2003-09-19 / Community

Ed Department Issues Guide For Public School Parents

Ed Department Issues Guide For Public School Parents

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein has announced the publication of A Guide for Parents and Families, which is being distributed to parents and families of New York City schoolchildren. The Department of Education is conducting a broad outreach initiative that includes distribution by schools and publication of the Guide as an insert in major City newspapers. The inserts will be either published without charge to the Department or funded through private donations.

Chancellor Klein also announced that the Department is issuing cell phones to all school-based Parent Coordinators to provide parents with better access to information and resources. Chancellor Klein made the announcements at the Region 5 Learning Support Center in Queens (which includes the Rockaway and Broad Channel schools), where he helped distribute copies of A Guide for Parents and Families and cell phones to Parent Coordinators, who are beginning work in public schools this week.

"Parent Coordinators are essential to our effort to make our schools more welcoming and to actively engage parents in the school community," Chancellor Klein said. "A Guide for Parents and Families and the new cell phones for Parent Coordinators are two important components of our overall initiative to provide parents with better access to information and support. We are taking unprecedented steps to ensure that all of our students’ parents receive a copy of the Guide. We want to give parents the tools they need to be fully involved in the education of their children."

A Guide for Parents and Families, developed by the Office of Parent and Community Engagement, will help familiarize parents with the reforms implemented in public schools over the past year and also provide parents with valuable information about New York City’s schools and how they can support their children’s learning at home. The 15-page Guide provides details about the new instructional approach to literacy and math and the professional development supporting the new curricula; the new management structure for the public school system and important contact information; and the resources available to parents to help them become more involved in the school community and the education of their children. The Guide’s back cover includes a school calendar and space for parents to write the phone numbers of their principals and Parent Coordinators. The Guide, which Parent Coordinators received last Wednesday, will be published as an insert in major newspapers and will be translated into seven different languages. The Guide will be distributed to all students’ families by schools in early September and will also be available at Parent Support Offices and on the Department’s website. The Department is encouraging parents to keep the Guide readily available during the school year to help answer any general questions they might have about the changes that have taken place in the City’s public schools.

Starting this fall, Parent Coordinators will be responsible for providing support to parents and expanding outreach to parents and families at all City schools. The Department is distributing approximately 1,200 cell phones among Parent Coordinators, at no additional cost to the monthly service charge. To improve parent access and help address parent inquiries and concerns, Parent Coordinators will provide their new cell phone numbers to the parents of students in their schools, enabling parents to speak directly with or leave a message for the Parent Coordinator at their child’s school.

 The Department has hired and trained approximately 1,185 Parent Coordinators to serve in the City’s public schools at the start of the school year. Parent Coordinators received seven days of training during the summer on how to address parent problems and concerns and how to effectively engage parents in the education of their children. Parent Coordinators will work a 35-hour week on a schedule set by their school’s principal to best address the needs of parents. Parent Coordinators were hired for schools by principals after an interview and selection process that included consultation with a panel of parent representatives.

To support and supplement the engagement and response functions of the school-based Parent Coordinators, the Department has also established new Parent Support Offices in each of the City’s 13 Learning Support Center sites. These offices are staffed by teams of full-time, trained Parent Support Officers. In addition to workday hours, these Parent Support Offices will be open on Monday and Wednesday evenings, on Saturdays, and on the first Sunday of each month so that parents can receive services at times convenient to them.

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