School Resources for Parents
By HEATHER HADDON
While the changes this school year may be overwhelming, there are several resources available specifically for parents seeking information. Two directories were published at the commencement of the school year -- by the Department of Education and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. Though a flap emerged between Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Gotbaum over the similar guides, they each offer some unique information for parents.
The chancellor's directory, "A Guide for Parents and Families," is a 16-page overview of the system-wide changes. It distills the district reorganization, new curriculum, and changes made to special education and English as a Second Language. It also includes overviews of the parent coordinator positions and other initiatives involving the broader school community. To obtain a copy, visit the Department of Education's newly redesigned Web site (www.nycdoe.gov) and go to the parents' section. Or call 311.
The public advocate's guide, "Educators Helping Parents," uses a Q & A format to answer some of the most frequently asked questions she's heard from parents. They are broken down into four sections: academic enrichment, after-school programs, school choice and school safety. Questions include: How do I know when my child has to take a citywide exam? What do Supplementary Education Services include? What is the difference between a District and Region?
To obtain a copy, visit the public advocate's web site (www.pubadvocate.nyc.gov). Or call her new parent helpline for all school-related questions, at (212) 669-7250.
That said, a guide is not substitute for human interaction, and parents' specific questions can now be directed to their schools' parent coordinator. Under the reorganization, every school now has a full-time staff member to assist parents and provide them with appropriate resources. A list of names and cell phone numbers for parent coordinators of local schools is below.
Parents' next best bet is their Learning Support Center, which offers comprehensive services to parents. The center for Region 1 (comprised of Districts 10 and 9) is located at the old District 10 office at One Fordham Plaza, and can be reached at (718) 741-5098. The office is open at 8 a.m. from Monday through Friday, and until 8 p.m. on Mondays and 6 p.m. every other weekday. On Saturdays, the office is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Local Parent Coordinators
PS 8 - Juanita Marte
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