As NYC schools across all five boroughs work to ensure that all students, regardless of where they live, are aware of and ready for college after high school, parent coordinators play a huge role in this effort. In addition to their other responsibilities, parent coordinators are an essential part of the College Access for All – Middle School Initiative, as they work to help middle school families understand the importance of college attendance.
Last month, the DOE’s Division of Family and Community Engagement held its first-ever Parent Coordinator Institute, a three-day interactive and engaging training program meant to help parent coordinators build skills and expertise in promoting early college awareness to middle school families. Approximately 60 parent coordinators from across the City participated in this program, which ran from April 11 – 13. In addition to group work and discussion, participating parent coordinators toured CUNY York College in Queens and received official “Early College Awareness and Family Engagement” certifications for completing the 15-hour professional development program.
On Day 1, participants identified college awareness needs within their school communities and came up with effective program and outreach ideas to address those needs. During Day 2, attendees toured York College and attended two workshops: one composed of a student and parent panel that featured a discussion regarding college access; the second workshop was a presentation from the DOE’s Adult and Continuing Education office regarding industry certifications and adult education classes. Finally on Day 3, participating parent coordinators created and presented action plans that they could potentially use later to implement college awareness programs within their middle schools.
Since the introduction of the College Access for All – Middle School initiative in spring 2016, parent coordinators have been vital to the initiative’s work citywide. As it continues to expand its College Access for All initiative, the DOE will continue to provide professional development opportunities to the City’s parent coordinators so that even more City middle school families can better understand the importance of sending their children to college.
We thank all of the City’s hardworking parent coordinators, and we are especially grateful to the coordinators who attended last month’s Parent Coordinator Institute!