The Family Connector
November 18, 2022
Letter From CCS Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon
Dear CCS Community,
Next week is not only Thanksgiving; it is Wellness Week! It is something I initiated last year to prioritize the mental well-being of our teachers, students, and staff. All our school buildings and most of our district operations will be closed for the entire week to give our students and the majority of our workforce a well-deserved break.
As you gather with family and friends to give thanks, I encourage you to also focus on your overall health and wellness. Of the many lessons we have learned over the past few years, we know that nurturing our mental health is essential. That's what this is about – prioritizing the mental well-being of our entire district community, so that we may continue to be the best versions of ourselves to support our students, families, and each other.
Bus Routes Changing After Winter Break
I’d also like to remind everyone that ALL bus routes will be updated effective January 3, when we return from Winter Break. I understand this may be frustrating to many, but it is a necessary step to best serve our students and families, addressing the transportation crisis we have been experiencing since the start of the school year.
Prior to the new bus routes and schedules taking effect, the Transportation team will send out emails and text messages to families with the new routes and schedules. It is important that all CCS families double-check their contact information in the Parent Portal and include a cell phone number for text messages if able.
Even though our schools will be closed, the CCS Transportation Call Center at 614-365-5074 will be open during most of the Thanksgiving and Winter Break to help answer families’ questions. Please visit our website’s Transportation page for more information.
As always, thank you to our families for your continued support and engagement. Your patience and understanding are truly appreciated. I hope you can take time next week to rest and focus on your loved ones.
For our teachers, principals, and staff, thank you for the tireless efforts you continue to put forth each and every day. Your dedication to serving our students and community is truly inspiring.
My goal is that our entire Columbus City Schools family can enjoy Wellness Week, and use this time to focus on what should always be a top priority - YOUR wellness!
On a final note, congratulations to our Safety and Security team for their new labor union contract with the Board of Education, as OAPSE Local 581! Thank you for your leadership in our Safer Together initiative, for your commitment to building positive relationships with our students and families, and for ensuring safe learning and working environments for our CCS community!
I look forward to seeing everyone on Monday, November 28, rested, recharged, and ready to finish 2022 strong!
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools
Holiday Health & Wellness Tips
The Columbus City Schools Health Services Team would like to take a moment to provide an update on the current respiratory viral season and share tips on keeping all of us healthy through the holidays and upcoming winter months.
The flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) season have hit early here in Columbus and around the country. The current surge in these new viruses alongside our continued cases of COVID-19 has led to many children and families becoming ill with respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose, fever, and even shortness of breath. Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones healthy during our upcoming holiday season!
- Did you know that only about 10% of people have gotten the latest COVID vaccine bivalent booster? This booster dose is an important way to protect yourself from serious complications of COVID-19 and is available for adults and children ages 5 years and older.
- The flu shot is also now available and can be given alone or with the COVID vaccine booster. Please consider vaccinating the whole family for added protection this winter.
- Holiday traditions and time with family are an important way for all of us to recharge during wellness week. As you celebrate, please consider these tips to stay safe and healthy:
- Wash your hands frequently;
- Stay home if you are sick and/or have a fever;
- Consider distancing and wearing a mask if you have mild symptoms or are considered high risk.
As a reminder, if your student has symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, headache, congestion, vomiting or diarrhea, please keep them home and consult with their physician. Staying home when sick lowers the risk of spreading infectious illness to others and their school community. Children who come to school with symptoms of COVID-19 may be sent home. The District is still following its COVID-19 Protocol, which can be found on our website at our Health Hub.
Transportation Update: Bus Routes are Changing After Winter Break
Transportation Reliability Improvement Measures
Safely busing more than 38,000 students in Columbus each day to school and back home is a priority for the Columbus City Schools Transportation team. Just as important is our ability to be a reliable partner with parents and families, school staff, and stakeholders. However, the combined impacts of a national shortage of bus drivers and a routing software misstep created an unprecedented challenge to our transportation reliability.
We appreciate the grace shown by our community so far this school year as we’ve worked through this challenge, but we also understand the frustration and difficulty it’s placed on many of our families. That’s why we are implementing unprecedented measures to improve our transportation reliability moving forward.
Our Transportation Reliability Improvement Measures (TRIM) include the following:
1. Improving Bus Route Management
(Versatrans by TylerTechnologies) https://www.ccsoh.us/transportation
We are undertaking an unprecedented mid-year action to update ALL bus routes across the city, effective January 3. This means nearly every student who currently receives yellow bus transportation in Columbus (both CCS students and Charter/Non-Public students) will likely have a new bus driver, new pick-up and drop-off times, and/or a new bus stop location.
Is Your Parent Portal Account Activated?
Stay engaged in your child’s education by setting up and signing into the Columbus City Schools Parent Portal. Through the Parent Portal, you’ll be able to securely access valuable information on your student(s):
- Teacher Contact
- Grades and Course Schedules
- Daily Attendance
- Missed Assignments
- Paperless Applications for School Choice, Summer School, and Career Tech
- Update Contact Information
- Pay Fees
- Transportation Information
Our transportation team is implementing a new direct communication tool called EZDistrict, which will be used to send emails and text messages directly to parents when a bus route is delayed or uncovered.
The EZDistrict tool uses the contact information from the Parent Portal/Infinite Campus to send out messages to families. Please make sure that all contact information is up to date.
For more information on the Parent Portal or to set up your account, please visit the Parent Portal page or download the document below.
#TogetherWeReadCCS Storytime With Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon
Gather around and join us for our first #TogetherWeReadCCS storytime! Today, we have our very own Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon reading Red Shoes by author Karen English and illustrator Ebony Glenn. Red Shoes is the story of two young girls unknowingly bonded by a shiny new pair of red shoes.
Whether this is your first or 101st time reading Red Shoes, we hope you enjoy this beautiful story!
Pathway Express Destination #2 - Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Pathway Express has allowed us to create fun, memorable experiences across the city for CCS students and families, and we can’t to bring three more exciting Pathway Express events throughout the school year: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium (December); the Ohio Statehouse (February); and Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. In addition to free admission to each of these locations, we’re also giving away prizes for families and schools each month.
More than 1,000 families joined us in October at the Ohio History Center to learn more about our state’s rich history, and thanks to our partnership with Museums for All, four CCS families will receive one-year family memberships to COSI, Franklin Park, Ohio History Center, and Wexner Center for the Arts.
Congratulations to these CCS families!
Geoff D. - Parent of students at Clinton ES, Dominion ES, and Whetstone HS
Fidelia D. - Parent of student at Easthaven ES
Matayla C. - Parents of students at Fairmoor ES and Yorktown MS
Ernest C. - Parent of student at Avalon ES
Keep an eye out for more Pathway Express updates and chances to win incredible prizes.
CCS Coats for Kids
CCS teamed up with community partners to keep kids warm this winter. Coats 4 Children and United Way worked with family ambassadors and parent volunteers to ensure every student at several schools went home with a new winter coat. #OurCCS
Virtual Family Engagement Session - Holiday Help with the Salvation Army
As our community sets to enter the holiday season, several of our district’s partners are stepping up to provide help to families who might need extra assistance, including gifts and food. Our Thursday Virtual Family Engagement Session features our partners at the Salvation Army of Central Ohio, who will share information on what families can do now to get help in time for the holidays. We also talk about ways CCS families can give back to help others in our community throughout the holiday season.
Our sessions are recorded and posted in our Virtual Family Engagement Session Library in case you are unable to attend.
CCS Families: Cheer On the Cavs!
Special Promotion for CCS Families and Staff to See the Cleveland Cavaliers with Tickets as Low as $19
Start your Wellness Week with a basketball trip to Cleveland. Our friends from the Cleveland Cavaliers have a special offer for all Columbus City Schools families, teachers, and staff to come see the Cavs take on the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, November 21.
These single game tickets start as low as $19/ticket and the discounts are good on nearly every seat in the fieldhouse.
Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Monday, November 21
Game starts at 7:00 p.m.
No code needed. Just use the link below to purchase your tickets.
CCS CAVS SPECIAL OFFER: https://cavaliers.group/Columbus
This special promotion is being made available to CCS families, teachers, and staff by the Cleveland Cavaliers. If you have questions about the tickets, you can call the Cavs Ticket Office at 800-820-CAVS (2287).
Enjoy the game.
Columbus Recreation and Parks "Schools Out" Program - Now Registering
Columbus Recreation and Parks Department's Schools Out program opens recreation centers for extended hours during Columbus City Schools' upcoming fall and winter breaks. Our youth deserve to enjoy opportunities for fun, engaging enrichment experiences when school is out.
NBC4 Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway
Thanksgiving is about giving back! NBC4, Urban One, and the United Way of Central Ohio are teaming up again to feed Columbus. NBC4 is a proud partner of the 2022 Thanksgiving Back Turkey Drive. Partnered with community organizations, NBC4 has a goal of supplying six locations across Columbus with turkeys for Thanksgiving.
HOW CAN YOU RECEIVE A TURKEY?
Supplies are Limited. The first 300 people at each location (1 Turkey per family) will receive a “Thanksgiving box” with a turkey, dressing, and more. Turkeys are limited and will be given out while supplies last.
Nov. 17, 5-7 p.m. — Linden Community Center, 1350 Briarwood Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
Nov. 17, 5-7 p.m. — Barack Community Center, 580 E Woodrow Ave, Columbus, OH 43207
Nov. 18, 5-7 p.m. — Driving Park Community Center, 1100 Rhoads Ave, Columbus, OH 43206
Nov. 18, 5-7 p.m. — Dodge Community Center, 667 Sullivant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215
Nov. 19, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. — Far East Community Center, 1826 Lattimer Dr, Columbus, OH 43227
Nov. 19, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. — Adams Community Center, 854 Alton Ave, Columbus, OH 43219