Family mentor to learning coach: 10 things you need to know

A Commonwealth Charter Academy family uses a giant whiteboard in their home workspace to help the students do homework and prepare for tests.

Is your family new to CCA? Get answers to the top 10 questions newly enrolled families ask CCA family mentors.

As a family mentoring division at Commonwealth Charter Academy, we provide support to our newly enrolled and struggling families and answer many nonacademic questions every day. Family mentors are available to help learning coaches navigate everything from how to take attendance to checking on their children's grades. New CCA families can read about the experiences that existing CCA families have had with our program by visiting our Contact a Parent page.

Here are the top 10 questions CCA family mentors receive:

1. What services do family mentors offer?

Family mentors offer yearlong, nonacademic support for all newly enrolled and struggling families. They conduct face-to-face meetings (by request) for more intensive education management system support. Family mentors host meet-ups so newly enrolled families in the region can get together to create a community. They maintain a Family Mentor Facebook Group, where enrolled families can receive accurate information and support, and they host weekly virtual drop-in support sessions to answer any nonacademic questions.

Tip: Check your webmail and family message boards often between regularly scheduled calls for additional resources and information from your family mentor.

2. How do I take attendance?

Attendance should be recorded daily from the caretaker’s home page. Simply click on the "Record Attendance” link in the “To Do” list. Indicate the number of hours your learners worked for the day, and remember to click “save and finish” when you’re done. Learners in grades K-6 must complete 25 hours per week over five days, and learners in grades 7-12 must complete 28 hours per week over five days.

Tip: Instructional hours must match work completed, so make sure to add field trips and physical education activities to your learners' planners.

3. How do I mark lessons complete?

All lessons, pending approval, are located directly under your “To Do” list on your caretaker or learning coach home page. Click on the link, then click the dropdown arrow next to each lesson showing a green check mark with a clock and choose “complete.”

Tip: Lesson approval can be completed using only your caretaker or learning coach login.

4. How does my learner access virtual class sessions?

Learners access their virtual class sessions from their student logins. Under “My Teachers,” click on the “LL” link next to the teacher who is hosting the virtual class session.

Tip: Sometimes teachers send links to virtual class sessions via webmail. In this case, simply click on the link within the webmail at the designated virtual class session time.

5. What time does school start?

There is no specific start time. Choose a time that works best for you and your learners. When creating your schedule, factor in your learners' virtual class sessions that are scheduled at specific times throughout the week.

Tip: Working during the daytime will ensure your learners' teachers are available to help them when needed. If you must split your day between daytime and evening work, save lessons in which your learners are less likely to need immediate help for the evenings.

6. How do I balance schedules of multiple CCA learners and keep them organized?

Balancing multiple learners can be challenging, but the following tips can help. Allow your learners to work as independently as they can. This frees time in your schedule, and it teaches your learners valuable time-management skills. Remember, you are not the teacher. You’re simply assisting your learners with their lessons. Don’t hesitate to reach out to teachers for assistance if your learners are struggling or you need additional academic support. Write each of your learners' schedules on a whiteboard so everyone can see the day or week at a glance. Knowing what’s coming next helps everyone stay on track and prepared. Color-code your learners' folders so work doesn’t get lost or placed in the wrong folder.

Tip: Talk to your family mentor for more organization strategies specific to your family’s needs, or speak to your learners' teachers for academic questions.

7. How can we attend field trips without falling behind?

Field trips are a great way to promote socialization while reinforcing the curriculum. All field trips align with state standards and cover topics that your students are learning at the time. Field trips can boost understanding of specific topics through hands-on experience. The best way to stay on top of lessons is to work ahead for the week before the field trip. Do one extra lesson per day, or work on a Saturday so your learners can enjoy the event without thinking about overdue work waiting for them when they get home.

Tip: Lessons on the planner are not excused for field trips (or sick days.) Learners must complete these lessons.

8. Can my learner highlight the textbooks?

All textbooks must be sent back at the end of the year and cannot be highlighted. Your learners may make marks in any workbooks they have. Workbooks are consumables and will not need to be returned.

Tip: Encourage your learners to mark important sections in their books using sticky notes.

9. When can I see my learner’s grades?

You can see grades at any time by clicking on the "A+" icon below your learners' names on your home page. You will be able to see their current percentages in each of their courses. Click on a course to view more detailed grades for each assignment within that course.

Tip: Progress reports (report cards) will be available at the end of each marking period (K-8) and at the end of each semester (high school) by clicking on the "A+" icon.

10. How do I know what work needs to be submitted for my learner?

Each lesson walks your learners through exactly what needs to be submitted. Your learners will complete quick checks, quizzes, tests, discussions and portfolios to demonstrate understanding.

Tip: Pay close attention to future portfolios. These are larger, multiday or weekly assignments that must be submitted. The lessons leading up to the portfolio deadline will walk your learners through the steps to completion.

Natasha Shane is a family involvement manager in the midtown Harrisburg office.

Author

Natasha Shane

Published

October 19, 2016

Category

Learning Lab

About the Author

Natasha Shane

Natasha Shane is a family involvement manager in the Harrisburg region.

See All Posts Written by This Author

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