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Cincinnati Public Schools

Dear CPS Community,

Thank you for your guidance and feedback as we prepare for a return to school in the fall. We began planning in April, and we are grateful for the outpouring of questions, perspectives and ideas that have been shared in the last several weeks and months.

We heard you through participation in planning committees, focus groups and our survey of more than 6,200 employees, parents, students and community members. We have seen record-breaking participation in recent board meetings.

Earlier today, the CPS Board of Education approved a go-forward plan that we believe provides the best balance of safety and academic success for our students. This plan will return students to in-person instruction 2–3 days per week. Because no plan that includes classroom instruction is completely without health risk, we encourage families for whom in-person instruction does not make sense to explore our Cincinnati Digital Academy for the 2020–2021 school year.

Future of Schools Plan

Our guiding principles — safety and health, as much in-person learning as possible, equity, data-driven decision making and fiscal responsibility — remain at the forefront of our planning process.

Our return to school plan includes three important components:

1. Blended Learning

This model includes dividing our students into two groups in order to maintain the CDC's recommended six-feet of social distancing. Each group will receive a minimum of two-days per week in class (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) and will alternate attending in-person on Wednesdays. On days that students are not in the classroom, they will utilize remote learning. Students will stay in their schools, and will not spread across other buildings or community spaces.

2. Cincinnati Digital Academy

For parents and guardians concerned about their family’s or their student’s health in an in-person school environment, a full-time digital learning option is available. Our Cincinnati Digital Academy offers a K–12 curriculum which includes both virtual time with teachers and digital classroom lessons.

We are glad to have this option already in our portfolio of choices for our CPS families, as many districts are working to quickly launch a fully online option. We are spending the summer enhancing the curriculum and ensuring that we are prepared for a potential increase in enrollment.

Importantly, students who enroll in Cincinnati Digital Academy for the upcoming academic year will be able retain their position in their current CPS school for the following year. Families can also make this choice on a semester-by-semester basis. We encourage families who are interested in an existing, accredited fully-remote option to explore our Digital Academy.

If you’re considering this option, please complete our interest form and a Cincinnati Digital Academy representative will contact you.

3. The ability to quickly flex to remote learning.

Throughout both the summer and academic year, we will continue to follow guidance from Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Board of Education and the Hamilton County Health Department regarding the overall health and transmission risk within our state and the community. We are prepared to transition to a completely remote environment should that be necessary.

It’s important to note that current CDC guidance recommends schools close for two to five days for deep cleaning and monitoring of symptoms in the event of a confirmed case. Although we are currently making final decisions about when and for how long schools might close in the event of an outbreak, we all need to be prepared to make this transition quickly and smoothly.

We learned a lot during the state closure, and we also received feedback from parents and staff about how to improve the experience. As a result, remote learning will look much different than it did in the spring, including:

  • Detailed requirements in place to ensure a consistent remote learning experience,
  • Clear communication for students and families,
  • Access to technology and Wi-Fi, and
  • More robust paper packets connected to specific curriculum.

Health and Safety Protocols

We understand any return-to-school plan presents risks. For this reason, we are partnering with Cincinnati Children's Hospital to develop health and safety protocols that help protect our employees, students and families as much as possible.

These processes will be based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and any state direction that is provided in the next several weeks. We will be able to share specifics later this summer, and expect these protocols to include:

  • Rigorous prevention techniques, including at-home and in-school health assessments, temperature checks, and staff and student mask-wearing; and
  • Quick decision, communication, and, as necessary, isolation protocols in response to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Access to Technology

Regardless of whether we are in-class or learning remotely, technology and internet access are essential tools for our students. Digital disparities between households is one of the greatest sources of inequity in our district. This is why we are expanding our 1:1 device program, and children grades 2–12 will have a take-home device that is safe and includes the tools needed to work from home.

In addition, we are incredibly grateful to be a part of the Cincinnati Bell "Connect Our Students" program, with support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and other partners. This program will give all CPS students free access to Wi-Fi, and is currently in a pilot phase through July with five of our schools, Rockdale Academy, South Avondale School, Hays-Porter Elementary School, Roberts Academy and Fairview-Clifton German Language School. We expect to be able to launch the full program prior to the start of school.

Please visit our website for more details.

Please Update Your Contact Information

One of the most critical steps you can take today is to ensure your home address, phone and email are updated. Please call your school office; or Customer Care at (513) 363-0123 or email Customer Care to do so. This information is necessary to ensure all families receive updates this summer, including confirming eligibility for free internet connectivity, a survey about whether or not you intend to return your child to an in-person classroom, important by-school details and safety protocols, and transportation.

Upcoming Key Dates

JulyAugust
Launch of Cincinnati Bell 5-school pilot programCincinnati Bell Wi-Fi connectivity program
Parents and guardians update contact information for future communicationsEmployee Return-to-School meeting
Survey for parents to understand plans to return children to schoolState of the Schools, including details about returning to school
Employee meetingsTechnology and safety workshops for parents
Safety protocols finalized in partnership with Cincinnati Children's HospitalTechnology and safety workshops for students
Detailed planning by school 
Devices distributed to students without technology 
Enrollment deadline of July 17 to help ensure transportation for those who qualify 

Summer Communication Timeline

The Future is Now

While the 2020–2021 school year will be different, it creates new opportunities for us to be more innovative and flexible than ever. And through it all, our commitment will remain the same, preparing our students for life through academic achievement, personal well-being and career readiness. We will come out of this together stronger and better than ever. Thank you for your support along the way.

Sincerely,


Laura Mitchell
Superintendent

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Report Bullying

Frequently Asked Questions About Bullying

What is Bullying?

Most children have been teased by a sibling or friend at some point. It’s usually not harmful when done in a playful, friendly and mutual way – and when both children find it funny. When teasing becomes hurtful, unkind and constant, it crosses the line into bullying.

Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself (Olweus Bullying Prevention Program).

More specifically, according to the Olweus program, “bullying, harassment or intimidation” means either: violence within a dating relationship, or any intentionally written, electronic act (an act committed through the use of cellular telephone, computer, pager, personal communication device or other electronic communication device), verbal, graphic or physical act that a student or group of students exhibit more than once toward another student(s) and the behavior:

  • Causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s).
  • Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).

Bullying, harassment or intimidation includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by the district or state educational agency. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the above mentioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.

Bullying involves an imbalance of power. In a bullying situation, the student who is exposed to the negative actions has difficulty defending himself and is somewhat helpless against the student who is bullying. The student may actually be physically or emotionally weaker than the other student, or may perceive that they are physically or emotionally weaker (Olweus Bullying Prevention Program).

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology, which includes devices and equipment such as cellphones, computers and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat and websites. Examples of cyberbullying include posting slurs on websites where students congregate or on web logs (personal online journals or diaries); sending abusive or threatening instant messages; using camera phones to take embarrassing photographs of students and posting them online; using websites to circulate gossip and rumors to other students; and excluding others from an online group by falsely reporting them for inappropriate language to internet service providers.

What is Cincinnati Public Schools’ Anti-Bullying, Anti-Harassment and Anti-Intimidation Policy?

Cincinnati Public Schools Board Policy 5517.01 states that bullying, harassment and intimidation of any student, by any means, by any student or school personnel, on school property, at a school-sponsored event or on school-provided transportation, is strictly prohibited. Disciplinary action, including the possibility for suspension or expulsion, will be taken against any student found responsible for harassment, intimidation or bullying.

What Should I Do if I Think My Child is Being Bullied?

Options for reporting incidents of bullying include:

  • At the school site, the parent identifies the concern and brings that concern to teacher, principal or other school staff member. If preferred, a parent can choose to make an anonymous report at the school site or call the Customer Care Center at (513) 363-0123.
  • Parents also can contact CPS' Customer Care Center, or visit in person at our district headquarters, 2651 Burnet Avenue, Corryville (45219). If a parent’s concern was not resolved satisfactorily, the Customer Care Center will take the concern to the appropriate Assistant Superintendent.

Steps will be taken to protect a victim or other person from new or additional harassment, intimidation or bullying and from retaliation following a report.

What Are the Warning Signs?

There are several warning signs that could indicate that your child is experiencing bullying at school. Please be alert for:

  • An unexpected drop in grades and/or interest.
  • Unusual moodiness, depression, anxiety or crying.
  • Frequent headaches or stomachaches.
  • Loss of appetite or trouble sleeping.
  • Damaged or missing clothing, books, or other belongings.
  • Unexpected bruises, cuts or scratches.
  • Few or no friends.
  • Fear of going to school, riding the bus, or walking to/from school.
  • Taking an illogical or long route home.

How Can I Support my Child if He is Being Bullied?

(Olweus Bullying Prevention Program)

  • Never tell your child to ignore the bullying.
  • Don’t blame your child for the bullying.
  • Allow your child to talk about his or her bullying experiences and write down what is shared.
  • Empathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong, that it is not his/her fault, and that you are glad he/she had the courage to tell you.
  • If you disagree with how your child handled the situation, don’t criticize him or her.  It is often very difficult for children to know how to respond best.
  • Do not encourage physical retaliation.
  • Check your emotions. Although it is difficult, step back and consider the next steps carefully.
  • Contact a teacher, principal, or the Customer Care Center at your school immediately and share your concerns about the bullying that your child has experienced.
  • Work closely with school personnel to help solve the problem.
  • Encourage your child to develop interests and hobbies that will help build resiliency in difficult situations.
  • Encourage your child to make contact with friendly students in his/her class, or help your child meet new friends outside of school.
  • Teach your child safety strategies, such as how to seek help from an adult.
  • Make sure your child has a safe and loving home environment.
  • If you or your child need additional help, seek it from a mental health professional.

Local Resources

Council on Child Abuse 
Ohio Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies 
The Girls Guide to End Bullying
YWCA- The Family Violence Prevention Project

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