Chicago Blackhawks Launch 3 Back-To-School Programs For Teachers, Families

Chicago Blackhawks mascot "Tommy Hawk"
Photo credit Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Blackhawks are not on the ice these days, but they are in the classroom.

The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation announced Tuesday the launch of three programs to assist local teachers, parents, and students in this unique back-to-school season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Blackhawks said that in addition to the long-standing Chicago Blackhawks Reading Program, the Foundation will also host two programs at Fifth Third Arena to provide a socially-distanced and safe environment for children on Chicago’s West Side and beyond to study and/or engage in physical activity at the Blackhawks’ community rink.

According to the Foundation, the Chicago Blackhawks Reading Program, designed to encourage local children in grades 2-6 to read in and out of the classroom, will officially begin on Tuesday, Sept. 15 and run through the end of February 2021. Registration is now open to educators in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, who wish to sign up their classroom(s) at Blackhawks.com/Reading.

Participating classrooms will receive a Teacher Toolkit geared toward remote learning, including digital and printable resources, such as a certificate to reward students, reading log template, a Blackhawks bookmark, and reading bingo. The Blackhawks will also introduce at-home reading challenges throughout the program, as well as host virtual Tommy Hawk visits for select classrooms.

Five randomly-selected top student readers will win a Blackhawks prize package each month, and a Blackhawks player will virtually visit the winning classroom at the end of the program.

One of the new programs is the Skate & Study program, which is a new mid-week student-focused program that will offer youth who are attending school remotely or on a hybrid schedule a place to study outside the home. Approximately 40 socially-distanced work stations will be set up overlooking the ice, and students can utilize free high-speed internet and/or borrow a Chromebook on-site if they do not have access to their own device.

Youth attendees can also sign up for a skating time, and CBF will have on-ice coaches to assist those who are learning to skate or trying something new.

Skate & Study sessions will take place on Wednesdays from 1:30 – 4 p.m., beginning Sept. 16 through at least Oct. 28. A parent or guardian must be present for youth under the age of 10. As capacity is limited for health and safety purposes, interested participants must register for Skate & Study sessions in advance at Blackhawks.com/FallPrograms.

In addition to the Skate & Study program, the Foundation will open its Family Skate program to the broader community, as it recognizes there are few activities the whole family can enjoy together during the pandemic. This weekend program will provide families an opportunity to take a safe field trip away from the home to engage in the fun activity of ice skating together.

According to the Foundation, Family Skate will take place on Saturdays from 5:15 – 6:45 p.m., beginning Sept. 19 through at least Oct. 31. A parent or guardian must be present for all minors. As capacity is limited for health and safety purposes, interested parents and guardians must register their family for Family Skate sessions in advance at Blackhawks.com/FallPrograms.

All three back-to-school programs are free of charge to participants, including skate rentals for Skate & Study and Family Skate at Fifth Third Arena. For more information on Fifth Third Arena’s COVID-19 safety procedures, please visit FifthThirdArena.com.