Parent University Provides Greater Opportunity for Family Involvement

     Published on 7/23/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Do you want to help prepare your child for standardized tests? Perhaps you would like to ensure your child’s college and career readiness? Attend a Naviance Parent Workshop hosted by Parent University.
Are you interested in learning about health and safety issues, helping your child with schoolwork, stress management or other life skills? Are you trying to learn English? Do you have a legal issue that you would like assistance with? Parent University can open the door to all this and more.
An initiative introduced by Superintendent Contreras, Parent University aims to help parents become full partners in their children’s education, offering a wide range of workshops and information sessions throughout the school year and summer. And it has helped—already, more than 2,100 participants have taken part in the program!
In the 2014-2015 school year alone, more than 75 individual courses were offered, from Code of Conduct, Character and Support information sessions to more specialized workshops such as brain health (concussions), car seat and bicycle safety, couponing, disaster preparedness, healthy cooking and relationships, Say Yes to Education and more.
In fact, parent training sessions on the Code of Conduct, Character and Support were held in most Syracuse city schools to seek feedback and inform parents of procedures outlined in the Code. If you missed these sessions, you may still submit feedback through the district’s ‘Let’s Talk!’ communication tool, available at
Studies show that the most successful students are those whose parents are involved, and Parent University was created with this in mind, to help families learn what they can do to support their children’s academic success and wellbeing.
The program is designed to inform, involve and empower families, offering a variety of meaningful classes and workshops that will add to their existing skills and give them opportunities for continued growth and development. In fact, a majority of workshops are determined by parent suggestion and feedback.
Open to parents and caregivers of students enrolled in any of the Syracuse City Schools, workshops and events are free to attend—and many even include free transportation and childcare.
Parent University Family Conferences, held twice each year, are a cornerstone of the effort. Topics of discussion at a recent event included helpful hints to make reading fun for children, yoga, Common Core math, legal consultations and more. These conferences also feature nationally acclaimed keynote speakers, such as Byron V. Garrett, who recently spoke on the importance of parents in the education of young males and the challenges facing young black males in education. Past speakers have included renowned educator Principal Baruti Kafele, Innovation Zone Executive Director Dr. Zheadric Barbra and more.
While course offerings and workshops are varied in subject matter, each is intended to focus on social emotional learning, technology, academic intervention and support, growth and personal development or education for everyday living.
To learn more about Parent University and upcoming programs, visit or contact Monique Wright-Williams, Executive Director of Parent and Family Engagement, at (315) 435-6275.
Keep an Eye Out for Parent Leadership Academy!
The Parent University Parent Leadership Academy was created to provide parents with an opportunity to identify their family’s strengths so that they can build on them in helping their child succeed in school.  A focus is placed on the development of a healthy, happy and whole parent.  Parents will create vision boards for themselves and their family and then work on the skills needed to bring some of those things to fruition.  At a minimum, parents will leave the Academy able to understand how to begin moving in the direction of their dreams.  They will also be in the school in their child’s class once a week for six weeks to encourage their child along and to develop an understanding of school operations. Keep an eye out for more information about upcoming Parent Leadership Academies!