen when other phone
                                                                                  calls I made said, “Sorry,
                                                                                  we don’t have any options
  enrollment@agora.org | Phone: 844-462-4672 | Agora.org                          for you.”
  Public School Tuition Paid By PA Taxpayers

PittsburghParent.com
                                                                         Sponsored Content
                                                                                                                     JANUARY 2021           23
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     are learning in the classroom
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Continued from page 22…
                                            with your child what
             Immune system                  they like and don’t like
                                            about remote learning
    If your child or someone in your fam-
                                            and in-person learning
ily has a compromised immune system,
                                            and then figure out
then you many not want to risk sending
                                            what would be the
your child to school at all. This would
                                            best learning environ-
mean all virtual learning either through
                                            ment for them.
the public or private school. There are
some online programs that are consid-         Time requirement
ered public homeschooling that may be              for parents
a good choice since these schools were          If both parents are
set up for virtual learning before the      working full time and
pandemic.                                   the child needs as-
              School safety                 sistance with remote
                                            learning, then this                         everyone will have different needs and
    Before considering all in-person
                                            may be a difficult option for the family.   factors to consider. It is best if the deci-
or hybrid you will want to know what
                                            It may make more sense for the child to     sion is discussed as a family creating a
safeguards your school has put in place
                                            attend in-person full-time or hybrid.       list of pros and cons. After you make the
to make sure that your child is not ex-
                                                           Age of child                 decision most schools will allow you to
posed to COVID. Some safety protocols
                                                                                        change the option if you find it is not
you can ask about are wearing masks,            Younger children are going to have      working for you. n
distance between desks and the num-         more difficulty paying attention to
ber of children per class. You may also     virtual learning whereas older children         Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of
want to ask how the school will handle      tend to have a longer attention span.       Counseling Psychology degree. She is
an outbreak and what is their plan to       Older children also tend to be more in-     married and is the mother of twins and
notify families.                            dependent and able to understand the        a daughter. Her writing has been pub-
            Learning style                  technology related to remote learning.      lished in The New York Times, Parents
                                            So an older child may be better suited      Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen
   Some kids have difficulty paying at-
                                            for remote learning.                        Magazine, and many other publications.
tention especially on a computer screen
                                                                                        You can find her at Twitter @CherylMa-
and may require specialized instruction.          Making the decision                   guire05
Other kids may be independent leaners
who thrive with remote learning. Discuss       This decision is a difficult one and

24      JANUARY 2021                           Elementary & Secondary                                 PittsburghParent.com
Teacher trouble:
  How to resolve child-teacher conflict
                                                    By Christa Melnyk Hines

      hate school. My                                      style to a new teacher’s       child psychologist and a nationally certi-
      teacher is mean!” At                                 approach. Other influenc-      fied school psychologist, who frequently
      one time or another,                                 es on a child’s attitude to-   helps students and parents manage and
      nearly every parent                                  ward her teacher include       resolve school conflicts. “You may get
of a school-age young-                                     class size, peer competi-      an idea that something else is happen-
ster has heard their child                                 tion, increased home-          ing that’s triggering the ‘meanness’
express their displeasure                                  work, more demanding,          and then at that point, you have more
with the entire education-                                 independent school             information to call or email the teacher.”
al establishment during a                                  work, as well as, differ-
frustrating homework ses-                                  ences between home                     Review class work
sion or after a rough day.                                 and school environments.           Notice patterns like red marks and
    While you may initially                                                               notes from the teacher on classwork. If
brush off their dramatic                                    Do some digging               your student struggles and seems afraid
declarations, what do you                                      Allow your child time      to ask questions, discuss appropri-
do if your child seems to                                  to adjust to his teacher’s     ate times for her to talk to her teacher
be growing increasingly                                    expectations and rules.        about the work and what types of ques-
distressed with school and                                 If his complaints persist,     tions she should ask.
her teacher?                                               ask objective questions,
                                                           like: “How is the work for     Make real-world connections
      Why the grumbling?                    you? How are you getting along with              A child may grow disenchanted with
    An elementary school child’s disdain    the other kids?”                              school and her teacher if she doesn’t
for her teacher may grow out of a               “By doing that you can get a flavor       understand how the subject matter
variety of factors, like adjusting from a   of the environment rather than the situ-
beloved former teacher’s management         ation,” says Dr. Stephanie Mihalas, a                             Continued on page 26…

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PittsburghParent.com                           Elementary & Secondary                                  JANUARY 2021            25
Questions
    to ask
  your child:
  How hard is the work
       for you?
  How are you getting
    along with the
      other kids?

Continued from page 25…

relates to real life. Due to increased           On the weekends, integrate class-
pressure to focus on testing and assess-
ments, teachers devote less classroom
                                             work into your daily errands. For
                                             example, if your child is learning about
                                                                                            Questions to ask
time for experiential learning opportu-      the soil and the climate in science, take
nities or class projects. That’s where a     him to the Saturday morning farmer’s            the teacher:
parent can help.                             market. Practice multiplication skills to
    “Engaging in the learning piece is       tally up the tip at a restaurant.            Have you noticed my child strug-
key,” says Ashley Norris, Ph.D., assistant
dean, University of Phoenix College of
                                                “Parents (then) become a partner           gling with a particular subject?
                                             with the teacher. Once that engage-
Education.
                                             ment starts to happen, the perception             Does she participate in
                                                                                               classroom discussions?
                                                                                          How does she seem to get along
                                                                                                   with her peers?
                                                                                          How can we work together to
                                                                                             help my child better adjust?

                                                                                         of the student-teacher relationship
                                                                                         changes,” Norris says.

                                                                                             Signs of a child-teacher
                                                                                                     conflict
                                                                                             “The single biggest factor is a
                                                                                         change in grades. If grades are starting
                                                                                         to slip, that’s a huge indicator,” Norris
                                                                                         says.
                                                                                             Behavior changes, including disen-
      Call (724)643-1180                                                                 gagement at school, forgetting home-
                                                                                         work and lack of effort, can also indicate
            or visit our website                                                         a problem.
        to learn more about
      personalizing your child’s                                                             Resolving a personality
                                                                                                     conflict
              learning experience.
                                                                                             Rather than getting angry or defen-
                                                                                         sive, take a calm, diplomatic approach
                                                                                         when conferencing with the teacher.
                                                                                             “The last thing you want to do is
                                                                                         instigate more conflict between the
                                                                                         teacher and your child and if you start
                                                    The Learning Never Stops
                                                                                         to pick sides, that’s what ends up hap-
                                                                                         pening,” Norris says.

26      JANUARY 2021                            Elementary & Secondary                                PittsburghParent.com
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    Also, ask if you can sit                                                                                      learning how to manage person-
in during class one day.                                                                                          ality differences.
                                                                                                                      “In my humble opinion, I
   “Your presence might
                                                                                                                  don’t think it’s a good idea to
change the nature of how
                                                                                                                  show children that because
your child acts, but it will
                                                                                                                  there’s a problem then they need
give you a flavor of how
                                                                                                                  to move from that classroom,”
the teacher teaches,”
                                                                                                                  Mihalas says.
Mihalas says.
                                                                                                                      Instead teach flexibility by
  When to contact                                                                                                 creating a link between friend-
   administration                                                                                                 ships and getting along with
                                                                                                                  others. For a younger child, you
    Go over a teacher’s
                                                                                                                  might say: “Everyone is different.
head only as a last resort.
                                                                                                                  Just as mommy and daddy do
“One of the only times to
                                                                                                                  things differently, this is how your
bring in administration is
                                                                                                                  teacher is. It’s really good to learn
if your child is covered by
                                                                                                                  how to work with all different
special education law and
                                                                                                                  kinds of people.”
the teacher isn’t following
special ed law,” Mihalas
says.
                                                                                                                    Seek professional help
    Other times you might                                                                                            If interventions at school are
seek help from administra-                                                                                       unsuccessful, seek help from a
tion:                                                                                                            child psychologist to rule out
                                                           Request a different                            learning disabilities and anxiety. n
   • T he teacher agreed on a set of
      interventions, but isn’t following                        teacher
      those strategies.                                                                                      Freelance journalist Christa Melnyk
                                                      Sometimes a child’s personality and                 Hines is the mom of two school-age
   • Your child comes home crying                a teacher’s personality simply clashes.                 boys. Her latest book is Happy, Healthy
      every day.                                  Unless the teacher is abusive, help your                & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful
   • You talk with the teacher, but              child understand that she’s not always                  Communicator in a Digital World.
      you’re unable to resolve the issue.         going to like everyone, stressing the
                                                  importance of remaining respectful and

PittsburghParent.com                                   Elementary & Secondary                                              JANUARY 2021           27
Enrichment

Finding the right after-school activity             By Denise Morrison Yearian

                                                                                                           6 Count the cost.
                                                                                                           Think about uniforms,
                                                                                                           trips and other ex-
                                                                                                           penses not covered in
                                                                                                           the initial fee.

                                                                                                           7 Get recommenda-
                                                                                                           tions. Talk with your
                                                                                                           child’s school adminis-
                                                                                                           tration. If you are look-
                                                                                                           ing for a physical activ-
                                                                                                           ity, the PE teacher may
                                                                                                           have some ideas. If it’s
                                                                                                           a music, the school’s
                                                                                                           music teacher might
                                                                                                           give you a lead. The
                                                                                                           guidance counselor
                                                                                                           may be of assistance
                                                                                                           too. Also get feedback
                                                                                                           from friends and family
                                                                                                           members regarding
                                                                                                           programs their children
                                                                                         have been in. Are they happy with it?

                                             3
                                                                                         Is there anything they don’t like about
     ids’ interests and activities are as
      diverse as the children themselves.
                                                Explore through exposure. Expose         it? How often are practices, lessons
                                             him to various activities and events.       or meetings? Is there any one-on-one
      Just as the right activity can build                                               instruction?
                                             Within this, provide him with a balance
       self-esteem and provide hours

                                                                                         8 Find a good match.
                                             of both group and individual activities.
of enjoyment, the wrong one can lead
                                             Ask for his feedback and follow his lead.
to feelings of failure, frustration and                                                                         Look for a pro-

                                             4
fatigue. So how do you find the right                                                    gram that aligns with your goals and ob-
extracurricular activity for your child?        Get a physical. Before starting any      jectives. Consider class size; instructors’

 1 Watch him play. Consider his
                                             athletic program, take your child for       experience; frequency and duration of
                                             a physical exam to detect vision or         lessons, practices or meetings; and cur-
                                             hearing problems or other medical           riculum and philosophy.
interests, temperament and personality.

                                                                                         9 Stop in.
                                             conditions that may make it difficult to
Does he like constant physical activity or
                                             participate in the activity.
quieter experiences?                                                                                    If the program has ongoing

                                             5 Consider time commitments.
                                                                                         instruction, ask if you can stop by for a

2 Look at strengths and weaknesses.
Would she like to fine-tune those
                                             much family time is committed now?
                                                                                How      visit. Sit in on a session and observe it
                                                                                         in progress. Does the instructor interact
                                                                                         with the students? Does he use posi-
                                             How much will this activity entail? Will
strengths or are there areas of weakness                                                 tive reinforcement? Are the students
                                             personal practice time be expected?
that could be improved with instruction?                                                 listening and attentive? Do they seem

28      JANUARY 2021                                      Enrichment                                   PittsburghParent.com
happy? Is the program geared for the
skill and developmental level of the
children?

10   Ask about introductory classes.
Many ongoing programs offer introduc-
tory classes with no commitment. This
allows your child to become familiar
with the program and serves as a
screening process to see if the instructor
is running the program at the children’s
level.

 11 Review commitments. Talk with
your child about the commitment she
                                                                                            MUSIC
                                                                                            PREPARATORY
                                                                                            SCHOOL
is making to the activity before enroll-
ment. Is she willing to go to games,
practices, classes or meetings? Will she           • Ages 4 through 18
commit to investing personal practice
time, if called for? Will she participate in       • Private lessons in piano, strings, guitar and percussion
fundraisers?                                       • Classes in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Music Theory,

12 Persevering points to ponder.
If your child wants to quit an activity,
                                                     Improvisation, and more
                                                   • Young Artists Orchestra, Group String Classes, and
consider your personal view on making                Beginning Piano Program
him persevere. Is this a repeated pat-
tern that needs to be addressed? Will it
affect the rest of the team or group if he                                FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:

leaves? Is it detrimental to your child’s               412-268-3667 | music-preparatory@andrew.cmu.edu
health and well-being to continue?                                       music.cmu.edu
13 Keep schedules open.     Children
need free playtime and downtime as
much as they need scheduled activities.
Avoid over scheduling your child with
too many activities and watch for signs
that she may be too taxed. If this hap-
pens, reevaluate current commitments
and look for ways to cut back.

14       Rehash unsuccessful endeavors.
                                               PRE-COLLEGE PROGRAM
If at first you don’t succeed, talk it over.                                                         “This program was absolutely
Ask your child what he didn’t like about
                                               THE CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF
                                                                                                      life-changing for me. I came
the activity, so you don’t repeat the          MUSIC PRE-COLLEGE offers high school students the      out a better musician but
mistake when choosing a new activity.          opportunity to be part of an innovative fine arts      an even better person.
Is it the instructor? Other kids in the        community immersed in a top research university.       The training and the
program? The activity itself?                                                                         immersive college life were
                                               Our unique 2021 online program provides high           like nothing else, even

15 Try something new.          If your child
has taken up an athletic activity, such as
                                               school musicians the opportunity to continue
                                               learning and furthering their skills while staying
                                                                                                      coming from a boarding
                                                                                                      school background. Brava.”

                                               safe and healthy. Students get to discover their      —former Pre-College Voice Student

soccer, but didn’t like it try a different
sport. If he played the saxophone and          potential for a career in music, study with CMU       AREAS OF STUDY
it wasn’t a good fit, try a new instru-        instructors, learn how to navigate the college        Instrumental Performance
                                                                                                     Vocal Performance
ment. Or choose something completely           audition process, and connect with other young        Music Composition
different. The point is, give your child       musicians over a three- or six-week program.          Music Technology
a variety of experiences and maybe he
will find something he truly enjoys. n

    Denise Morrison Yearian is a former
educator and editor of two parenting
magazines, as well as the mother of
three children and six grandchildren.

                                               MUSIC.CMU.EDU/PRECOLLEGE
PittsburghParent.com                                  Enrichment                                     JANUARY 2021                        29
Solo sports for
   introverted and shy
   kids – Here’s where
            their abilities
            shine through                                                                             Gymnastics improves
                                                                                                      strength, flexibility,
                        By Kimberly Blaker                                                            balance and cognitive
                                                                                                       functioning, among
          here’s no doubt; team sports offer kids an array of
          benefits. Team sports provide opportunities for kids to                                        other benefits.
       develop friendships, work as a team, problem-solve, learn
       good sportsmanship and much more.
    But team sports aren’t for everyone. Many kids, particularly
those who are introverted or shy, struggle with or lack interest
in team sports. When kids aren’t into team sports, parents often
get caught up in an endless battle – with their kids kicking and
screaming to every practice and game.
    So the question is, should parents push their unenthused kids
into team sports if their kids are adamant they want no part of it?
Encouraging kids to participate in some form of extracurricular
activity is undoubtedly a good idea. Such activities can provide
kids valuable learning opportunities while also keeping them fit.
But if your child is introverted, social or group experiences can
be particularly stressful and mentally exhausting.
    So what can you do to help your child get in some fitness and
develop motor skills while still allowing your child to be true to              Tai-Chi, karate, kickboxing,
himself or herself? There are plenty of sports and physical activi-             wrestling, Taekwondo, Aikido and Jiu-Jitsu. Through martial
ties that aren’t as mentally taxing, yet they provide kids plenty of            arts, in addition to learning self-defense, kids learn self-
benefits.                                                                       discipline and fine-tune their motor skills.
                                                                                    Gymnastics. The most popular form of gymnastics
                          Solo sports                                           is artistic, which includes floor exercise, balance beam,
   Martial arts. This sport is divided into the categories of                   vault, uneven bars, still rings and parallel bars. There’s also
wrestling, striking, grappling and weaponry. Many disciplines                   rhythmic, which combines dance and gymnastics moves to
use a combination of these categories, so it’s a good idea to                   music. Aerobic gymnastics is yet another form. Gymnastics
look into several disciplines. Then let your child help decide                  improves strength, flexibility, balance and cognitive func-
which style to try. Some of the most popular forms include judo,                tioning, among other benefits.
                                                                                    Ice skating. Speed skating is one form of ice skating
                                                                                                    your child can learn. But there’s also figure
                                                                                                    skating, which includes single skating, pair
                                       GYMKHANA GYMNASTICS                                          skating, ice dancing and synchronized
                                   WEXFORD POINT BREEZE MONROEVILLE BETHEL PARK                     skating. This sport provides a cardiovas-
                                                                                                    cular workout while improving flexibility,
                                                                                                    balance and endurance. It’s also a great
                                                                                                    way to develop leg muscles.
                                                                                                        Skateboarding. This solo sport has
                                                                                                    numerous forms, including, but not lim-
                                                  Winter Classes                                    ited to, slalom, freestyle, street, off-road,
                                                                                                    vert and park. Skateboarding offers many
                                              Begin February 1st!                                   benefits including overall fitness, endur-
                                          GYMNASTICS DEVELOPMENT ages 4+                            ance, precision and as many a skateboard-
                                         RECREATIONAL GYMNASTICS ages 6+                            er will attest, increased pain tolerance.
                                               GYM & LEARN CAMP ages 5+                                 Bicycling. This is an excellent form of
                                  Offerings vary by location. All programs meet  CDC  guidelines.
                                                                                                    exercise that improves strength, coordina-
 WWW.GYMKHANAFUN.COM
                                                                                                    tion and flexibility. There are several forms
30      JANUARY 2021                                           Enrichment                                         PittsburghParent.com
of bicycling that might appeal to
     your kids, such as distance endur-
     ance cycling, mountain biking and
     stunt riding.
         Archery. Although archery
     might appear to be a passive sport,
     it offers several benefits, including
     improving balance, coordination,
     upper body strength and mental
     focus. Also, during competitions, ar-
     chers get plenty of exercise as they
     often walk up to five miles.
         Dance. Many people argue
     dance isn’t a sport. Nonetheless, it
     offers many of the same benefits as
     sports. Dancing builds self-confi-
     dence, provides exercise and devel-
     ops balance, stamina and strength.
     Forms of dance include tap, ballet,
     jazz, modern, hip-hop, swing, Latin,
     contra, Irish step dance and more.
         Swimming and diving. Either
     of these might appeal to your
     introverted child. Swimming builds
     strength and endurance while im-
     proving cardiovascular fitness. Div-
     ing improves agility, strengthens the
     upper body, particularly the arms,
     and improves mental focus.
         Golf. For those who walk the
     course and carry their bag, golf is
     an excellent form of exercise. It also
     reduces stress and stimulates the
     brain. Unlike most sports, it has a
     low risk of injury, providing parents
     peace of mind.
         Running. As straightforward as                              Winter
     running may sound, there are sev-
     eral forms from which your kid can
                                                                     Acting Classes
    choose. There’s adventure running,                               Classes begin - January 11th
cross country, road, mountain, track and                             Ages 4 - 17
field, races and marathon. Whatever
the form, it’s an excellent cardiovascular
workout. It also builds endurance, re-                                                                   Early Bird Discounts!
leases stress and is a powerful antide-
pressant.
                                                                                                         Summer
    Skiing. Downhill or cross-country                                                                    Acting Camps
skiing, as well as water skiing, improve
endurance while strengthening the
                                               412-243-6464                                              Camps begin - June 14th
                                                                                                         Ages 4 - 17
                                               www.geminitheater.org

                                              lower body and improving balance. The           mental focus.
Although archery might                        drawback is its feasibility, depending              Inline skating. Although roller-
                                              on your proximity to snow and hills or
 appear to be a passive                       water.
                                                                                              blading first gained popularity with
                                                                                              hockey, it’s been enjoyed equally as a
 sport, it offers several                         Climbing. If you have a tree                leisure or solo sport. Inline skating offers
                                              climber on your hands, rock climb-              nearly as much cardio and muscle-build-
   benefits, including                        ing might be the perfect sport. It may          ing benefits as running but without so
                                              sound dangerous, but certain forms              much impact on the joints. n
   improving balance,                         of climbing are less risky than several
                                              other sports such as hiking, sledding
  coordination, upper                         and snowboarding. This is according to              Kimberly Blaker is a freelance family
                                                                                              writer. She’s also founder and director of
                                              a study reported in the Journal of Wil-
    body strength and                         derness and Environmental Medicine,             KB Creative Digital Services, an internet
                                              volume 19, #2, 2008. Climbing is an             marketing agency, at kbcreativedigital.
      mental focus.                           excellent cardiovascular workout, tones         com
                                              and strengthens muscles and improves

PittsburghParent.com                                      Enrichment                                        JANUARY 2021             31
Special Education
Make your child’s IEP meeting a success
                                            Courtesy of the Episcopal Center for Children

 ndividualized Education                                                                                  ments. These may include the
  Plan (IEP) meetings are                                                                                 IEP, a behavior intervention
  very important for children                                                                             plan or evaluations of your
  coping with special needs.                                                                              child. Review these documents
These meetings outline goals                                                                              carefully before the meeting.
for the child’s education and                                                                                 Question #3: Does this
treatment, and it guides how                                                                              plan address my child’s educa-
services will be provided.                                                                                tion and treatment needs?
    IEPs establish how the child                                                                          Are the goals and objectives
will be educated and outlines                                                                             clear? Before the meeting,
goals for the child, interven-                                                                            carefully review draft docu-
tions and any accommoda-                                                                                  ments and write down your
tions and services that will be                                                                           questions and notes. Review
provided. Review IEP meeting                                                                              the diagnosis and examine
documents in advance. An IEP                                                                              the plan carefully to see how
meeting brings together the entire IEP         10 days before the IEP meeting, you            it addresses your child’s needs. Ask for
team assisting your child – educators,         should receive a letter of invitation. As      clarification of education or treatment
treatment providers, parents, the Local        soon as you can, RSVP for the meet-            jargon if needed. Goals and objectives
Education Agency (LEA) representative          ing in writing. Inform the school if you       should be clear in the plan.
and others. Parents and guardians are          will attend the meeting in person or by            Question #4: When will services
an important part of that team. You are        phone. If you are not available to attend      be offered? Make sure you understand
there to be an advocate for your child.        the meeting at the proposed time, sug-         start date(s), how long services are
    Parents and guardians to ask the           gest alternative dates and times, as well      offered and the procedures involved.
right questions before, during and after       as locations.                                  Determine how frequently services are
an IEP meeting.                                    Question #2: What documents will           offered.
    Question #1: When is the IEP meet-         be discussed at the IEP meeting? At                Question #5: Is my child progress-
ing and how will I participate? At least       least five business days before the IEP        ing toward a goal in the plan? And will
                                               meeting, you should receive draft docu-        the plan help my child progress? If your
                                                                                              child is not progressing toward a goal as
                                                                                              you had hoped, ask how this will be ad-
 It’s not just what they learn . . .                                                          dressed, or if a goal should be revised.
                                                                                                  Question #6: When will I be up-
  Pace School’s special                                                                       dated on my child’s progress? The plan
  education programming                                                                       should indicate when you will be updat-
  is woven together with                                                                      ed. If you want more frequent updates
  our Positive Learning and                                                                   on progress during the school year,
  Integrated Design (PLAID).                                                                  you can request additional updates be
  Students gain knowledge                                                                     added to the plan for you.
  using creativity, resources                                                                     Question #7: What else can be
  and through individualized    www.paceschool.org                                            done to assist my child? If you think
  instruction.                                               . . . but how they learn it.     something else might help your child,
                                                                                              come prepared to discuss it. Write
                                             We believe every child should be future-ready!   down any proposed changes to the IEP
                                                                                              and any information you would like to
                                                                                              add.
32        JANUARY 2021                                  Special Education                                  PittsburghParent.com
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