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2020 Kids First National Conference to Address the Needs of the Whole Child During COVID-19

2020 Kids First National Conference to Address the Needs of the Whole Child During COVID-19

The Children’s Guild Alliance in collaboration with Towson University’s department of special education will present the inaugural Kids First National Conference on Oct. 26 and 27, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT each day. The virtual conference will equip educators, child-serving professionals and families with strategies to support and engage children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we grapple with how to deliver education and care for our children and families in a COVID-19 world, we must rethink how we do our work and transform the way America cares for and educates its children,” said Andrew Ross, president and CEO of The Children’s Guild Alliance. “This year demands transformation and innovation, our focus at the Kids First National Conference, where we’ll present strategies that address the needs of the whole child.”

The conference will feature child and educational experts, including the keynote speakers:

  • Robert Jackson will present “Power of the Educator: Becoming Culturally Aware of Staff and Students.” Jackson received the 2019 Motivational Educator of the Year Award and has written six books, including his latest book, “Becoming the Educator They Need: Strategies, Mindsets and Beliefs for Supporting Male Black and Latino Students,” released last year. An expert in teaching cultural diversity, restorative practices, socio-emotional learning and retaining troubled students in school, he delivers keynote addresses and workshops across the country.
  • Joe Sanfelippo will present “Hacking Leadership: Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.” Sanfelippo is the superintendent of the Fall Creek School District in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, which was named an Innovative District in 2016 and 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education. He co-authored “The Power of Branding: Telling Your School’s Story,” “Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age,” and “Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love.”

Other speakers include career child advocate Frank Kros, Stephen F. Austin State University Assistant Professor Jim Ewing, veteran administrator and author Shauna King and educator Steve Parese.

The conference will offer 150 workshops and panels to address challenges, innovations and transformation strategies in serving the whole child. Interactive sessions will cover topics on leadership; education; juvenile justice; mental health; and family, children and adolescent issues. Networking events and opportunity to review sessions on demand will also be offered.

In addition, The Children’s Guild Alliance will host a preconference from Oct. 18 to 25 with workshops and keynote presentations about innovation and transformation. Speakers come from organizations including The Children’s Guild Alliance, Zoom, Four Rivers Media, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Oral Roberts University.

Participants who register for the conference’s Leadership Track will join other leaders and sessions will present innovative ideas and promote reflection to help participants move their organizations forward in both the COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 landscapes. Leadership Track participants will develop a work plan to drive transformation in their organizations, schools, districts, communities, states or nationally. Leaders will gain insight and ideas from outside of their fields, generating solutions from multiple perspectives.

Conference participants will receive a certificate of attendance and Category I social work continuing education units. For more information and registration, visit KidsFirstConference.org.

New Issue of Transformation Highlights our COVID-19 Response

New Issue of Transformation Highlights our COVID-19 Response

The coronavirus pandemic has brought many challenges to life as we know it. Our new issue of Transformation highlights how The Children’s Guild Alliance has responded and continues to put kids first during these unprecedented times. We share stories about our staff and how they developed new ways to deliver education, services, and operations. Learn how our educators adapted to distance learning and connected with students and personalize their virtual learning.

 Join us as we reimagine The Kids First Celebration as a virtual event and redirect the funds raised to support our Chromebook campaign. Learn about our new Chromebook initiative established to provide every student with the technology they need to access online learning.

 Of special interest is our recent launch of food distribution centers in Annapolis and Washington, D.C. Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on food insecure communities, we have pivoted our services to ensure the families and communities we serve continue to be fed.

 We invite you to read this issue of Transformation and support and celebrate the very real ways The Children’s Guild Alliance is stepping up during these difficult times to meet the needs of the whole child.

TCGDC Announces Distance Learning for Fall 2020 Semester

TCGDC Announces Distance Learning for Fall 2020 Semester

Dear TCGDC Families,

Based upon recommendations from DC Health, to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and families, The Children’s’ Guild DC Public Charter School (TCGDC) will begin the 2020-2021 school year on Monday, August 24, 2020 with distance learning and continue for the first and second quarter through Friday, January 22, 2021.

Distance learning will include instruction five days a week with more live teacher-directed lessons, supplemented by recorded lessons. Small group and individual breakout sessions, delivered by instructional, behavioral, and social-emotional support staff will ensure student growth both academically and behaviorally. We will also be incorporating social-emotional learning strategies in the classroom environment to support students during distance learning. Related services will continue to be delivered through teletherapy. Students with disabilities will receive all special education services agreed upon in their Continuity of Learning Plans.

Depending on health conditions and guidance from DC Health, TCGDC will offer families the option to remain with full-time distance learning or begin delivering hybrid instruction with two days of in-person learning and three days of distance learning as soon as the DC Health advises that is safe to do so. If you would prefer this option, when it becomes available, please notify Mrs. Carter at carterf@childrensguild.org.


Technology Access

We want to ensure all students have the necessary technology devices to access the instructional program and the Internet capacity needed during distance learning. We will be distributing Chromebooks, internet hotspots, and/or headphones for our students who need them prior to the start of the school year. More information on distribution will be sent out in future communications.

Meal Access

If you are having difficulty accessing meals for your children, please email, meals@childrensguild.org. Information on meals for the upcoming school year will be announced soon.

This summer, children’s meals are available at locations throughout the city. There is also grocery distribution for all families at select locations. View the list of locations and service times at: coronavirus.dc.gov/food

Communications

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing a comprehensive video with our families to prepare for the start of the school year and hosting a virtual town hall on Thursday, August 6, 2020. Information will be emailed to families with the time and the link. 

Thank you for your vigilance, understanding, and patience while we continue to navigate these difficult times. We will provide regular updates as more information is made available about our 2020-2021 school year plans. We appreciate your feedback, guidance, and support during this time. As we continue to provide our students with the safest platform for instruction and grow our platform for family support, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at bdaniels@childrensguild.org or Dr. Jackson at jacksonta@childrensguild.org.

Sincerely,
Bryan Daniels, Principal
bdaniels@childrensguild.org
202.774.5442 x 3288

Celebrating Family Appreciation Week

Celebrating Family Appreciation Week

We are excited to celebrate ​The Children’s Guild Alliance’s first “Family Appreciation Week,” June 8-12, 2020 to thank our families for your role in providing distance learning to your child/ren during the sudden closure of schools due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Family Appreciation Week is designed to show our deepest appreciation for your continued partnership in your child/ren’s education.

Our families are our heroes in so many ways, and we value all of you. We have always known families play a vital role in the education of our students, as you love, nurture, protect, teach, provide for, and serve as role models for our students. Strong families, such as yours, provide much needed support and guidance to ensure our students succeed as leaners and members of a global community.

The Children’s Guild Alliance and our schools have always celebrated and honored our families as a key partner in your children’s education. Now, more than ever, families have stepped up, during a time when your child/en need you most. We want to recognize the incredible job our families have done, and the many sacrifices you have made, to ensure your children’s education continued in as meaningful a way as possible, during these truly unprecedented times.

Additionally, follow us on our social media channels with hashtag #FamilyAppreciationWeek2020, as we celebrate our families throughout the week through. You can share too on your social media using #FamilyAppreciationWeek2020.

We thank you for choosing one of our Children’s Guild Alliance schools as the school of choice which allows your children to excel and achieve.

We celebrate you for your vision to see, the courage to try, and the will to succeed. Together, we will create a brighter tomorrow for each our students, transforming the way America cares for and educates its youth.

With gratitude,
Kathy Lane
Chief of Educational Services

Our Message of Solidarity

Our Message of Solidarity

Dear Colleagues and Families,

The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd shouts that in America not everyone is free to walk the streets without being harassed or fearing for their lives. We abhor the hate-inspired speech and actions that treat some lives as disposable and regards acts of violence against the defenseless as routine and normal.

Today, the leadership of The Children’s Guild Alliance stands with our African American colleagues, students, families, and community in America to fight for the rights endowed to all Americans and to affirm their struggle for dignity and respect. We also stand against oppression and intolerance in any form.

The role of The Children’s Guild in fighting this injustice must be what it has always been, providing safe space for all children, their families, modeling zero-tolerance for hatred and bigotry in any form and to confronting it head-on within both our organization and the communities in which we serve. We will seek to live in such a way as to inspire our children to rise above the hatred and intolerance that is far too prevalent among us. We will continue to remove barriers to learning and provide resources for our children to succeed.

The Children’s Guild is more than an agency that provides education and behavioral health services to children and families and training to adults serving children; it has a responsibility to advocate for social justice and challenge the status quo when government bureaucracies establish systems, policies, and regulations that undermine the well-being and best interest of children.

Built into our mission is a process of adult and organizational transformation that teaches children the values and life skills necessary for a successful life. The values throughout our schools and programs emphasize living responsibly, serving causes larger than one’s self, contributing to one’s family and community and to stand up for what is right and just.

Our staff are caring and thoughtful people who live these values and understand that their first responsibility is to assure that The Children’s Guild and the schools and programs it operates is a welcoming place that emanates caring and respect for every child and their family. Visitors and families report that this caring radiates from the staff members, our physical environment, and our foster homes.

Let us renew our commitment to work for justice and racial reconciliation in our society so that what radiates from our employees will one day be experienced by all throughout our country.

Sincerely,

Andrew L. Ross
President & CEO
The Children’s Guild Alliance

The Children’s Guild Alliance Schools Achieves High Engagement in Distance Learning

The Children’s Guild Alliance Schools Achieves High Engagement in Distance Learning

While schools remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, The Children’s Guild Alliance schools in Maryland and Washington, D.C., continue to implement distance learning designed for students with disabilities, providing special education and related services and achieving 85% student engagement.

“Every day missed is a day you don’t get back, especially for our students with disabilities who need consistent, predictable structures and interventions,” said Kathy Lane, chief of educational services for The Children’s Guild Alliance. “We took action immediately following the school-closure announcements, reaching out to every student across our schools and providing them with Chromebooks, Wi-Fi hotspots and the tools needed to continue their education while also ensuring they had access to meals.”

The Children’s Guild Alliance operates special education day schools in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, Monarch Academy  public charter and contract schools with Anne Arundel County Public Schools and The Children’s Guild District of Columbia Public Charter School.

Teachers reach students using online platforms including Google Classroom, Google Hangouts, and Google Meet as well as i-Ready online assessments and individualized instructional programming. Small groups of students connect with teachers and each other daily during morning meetings, lunch groups and multiple 20- to 30-minute instructional periods. They study English and the humanities in the morning and science, technology, engineering and math in the afternoon with a social-emotional wellness period in the middle of the day.

“We set a high expectation for ourselves and students right out of the gate.”

“We set a high expectation for ourselves and students right out of the gate,” Lane said. “Students benefit from a regular routine and continued learning, but we also haven’t lost sight of our greater mission of serving the whole child. We serve children with special needs and they require our best, now more than ever.”

The Children’s Guild Alliance provides teletherapy for families, including one-on-one coaching for parents. The schools have safely continued mental health counseling, behavior intervention for students, mental health, speech and occupational therapy and other services virtually without a reduction in services.

“We are committed to serving our families, pandemic or not, and have developed strong relationships with the parents and caretakers of our students,” Lane said. “Many sit down with their children during instructional time, which is one reason we have seen such high participation rates. Most of our students look forward to interacting with their educators and therapists online as they seek to connect with those who care for them and to provide some sense of normalcy in an unusual and dynamic environment.”

The Children’s Guild Alliance schools created continuity of learning plans for distance learning for students with disabilities with individual education plans (IEPs), which outline educational goals for each student. These individualized continuity of learning plans guide the establishment of learning schedules, virtual lessons and classroom websites, interactive videos, regular communication and staff feedback on student assignments and assessments.

“I’m so proud of what our teachers and students have accomplished under such challenging circumstances,” Lane said. “They’re responding well to distance learning, staying engaged and participating regularly. We’ve created a multitiered system of virtual support and personalized learning that puts kids first.”