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Office of the Superintendent

March 30, 2020

Dear Families,

In response to Governor Mike DeWine’s extension of the school closure, Cincinnati Public Schools’ buildings will remain closed through at least May 1, 2020.

However, teaching and learning will continue. We have been working for weeks to ensure that students can continue their studies remotely. We also are prepared to serve students who do not have access to technology or internet at home.

Our meal distribution program will continue, as well as the services we offer to students with special learning needs. A limited number of our School-Based Health Centers will remain open, and you can find a list of those locations on our website at cps-k12.org.

To keep students engaged in learning, we will launch our Remote Learning Plan for all students, grades preschool to 12. Included will be digital lessons, hard-copy Enrichment Learning Packets, resources for parents, tips for structuring the school day, and more. We also are exploring opportunities to broadcast academic lessons through cable partners to ensure that content gets to as many students as possible. We will be releasing more information about our Remote Learning Plan later this week.

As we navigate these challenging times, I remain hopeful. Our school family – including teachers, staff and community volunteers – has truly stepped up for our city’s young people. So far, we have given out more than 50,000 meals and countless hygiene kits. Our teachers are instructing from their homes and are reaching out to students without online access. It is clear that our passion for empowering the next generation of world leaders has only grown stronger.

I also am grateful to you, our parents and guardians. I know this hasn’t been easy. But I am hopeful today because I know that we can get through this together.

The challenge of educating more than 37,000 students without classrooms is momentous. But, I am confident that learning in Cincinnati Public Schools will continue. We are #CPSUnited, and we will come through this stronger than ever before.

Please continue to visit our website at cps-k12.org for important updates. We will have much more information to share in the weeks to come.

Sincerely,

Laura Mitchell, Superintendent

Education Center · P.O. Box 5381 · Cincinnati, OH 45201-5381 · 513-363-0050 · Fax: 513-363-0060 · cps-k12.org


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Mental Health Supports

Parent Tips: Talking about suicide and depression with children

Here are tips to help parents have this important and tough chat with their children:

1. Review the facts first.

Chances are a suicide story will be discussed at school or amongst your child’s peers, so review the story before you talk. More often than not, the stories your child hears will not be accurate and can fuel anxiety. That’s why you need to clarify the facts

2. Begin with a simple question or direct statement.

A few ways to start the dialogue: “Have you heard the sad news about the girls who killed themselves?” or “What are your friends saying?” or “Let’s talk about what you just saw on the news."

3. Be honest and direct, but careful.

Give the details your child needs to know. Withhold facts or details that are not in your child’s best interests. Be prepared for lots of questions — or none at all. Clear up any misunderstandings about suicide, depression or death that your child may have. If you don’t have an answer, just admit you don’t know and say you’ll get back with the answer. The key is to keep that conversation going!

4. Describe depression.

“I want to talk to you about suicide and depression.” Your talking points might include stressing that depression is not a phase, nor something kids can shrug off by themselves. Depression is a serious disease that needs treatment by a medical doctor.

To help your child see the difference between normal sadness and depression, apply the word “too” in your talk: "The sadness is too deep." "The depression lasts too long or happens too often." "It interferes with too many other areas of your life, such as your home, school, friends."

The best news is, when depression is diagnosed early and properly treated, kids almost always feel better.

Say to your child: “If you ever feel so sad or scared or helpless, please come and tell me so we can work together to make things right. Depression is treatable."

5. Be prepared to be unprepared.

There is no way of predicting how your child will respond to such a tough subject. The key is to answer any or all questions as they emerge. Let your child know you are always available to listen or help.

6. Talk about cyber-bullying.

Emphasize that you recognize bullying and cyber-bullying is a growing and serious problem. Ask how often bullying is happening at school, what the school’s bullying policy is and how safe your child feels. Stress that cyber-bullying is painful and that intentionally causing another child pain is never acceptable.

Use your chat as an opportunity to review your rules about Internet and cell phone usage. Talk about the dangers of posting anything that is hurtful — that there are no “take backs” and that hurtful actions can have horrific consequences.

Also, tell your child to come and tell you if he/she is ever cyber-bullied. Beware that ‘tweens’ or teens say they fear telling parents because they do not want computer privileges removed. Be careful so you do not sound too punitive. Instead, tell the child to print out the evidence and you will contact the server to change the passwords.

There are blogs that cover cyber-safety issues, with information on how to monitor your child’s online history and how to spot signs that your child is being cyber-bullied.

7. Teach “Tattling” vs. “Reporting.”

When it comes to preventing tragedies, kids may well be the best detectors: The majority of adolescents who commit homicide or suicide share their intentions with a peer.

Impress on your child the importance of telling an adult any legitimate concerns with the guarantee that their report will be taken seriously. Telling an adult that someone is hurt or could get in trouble is not the same as tattling: It’s acting responsibly. Explain that reporting is not to get a friend in trouble but to help the friend stay out of trouble or harm.

8. Discuss “safety nets.”

Identify adults that your child feels safe with, other people they can talk to when issues arise. Emphasize that people are always available to help your child and their friends with any kind of trouble.

Mention the 24-hour, confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-784-2433 or 800-273-8255, with trained people available who will listen and help kids any hour of any day.

Above all, emphasize: “No problem is so great that it can’t be solved.”

Parent Tips: Printable PDF

Mental Health Supports — Summer 2017

Cincinnati Public Schools supports student well-being by providing resources and information to help parents, students, teachers and families in navigating sensitive areas such as mental health and violence.

Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parent and Teachers

National Association of School Phsychologists

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