Southwest Elementary Learning at Home Resources

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Durham, Southwest Elementary will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. Below are online resources for Southwest families from DPS, Southwest teachers and staff, at the PTA  during this time away.

New Resources: Feelings and Coping Strategies

Helpful new resources from Ms. Kane to help parents, caregivers, and students navigate this extended time away from school.

All About Feelings

We have been out of school for over a month now and I’m sure you have been experiencing many different feelings! It can be overwhelming to handle all of these different feelings! Here are some ideas for ways to explore our feelings:

Download PDF of All About Feelings: Activities and Strategies →

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

This helpful guide provides six tips to help your child regulate their emotions.

Download PDF of Tips for Parents and Caregivers →

First Aid for Feelings, A Scholastic Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Scholastic’s First Aid for Feelings workbook for children was designed to help parents and caregivers teach children how to be smart about feelings, which helps alleviate their emotional stress, improve concentration, boost their immune system, and enhance brain development. By using the simple coping strategies found in this workbook, parents and caregivers can encourage children to express thoughts, questions, and feelings during this unprecendented, challenging time.

Download First Aid for Feelings (English) →

Download First Aid for Feelings (Spanish) →

Message from Principal Rotosky

We often talk about family at Southwest. We miss seeing everyone’s smiling faces each morning as we travel through the halls. We miss the high fives, fist bumps, elbow love, and finger hugs. We miss the active engagement in our classrooms. The building is quiet which reminds us that Southwest is the amazing place we know and love because of the people who are invested in what happens here each day … Our staff, students, and families.

Since we’ve been out of school, the strength of our community has been evident. We’ve helped one another either through communication or by physically providing food and resources to families. Our teachers are reaching out to families through Class Dojo, email, and phone. Social distancing is changing the way we communicate but not our ability to make connections with one another. If you need your teacher, please reach out through Class Dojo or email during regular school hours. We are still here for our students and families even if it is from a distance.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

— Maya Angelou

DPS Parent Curriculum Resource Site

Durham Public Schools has created a district-wide resource site for parents and guardians. This site includes instructional packets for learning, guides for accessing online resources, how to provide emotional support to students, mental health and crisis response information, frequently asked questions, and a growing list of online learning tools and resources. 

Food & Meal Resources

DPS will end its meal distribution service on April 6 to protect the health of its workers. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has increased benefits to current Food and Nutrition Services recipients through April 2020. Families can also identify three drive-thru or pick-up sites with meals through No Kid Hungry North Carolina by texting FOODNC to 877-877. The DPS Foundation has worked with other local partners and restaurants to provide family meals as well.

Online Learning Resources

Technology teacher Ms. Willingham, as well as other parents and staff from Southwest, have compiled this helpful list of resources for at-home learning. If you need free broadband internet access during this time, you may contact Spectrum at 1-844-488-8395.

Weekly Specials Lessons

Each week, the specials teachers at Southwest are creating a downloadable PDF of weekly lessons.

View Weekly Specials Lessons →

Counselor’s Corner

Hello families!  The Southwest school counselors have created this space to share social emotional learning information and activities as well as helpful links for parents during this difficult time.  We are available by email as well if you have specific concerns regarding your child.

Grades K-2:
Grades 3-5:
School Psychologist:

Ideas/Resources for Parents

The world as we know it has changed. Schools are closed. Families are isolated at home and businesses are shut down. As parents and teachers we are all affected physically, emotionally and financially. While we would like to spare kids from the reality of the situation, we cannot. However, we can do children a greater service if we use these experiences to help teach them how to deal with those times when the future is uncertain and lifestyles are disrupted.

We hope you will read our list of ways to help kids develop resilience and a positive mindset→

We also recommend this resource from Kids Health that includes ways to talk to children about COVID-19 and how to give them a safe space to share their concerns.  

Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child

A daily mindfulness app for families developed by a program called Inner Explorer may be useful to your family during this time. They are offering an opportunity for parents to download the app at no cost.  The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, boost immune systems, improve learning and foster resilience in children and adults.

Download the Inner Explorer mindfulness app for free →

Marisa Kane, school psychologist, has created a comprehensive list of great online resources for parents to help keep social and emotional balance during this time, including, yoga, free online books, scavenger hunts, ways to speak up about racism during COVID-19, schedules, crafts and more.

Download Ms. Kane’s resource list

Social Emotional Learning for Kids at Home

Move This World is an evidence-based Social Emotional Learning program offered at Southwest. It teaches students about feelings and strategies to manage them.  

Visit the Move this World Resource Center for downloadable resources→

We invite you to view their videos and breathing exercises. When prompted, enter the password: togetherwecan

Download these Move This World posters to supplement videos.  

Zoo U is an evidence-based, online social skills game focusing on 6 key social and emotional skills: Communication, Cooperation, Emotion regulation, Empathy, Impulse Control and Social Initiation. Students create a character and navigate through various social situations. This program is available to 3rd and 4th grade students only. Email Jen Schira at to create an account for your child.