2000-09-30 / Columnists

Focus on 27Community School District News and Notes

By Ginay MarksDirector of Pupil Personnel Services

Each school year begins with renewed expectations. A productive working relationship between schools and the families that they serve can keep these expectations alive. With that goal in mind, Community School District 27 has reorganized the manner in which Pupil Personnel Services are provided in all of our 38 schools. The mission for Pupil Personnel Services is to insure that each child, in every school in District 27, receives an education in a challenging and supportive learning environment.

Under the umbrella of Pupil Personnel Services are all guidance related services, education of students with special needs, and the evaluation and assessment of students by the Committee on Special Education. In an effort to address other challenges that students face, the following programs and services are included in the pupil personnel network: attendance, health/drug education, student compliance issues, and school and community relations including parent involvement. In addition, this office conducts suspension conferences and reviews all variance requests. This network was designed to support the intellectual, emotional and physical needs of children and their families.

Community School District 27 is geographically the largest community school district in the New York City school system. Large systems are often criticized for their failure to meet the individual needs of all students. To prevent students from losing their identity in a large system each school has a Pupil Personnel Committee. Committees hold regular meetings to discuss student needs and which services are most appropriate for their success. Teachers, guidance counselors, members of the school based support team, school administrators, and any other support service providers that can contribute to the well-being of our children all serve on Pupil Personnel Committees. These committees work to assess and provide needed services in a timely manner. Parents can access these services through their child’s teacher, guidance counselor or school principal.

The lines of communication that you establish with your child’s teacher are critical. Your questions and concerns should be brought to the attention of the teacher first. By appointment, teachers have time available in their schedules to meet and talk with you. A brief conversation, a written note, or a telephone call can best open those lines of communication. Teachers want to hear from you. They need your assistance to insure that your children are learning and enjoying their school experience.

Your role as a parent is critical to our collective efforts. When parents work as partners with their local schools they increase the likelihood of student success. Each and every day you should ask your child what they did in school and to see their homework. Monitor the television they watch, the games they play, and who they choose as friends. Make reading materials available, including books, magazines and newspapers. Your active participation at school events and attendance at school activities provides an example of the importance of education. Talk with your children, not to them, about their friends, experiences, hopes, fears and dreams. Make them active participants in their education. Provide them the opportunity to determine their own destiny.

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