MASSENA — Parents of students attending J.W. Leary Junior High School and Massena Central High School are invited to meet with school officials during what they’re calling Parent Cafes.
The junior high outreach meetings are scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at the junior high school library, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Massena Community Center and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Salvation Army Community Room.
The Massena Central High School Parent Cafe will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in room 314 at the high school. It will focus on how vaping is affecting Massena teens and what can be done to address it.
Child care will be available for young children, and snacks will be provided by student cooking clubs.
Superintendent Patrick Brady said Kristin Colarusso-Martin, the district’s Community Schools site coordinator, and building principals are leading the initiative.
“The Parent Cafes are part of our community schools’ effort to improve family and community engagement with the district,” he said.
School staff, including administrators, teachers, counselors and others will be able to speak with families about any issues they may have. However, they will not be discussing specific situations or individual issues.
Mr. Brady said topics such as graduation requirements and state assessments, health issues such as vaping and drug use, parenting, school programs, bullying and other issues that impact students can be part of the roundtable meetings. The goal is to make connections with families, engage in dialogue about the school and determine topics of interest for future Parent Cafes.
“The Massena Junior High School Parent Cafe will be an open forum for parents and schools administrators to discuss how we can work together to make the junior high the best experience possible for students and families,” Ms. Colarusso-Martin said.
“For the first one, I’m anticipating almost a town hall, so to speak. We’re very carefully not talking specifically about a kid, but more generally about issues, any issues parents will have. The idea is to not really go in with an agenda, but more to go in with an opportunity to talk about school and what’s going on,” J.W. Leary Principal Alan Oliver said.
He said they hope to use the first session as a launching pad for future discussions about topics of interest to parents.
“It’s just a time for us to talk. What I can help them with, what the school can help with. We’re really just trying to make it as simple as we can. If nothing else, I’ll make myself available,” Mr. Oliver said.
Mr. Brady said the Parent Cafes were an important way to establish partnerships between the schools and parents.
“Schools are most successful and our students learn best when there is a positive partnership between parents and schools. This initiative seeks to enhance this relationship,” he said.