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Back-to-School Tips for Families on Straight Talk with Mike Gimbel

After 18 months of virtual learning, students are headed back to the classroom. Our hope is that this year establishes some kind of return to normalcy for our City Schools staff, students and their families.

To help students and families start the school year off right, Angelique Jessup Ph.D., Program Director at the Fund; Shana McIver, Director of Family Engagement at Baltimore City Public Schools; and Nerissa Holder Hall, founder of Mirror Mirror Books, shared tips and advice for families regarding returning school and making sure that families and students are ready academically and socio-emotionally on Straight Talk with Mike Gimbel.

Take a look at the featured guests’ advice for families:

Family Engagement and Advocating for Your Child

  • Make sure your child is going to school every day. Attendance must be a priority.
  • Families should be aware of their child’s academic standing. At City Schools, families can access their child’s grades and progress through the Campus Portal.


  • Reflect on and take note of concerns from the past year and talk to your child’s teacher. Communicate what kind of student learner they are and who they are as kids.
  • At back-to-school night be prepared with questions about what the academics look like for the school year–what will they learn, what should they be mastering, and what are the milestones.

Seek Resources:

  • Teachers are ready and willing to partner with families to improve their child’s learning, reach out to your child’s teacher for additional academic supports.
  • City Schools available resources:
    • Family Engagement Call Center (410-545-1870): A Family Community Engagement Care Specialist is available to connect parents to school-based and city-based resources.
    • Family University: A collection of quick-tip videos and resources for families designed to increase engagement while fostering academic success and social-emotional growth.

Easing Your Child’s Anxieties about Returning to In-Person Learning
Set the Tone: Families need to set the tone of excitement and encouragement so that their child knows they are supported and safe.

Prepare: Preparing your child in advance with practical information about COVID protocol and safety is an empowering way to reduce anxiety and improve resilience.

Be Patient: Allow your child to acclimate on their own time and be sure to provide any comforts they might need as they adjust.

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