QISD life skills challenge gaining national attention

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In these days of uncertainty, and even some fear of the unknown, Quitman ISD students took the last couple of weeks to learn skills not normally taught in the classroom.

After being relegated to online classes or packets of assignments while stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, Quitman educators found a way to challenge their students with a series of life skill exercises. Parents and students alike were ready for a break from the regulated lessons from their classes.

The challenges were grade-level appropriate and challenging for the students and their families. The subjects were diversified into different areas, and a student was able choose a challenge they believed would be beneficial to them in the future.

Superintendent Rhonda Turner was happy with the results and said other districts had reached out to QISD about the program.

“I can tell you that we have been contacted by school districts all over the United States about our Life Skills Challenge. Our website link to the challenges has had 237,581 hits,” Turner said. “Our students and parents have given us positive feedback and seemed to enjoy the change of pace for the last two weeks of school. Cooking seems to be the popular life skill, followed by learning to do laundry!”

Turner said the challenges were designed to address real life needs that parents and guardians would feel comfortable helping their students to complete. The varied challenges also encouraged team building, time management, personal responsibility, following directions and problem solving. Students were able to use choice boards to choose the skill they felt benefitted them most.

The life skills were divided in groups: pre-K, kindergarten and first grade; second through fifth grade; sixth through eighth grade; and ninth through 12th grades.

In the pre-K through first grade level students could choose challenges including learning a parent’s phone number, folding towels and washing clothes and putting them away, setting the table for a family meal, making the bed each day, helping a family member pick weeds in the flower bed and clean up the yard, and learn their address.

For the second through fifth graders some of the challenges were sorting laundry and learning how to measure detergent and wash and dry at least on load of clothes, working with a parent to plan one or two family meals for the week, vacuuming each room in the house, organizing their closet, cleaning out the family car, gathering all the trash and finding out what day the trash runs and take it to the curb, and dusting three rooms including their own room.

At the middle school level grades six through eight, students had some tougher challenges such as cleaning the bathrooms including scrubbing the tub/shower and cleaning the toilet; choosing a friend and call and talk to them instead of using social media or texting; thinking about two people they know are going through a hard time and checking on them and letting them know they are thinking about them; cleaning out all trash, dishes, etc. from their room, dusting all surfaces, washing their sheets and vacuuming the floor; and loading and unloading the dishwasher three times a week or washing and drying dishes three times a week.

For the high school ages, grades nine through seniors challenges included learning how to change a tire; going on a virtual hunt for an apartment with a $600 per month rent budget; learning job interview tips and practicing interviewing with an adult or friend; learning how to check the oil in the family’s car; doing an outdoor job for a neighbor as a surprise; doing three loads of laundry, one for themselves, one for a younger sibling and one for a caregiver; and learning how to sew a button.

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