2007-04-25 / Features

Parents As Partners Helps Parents Help Kids

BY ANN SOUKERAS

T he second annual School District 30 Parents as Partners Conference was held on

Saturday, April 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at P.S. 11 on Skillman Avenue in Woodside. The Department of Education's Parent Support Office in collaboration with District 30's Community Education Council sponsored this conference to keep concerned parents aware of the resources available to them in the community. Dr. Phillip Composto, community superintendent of District 30, along with Caresse Deville-Hughes, director parent support office, Region 4 and Catherine D. Yankopoulos, secretary, Community Education Council District 30, worked together to provide District 30 parents with a comprehensive tool to help them help their children.

Several workshops were held continuously throughout the morning. Parents could attend whichever programs were of most interest to them while their children were entertained by members of the Community Education Council. The workshops were designed to help parents communicate with their children and guide them through school from kindergarten to high school. Interpreters were available in several of the community's languages, Spanish, Bengali and Chinese. The titles of the workshops clearly identified the subjects discussed. The first, "How Was Your Day? Asking Open Ended Questions to Engage Your Child In Conversations About School", is self-explanatory. Workshops on "Literacy and Math Through Music" and "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Helping Children with Learning Disabilities" were both well attended, as was "English Language Learners". The last two workshops, "Mapping the Journey from Middle School to High School" and "Life After High School and College Scholarships" were geared toward the needs of older children.

For those who could not attend the workshops, informative handouts were available at several tables in the cafeteria. Elmhurst Hospital Center had a table and supplied information about low-cost or free medical insurance. The YMCA furnished information about summer camp. EPIC (Every Person Influences Children) funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provided parenting and literacy programs to help children do well in school. The NY GEAR UP project, in collaboration with St. John's University, encouraged students to begin to think about and plan for college in intermediate school instead of waiting for their senior year of high school to start making decisions about this important step.

Another Parents as Partners Conference and Health Fair is planned for May 19 at P.S. 127 in East Elmhurst. Further information about this event is available through the Community Education Council or the office of District 30.

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