LYFE Social Worker Jodi Kaltner represented District 79 on May 3, 2014 at a city-wide parent conference event, “Fostering Parent Leadership for Student Success” hosted by the NYC Department of Education in partnership with the Coalition for Educational Justice at the High School of Fashion Industries. Special guest speakers for the event were Chancellor Farina and Charlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill DeBlasio. The purpose of the event was “to empower parents as leaders, and to reinforce the essential role of parents in their children’s academic success.”
Ms. Kaltner recounted that the Chancellor shared her memories of attending parent-teacher conferences with her mother who did not speak English and the impact of that experience on her life. Chancellor Farina expressed making parent-teacher conferences more accessible and engaging for all parents. Pitching the ideas of extended times and days of conferences along with having student-facilitated conferences as an initiative to encourage active participation of families at parent-teacher conferences. This concept closely aligns with LYFE’s facilitation of Parent Conference throughout the school year. LYFE’s goal has been for each site team to plan and implement meaningful Parent Conferences, based on scheduling that works for families, that encourage student parent voice and create an inclusive and accommodating environment, making it possible for not only parents to attend and participate, but extended family members and custodial guardians as well.
Ms. Kaltner, who enthusiastically participated in the different workshops offered, summed up the message of the conference that as parents and school staff, we must work collaboratively together to ensure the success of students. Ms. Kaltner also had an opportunity to speak with Chancellor Farina who shared that she is proud of all the work that takes place in our program and all District 79 programs.
We are glad to hear about the Chancellor’s thoughtful support of parent conferences as a way to improve family engagement and student success.