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How To Cope With Kids’ Stress In A New CPS School

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CHICAGO (CBS) — For about 12,000 Chicago students, the new school year is already on their minds.

In this Original Report, Dorothy Tucker takes a look at what those students may be facing and what parents can do the help the transition.

The protests and over and the tearful goodbyes are in the past for the children affected by the closing of nearly 50 elementary schools in Chicago.

Summer begins the countdown to the next school year for Yafae and Nya Cotton.

They’re among the more than 12,000 students pushed out of closing schools and forced into a new ones.

They have feelings of sadness and a bit of feat, too. The new surroundings mean having to make new friends and learn with new teachers.

“This is a loss for these children,” said Erika Schmidt, who counseled dozens of students at closing schools.

As a social worker and psychoanalyst, Schmidt said the children may be grieving over the loss, and parents should look for signs of anxiety and stress.

Specifically, “changes in their behavior, changes in their moods,” she said.

Even those children who appear to be emotionally intact may still need special attention.

“Acknowledge those negative feelings or those sad feelings and at the same time talk about what the new school will be like,” Schmidt said.

Magdelene Thurmon is already working on trying to prepare her children.

“Like I told them. I’ll walk you to school every day like I always do,” she said. “I’ll participate in the parent programs.”

There was a program on the last day of school for the children’s old school and the new school Diego. The Cottons got to visit Diego, too.

“I already found some new friends at the new school,” said Yafae Cotton. “They played with me and they were friendly.”

Other tips: Find your child a buddy that will also attend the school, visit the schools, and take part in the events the schools have planned.

CPS has a number of joint events planned over the summer to bring students from closing and welcoming schools.

New schools will be reaching out to parents.

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