FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 26, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT NEW YORK CITY'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS' PARENT COORDINATOR LUNCHEON
Twenty-nine Parent Coordinators Receive Best Practice Awards for Improving Parent Communication and Engagement at Their Schools
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today delivered the keynote address at a luncheon for more than 800 New York City public school parent coordinators gathered at the New York Hilton in Manhattan. The luncheon, which brought together parent coordinators and parent leaders from around the city for a day of professional development activities, was also an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of 29 parent coordinators throughout the five boroughs whose efforts to improve parent communication and engagement in their schools were identified as best practices for parent coordinators citywide. The Mayor was joined by Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Chief Family Engagement Officer Martine Guerrier.
"The role of the parent coordinator is crucial in supporting the work of principals and teachers to engage and communicate with parents," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Parent coordinators are the first line of contact for parents, and they do an incredible job of helping parents become more actively involved in their children's education. And as we can see from today's honorees, many of our parent coordinators have developed innovative ways of further reaching out to parents."
"In the four years since we created the position, parent coordinators have become indispensable to school communities," said Chancellor Klein. "To help families use critical information about their schools and students, they need to be education experts, advisors, instructors, guides and advocates. Their knowledge, versatility and resourcefulness, some of it on display here today, continues to amaze me."
In 2003, as part of Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein's Children First school reform agenda, the Department of Education hired 1,200 parent coordinators for the newly-created position who would work in the schools serving as a liaison between parents and the schools to expand services and outreach efforts. At today's luncheon, 29 parent coordinators from schools throughout the five boroughs received special accolades in recognition of developing innovative ways of engaging parents and increasing communication efforts in the schools.
Among those receiving awards today were Frank Heyward, of David Ruggles JHS 258 in Brooklyn who started Project Male, a mentoring program for teenage boys, and has begun initiatives to involve single parents and their children, as well as Brenda Soto of Brooklyn's PS 164, a 2005 Best Practices winner who arranged for Cornell University to present a series of trainings on nutrition.
"Parent Coordinators are key partners of the Office for Family Engagement and Advocacy in advancing a citywide agenda to ensure all families feel welcomed, supported, and respected in our schools," said Chief Family Engagement Officer Martine Guerrier. "This underscores the theme of 'All Together' for today's celebration."
Parent coordinators receive ongoing professional development training in community outreach, problem-solving strategies, child development, family needs and leadership to help them to effectively address parental concerns. Additional professional development training focused on student achievement levels, and on special education and English language learners, reflecting the diversity and special needs of the 1.1 million students in New York City public schools.
There are currently about 1,300 parent coordinators, one in every school with more than 200 students throughout the five boroughs. Over 70 percent of the parent coordinators are Latino, African-American or Asian.
Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Department of Education)
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