• Preparing Your Teen Driver

    Posted by Kelsey Mattia, CCIU Communications on 6/22/2021

    [Estimated Read Time: 2:54 Minutes]

    Learning how to drive can be stressful for both teenagers and parents, but it doesn’t have to be! Spending time with your teenager to help them feel comfortable in the driver’s seat can make a world of a difference when they’re first learning how to drive.

    If you’re wondering where to even begin, we’ve got you covered!

    Before setting off for the first time, whether it’s on the road or in a parking lot, make sure to give your teenager a tour of the car’s interior. Explain what each control is and how to operate it. The following list of controls is a great place to start:

    • Gas pedal versus brake pedal
    • Transmission
    • Parking brake
    • How and when to adjust mirrors
    • Turning signals
    • Emergency/Hazard lights
    • Headlight controls (don’t forget the high beams!)
    • Dashboard warning lights
    • Interior lights

    Once your teenage driver feels comfortable inside of the vehicle, it’s time to begin driving! Start out in an area where there are no other drivers, such as an empty parking lot. Remember, this is a brand-new skill your teenager is learning, so it will take some time for them to get into the swing of things and feel comfortable behind the wheel. Start off slow and begin by focusing on driving in a straight line and stopping smoothly. Once this is achieved, move onto something difficult, such as driving in reverse or parking.

    Keep in mind, this will take time! If it’s frustrating for you it is probably frustrating for them as well, so allow them to learn at their own pace. Also remember to praise them for doing well and encourage them if they are struggling – which they probably will struggle, as learning something new can be challenging.

    Once they are comfortable driving in an empty location, ease them into driving on the road. Remember to take it slow and let them go at their own pace.

    Here are some things to keep in mind when your teenager is ready to drive on the road:


    • Start in a residential area
    • Graduate to more congested roads at their pace
    • Advance to higher speed limit roads
    • Drive on larger, multi-lane highways last (at first, stay in the far-right lane so your teenager can get used to the highway)
    • Go over what to do in an emergency or during bad weather


    • Rush your teenager into scenarios they aren’t ready for
    • Distract them (they have enough to pay attention to!)
    • Backseat drive (you may have more experience, but they are in the driver’s seat)

    Want to know more about best ways to prepare your teenage driver? The following is a list of resources you can use to learn even more about teaching your teenager to drive:

    • Young Driver (PennDOT)
      • This article from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) includes a brief explanation of PA’s graduated driver licensing law, such as requirements and rules for learner’s permits, junior licensees and unrestricted licenses. It also includes a short quiz that young drivers can take to test their road knowledge.
    • Do You Know How to Parallel Park? (PennDOT)
      • Another great resource from PennDOT that focuses on perhaps the scariest part of the driver’s license road test: parallel parking. It provides a step-by-step explanation and even includes an infographic detailing how to parallel park safely.
    • Teen Drivers (PennDOT)
      • A directory sharing multiple resources available throughout PennDOT’s website.

    Do you have other ideas or strategies for teaching your teenage driver? We would love to hear them - share a comment below!

    Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about any of our driver education services or driver’s license testing centers, visit our Driver Education & Testing website.

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  • NEW CCIU Driver Education and Testing Center Offerings

    Posted by Kelsey Mattia, CCIU Communications on 6/10/2021

    [Estimated Read Time: 1:54 Minutes]

    The CCIU’s driver education services are the key to helping you become a safe and successful licensed driver!

    Did you know that the CCIU offers Driver Education and Testing services for both high school students and community members in Chester County and beyond? Choose from Behind-the-Wheel lessons, an Online Theory course, a road test and other driving packages that will help prepare you to become a successful driver – and, we are excited to announce four brand-new Driver Education and Driver Testing Center offerings:

    • Parallel Parking Lesson
      • Overview: 15-minute Behind-the-Wheel lesson on how to parallel park. 
      • Cost: $30
    • Adult Refresher Lesson and Test
      • Overview: For drivers 18 years of age and older, receive a one-hour, Behind-the-Wheel driving refresher lesson before completing the on-the-road driver examination through the Chester County Intermediate Unit, a certified Pennsylvania Department of Transportation third-party driver testing center. 
      • Cost: $155
    •  Ready-to-Drive Package with Test During Final Lesson
      • Overview: Discounted package including six, one-hour, on-the-road driving lessons with the on-the-road driver examination completed by the CCIU Driver Testing Center during your final Behind-the-Wheel lesson. Provides students a quick refresher lesson prior to beginning their test. 
      • Cost: $600; $662 for out-of-county 
    • Prepared Driver Package with Test During Final Lesson
      • Overview: Discounted package including 30-hour Online Theory course and six, one-hour, on-the-road driving lessons with the on-the-road driver examination completed by the CCIU Driver Testing Center during your final Behind-the-Wheel lesson. Provides students a quick refresher lesson prior to beginning their test.
      • Cost: $700; $762 for out-of-county; +$45 for 40-hour course 

    Learn more about our packages and pricing!

    Additionally, we are excited to announce that we have launched a new driver services system for Driver Education students, which will streamline the process for managing and reviewing students’ driver education training.

    With this new, user-friendly system, students will be able to utilize the following features, all from a mobile device: 

    • Schedule their next driver training appointment
    • Cancel and/or reschedule an existing appointment
    • Receive text message reminders prior to their scheduled appointment
    • Keep track of their driving hours
    • Review their driver training evaluations from instructors

    We look forward to continuing to implement new and exciting Driver Education features and services so that students can continue on the road to becoming successful drivers!

    For any questions please contact Driver Education Services at 484-237-5945 or or visit our Driver Education & Testing website.

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  • 5 Tips for Creating Instructional Videos that Engage Students

    Posted by Kammas Kersch, Educational Innovation Specialist, Molly Schwemler, CCIU Communications on 3/29/2021 9:30:00 AM

     5 Tips for Creating Instructional Videos

    [Estimated Read Time: 2:30 Minutes]

    Over the last year, many educators have turned to instructional videos as a method for delivering content to students asynchronously. While our current circumstances may have increased the number of teachers using this strategy, using pre-designed video content to share important educational ideas, lessons and skills has been around for quite some time. Khan Academy has been using videos as a source of instruction since 2008, which initially began when Khan Academy founder, Salman Khan, began posting videos to YouTube to help tutor his cousin.

    To help you start implementing video content or improve the instructional videos you are creating, we have 5 key tips for creating engaging instructional videos for your students!

    1. Keep it short!
      It is more effective to record multiple short videos than a single long video, especially for younger students. A great rule of thumb is to use the grade level as the maximum number of minutes for your video (ex. 5th grade - 5-minute max video). Research from the University of Wisconsin supports shorter videos and encourages videos to be no longer than 15 minutes. If you keep the videos topical, they also become a great review resource for students when they need to focus on a particular concept.

    2. Make it topical
      One of the best parts about creating instructional videos is that your students can go back and refer to the videos any time they find themselves in need of a refresher on a particular topic. It is much more difficult for students to do this if each video attempts to cover multiple topics. When you outline the content to be covered in a particular unit, consider each piece of content as its own video. This will make it easier for you to create the videos you need and for students to utilize the videos.

    3. Plan it out
      Before pressing the record button, plan out what you want your video to include. This could mean sketching an outline, creating slides you plan to voice over or doing the calculations for practice problems you plan to cover. Some educators prefer to write out a script, others do not. How should you prepare? Consider how you would prepare to deliver this information if you were in front of your students and take a similar approach. Effective preparation will make recording much easier and faster!

    4. Be yourself
      When you teach face to face, your students enjoy the unique ways that your sense of humor and personality shine through in each lesson. The best instructional videos include your personality, too! It is a great idea to include the same puns, jokes and anecdotes that you would have if you were teaching the lesson in front of the class. Doing so will help your students remember the information and stay engaged with your instructional video.

    5. Leave room for imperfection
      When you are recording your instructional video, it is very possible that a dog barks, you misread a number or you have to rewrite a word. All of that is okay! When your students open your video to hear their very own teacher explaining a concept, they expect to hear your voice and your explanations. They are not expecting a perfectly produced Hollywood movie. You can edit and adjust your video as needed, but give yourself grace if there are imperfections.

    How can you utilize these tips to provide the best instructional experience for your students? Share your ideas in the comments!

    If you are interested in learning more about designing engaging asynchronous instruction and video content, the CCIU offers, you’re invited to participate in our STEM and Educational Innovation network.


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  • Leading from Afar: Strategies for Establishing Presence Even at a Distance (Part Two)

    Posted by Kylie Hand, Online Learning Coordinator and Molly Schwemler, CCIU Communications on 3/15/2021 8:00:00 AM

    Leading From Afar (Part 2)












    [Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes]

    As the pandemic, and most recently, the winter weather, continue to throw twists and turns regarding returning to in-person learning, principals’ commitment to steady leadership and flexibility have been paramount for providing a sense of consistency and hope in their schools. Despite the potential of additional in-person opportunities on the horizon for students, many students will continue to engage in hybrid or virtual schooling. In our first post for school leaders on leading from afar, we established the need for principals’ instructional leadership presence among students and gave some strategies for virtual visibility.

    Whether your students are mostly virtual or beginning to return to in-person instruction, it is important to continue evaluating your current strategies for connecting with students and communicating their sense of belonging within the school culture while they are at home. While we know that school principals have a vital impact on student achievement, now principals truly can be two places at once - in students' at-home learning environment and in school buildings. Consider these additional strategies for leading from afar below and let us know what has worked well for you!

    1. Plan a Virtual Talent Show to Celebrate Student (OR Teacher) Talent
    2. Facilitate a Schoolwide Service Project
      • Getting students to feel part of something bigger than themselves while helping others can go a long way for connection right now. Collaborate with your student council or parent teacher organization to develop smaller teams and find worthwhile projects.

    3. Virtually Shadow a Student for a Day or a Week
      • Get insight into the online learning experience and bond with students who may need extra encouragement by participating in class with them. Take a look at Stanford school’s Shadow a Student Toolkit for guidance.

    4. Bring School Community to Students Wherever They Are! 
      • Although this doesn’t count as an entirely “online learning” strategy, having local, personalized presence within a community or neighborhood goes a long way in helping to increase student attendance and engagement. You don’t have to organize a car parade like some schools did in the spring 2020, but consider the positive impact of delivering simple recognitions, such as certificates or yard signs, incentive prizes, school materials and books. For an example, check out what Avon Grove School District did.
      • If you and your staff are making deliveries, consider including a meaningful momento: a framed 4x6 picture with a word of encouragement, a new book or a special bag with school “swag.” You can see what the Reading School District did in August of 2020.
      • You could also plan an outdoor neighborhood pop-up bus with giveaway information, school materials, on-the-ground tech support, books and fun! 
      • Don’t forget about sending surprises in the mail to students, too!

    5. Leverage Data to Help Determine Your Reach
      • Whether informal conversations or formal analytics, revisit data to see if you can better discern which strategies are reaching students. Are you having consistent participation? Are students watching your schoolwide announcements? Are you asking students for feedback? You’ll discover what strategies are working and which ones you may not want to continue.

    Give these ideas, or those from our previous post, a try and let us know how they worked for you in the comments. We also invite you to continue sharing any of your ideas and strategies for building relationships and instilling connection at a distance – we come up with our best solutions together!

    If you would like to connect with fellow Chester County principals, consider joining a cohort of the Principal Study Council for collaborative study and discourse! The Principal Study Council may already be well underway for this year, but you can learn more or email your interest in a future cohort to council leadership by visiting our information page.  

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  • Tips to Help You Ace Any Job Interview

    Posted by Amy Thompson, Human Resources Generalist, Molly Schwemler and Bill Freeman, CCIU Communications on 3/8/2021 8:00:00 AM

    [Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes]

    Interviewing for an exciting job opportunity can often feel very stressful, but it doesn’t need to! Referencing the following tips for before, during and after a job interview can help you feel less anxious and ensure that you make a good impression.

    Before the Interview: Preparing for Success
    The best way to set yourself up for success, calm pre-interview anxiety and get in the right mindset before a job interview even begins is to prepare in advance. If you’re wondering what should be on your Do’s and Don’ts for interview preparation, we’ve got you covered!


    • Wear professional or business casual attire appropriate for the position
    • Research the position and the program
    • Be able to briefly summarize your background
    • Prepare examples of relevant prior experience from recent positions
    • Know your strengths and weaknesses
    • Be honest, but find a positive spin for your weaknesses
    • Prepare two-three meaningful questions to ask about the position that demonstrate your passion and interest
    • Bring a few copies of your resume
    • Come with a notebook and pen in case you want to take notes and to show that you are very invested in the position


    • Wear hats, torn clothing, jeans (most of the time) or attire with offensive language or images
    • Transform a discussion about your strengths into bragging
    • Ask questions about compensation and benefits in the first interview

    During the Interview: Approaching it as a Conversation

    Alright, you’ve prepared for the interview, you’ve gone over the Do’s and Don’ts and your outfit is ready-now it’s time for the real thing.

    Approaching a job interview as a conversation with a stranger at a party may also sound like a stressful situation, but thinking of your interviewer(s) as regular people who want to get to know you really does help. Yes, they want to get to know you so they can evaluate if you would be a good fit for the position you are seeking, but if you can project confidence and articulate your strengths, you’re sure to stand out from the crowd! Take a look at our tips and strategies below to learn how you can effectively showcase your expertise.

    Introductions and Initial Communication

    • Remember to make eye contact, shake hands and be engaged 
    • There is often some small talk as you settle in to help create a more comfortable environment. Take a deep breath, get settled and relaxed (while remaining professional), turn off or silence your cell phone and have your notebook and pen in front of you

    Listen Carefully and Answer Clearly

    • Keep your answers on topic and thoughtful without being long-winded
    • Explain why you are interested in the position, answer questions about your strengths and weaknesses (remember that positive spin), talk about overcoming challenges, team and collaborative experience, and your flexibility and positive attitude (back these up with EXAMPLES)
    • Most of all, own your story and experience. Be honest, be you!
    • Ask a few final questions about the position and the organization as a whole
      • A great final question is “What are the next steps from here?”
    • At the end, thank the interviewer(s) for their time and show your sincerity and continued interest in the position

    After the Interview: Following Up

    You did it! Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back and play some of your favorite music. Taking the steps to start off your career, seek a promotion or change your career are not easy, but whether you aced every question or you just did the best you could, you did it! Now, just one final step to leaving the company and the interviewer(s) with a great impression. Following up reminds interviewers of your interest (especially if they’ve seen a lot of candidates) and is as easy as the final tip below!

    • Send a brief thank you email or note

    Virtual Interviews: Applying These Tips to Virtual Interviews

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many events, activities and meetings to shift to a virtual format. Job interviews are no exception, as many interviews are now conducted through virtual meeting software like Zoom and Google Meet. These platforms can sometimes seem tricky and add an extra layer of stress, but the following tips should help you effectively connect through the screen.

    • Check your Wi-Fi and make sure you have a good, quality connection
    • If possible, use earbuds for better sound and microphone quality
    • Pick a location with no distractions for you or the interviewers
    • Make sure your name tag is your name. We aren’t sure it is you if it says “Dr. P. Epper” and it comes off as unprofessional.
    • Don’t try to hold your device and interview and please don’t drive during the interview
    • Be mindful of your background (i.e., offensive or unprofessional items, bed, clutter)
    • Ensure that your face is well lit
      • The light source should be in front of you, behind and above the camera
    • Have a backup device just in case
      • Zoom and Google Meet both run on smart phone apps if necessary, just make sure to stand your phone up so you are not holding your phone
    • Remember that the same dress standards as in person interviews apply

    Do you have other tips and tricks for acing a job interview that you would like to share? We want to know about it! Leave us a comment below. If you feel ready to interview with the CCIU, we’re also looking for passionate, dedicated candidates to fill critical roles that benefit children, families and the community. Check out our jobs database at!

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