Administrators, board of education members, staff, students and their families gathered at Shaw Avenue School on Sept. 28 for an evening of beneficial workshops on a variety of important topics to help further students’ growth.  


Parent University, a workshop program that the district hosts throughout the course of the school year, followed the parent Edcamp model when creating the sessions. Edcamp is un-conferenced sessions that are parent-driven, free to attend, focused on discussed experiences and flexible to allow families to move to sessions that best fit their needs at any time. The district offered 13 different session topics that families were welcomed to attend. These ranged from “The ABCs of Kindergarten,” “Develop you Child’s Global Citizenship,” “Infused Enrichment,” “Inspiring Critical Thinkers,” “The New Road to Students Success” and more. 


Families were greeted by administrators including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Roxanne Garcia France as they entered the building. Shaw Avenue Principal Alejandro Rivera kicked off the event in the school’s auditorium where students and their families enjoyed snacks and learned about what would be taking place.  


“One of the biggest things that I want you to take away from these sessions is that the opportunities in these sessions is not to be spoken to, but to speak with,” said Rivera. “You bring a wealth of knowledge and we really want to hear from you. I know families want to hear from each other as well.”   


To fit with the district’s 2017-18 theme, “Show Your Character,” students were invited to attend the event and enjoy a puppet show and puppet lesson from the Catskill Puppet Theater in the school’s auditorium while their family members attended the workshops. Families walked around the building, moving from classroom to classroom as they participated in discussions facilitated by district administrators and staff. They attended workshops that fit their interests, were provided with resources and heard first-hand experiences from their fellow community members.


The district will host more Parent Universities throughout the year at the different schools to reach students and their families on other important topics.