Citywide Parents’ Conference Focuses on Scholars Striving for Excellence

Parents and school administrators collaborate for student success

[Newark, NJ – November 20, 2013] – More than 500 parents and families of Newark Public Schools (NPS) students gathered for the 27th Annual Title I Citywide Parent Conference at the Airport Marriott Hotel on Monday. Titled NPS Scholars Striving for Excellence this year, the conference allowed families to learn about nurturing successful students. The annual parent driven conference is organized by the Office of Family and Community Engagement and reinforces the values of Joyce Epstein’s six pillars of parental involvement, including parenting, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision-making, and collaborating with the community. Ms. Epstein is a sociology research professor at John’s Hopkins University.

The conference exemplified the values of One Newark, a collective agenda to ensure all students thrive in excellent schools. NPS Superintendent Cami Anderson welcomed participants and stressed the importance of partnerships between schools and parents. “We are partners in ensuring that our children strive for excellence: Newark Public Schools delivers and you deliver,” she said and added, “Parents are their children’s first teachers: praise them when they do the right thing, converse with them, ensure there are books at home and that they read a lot, ensure they go to bed on time, that they eat the right foods, attend school, and support them, especially through the challenges.”

“The NPS Title I Citywide Parent Conference is one of the largest events for parents in the state. This year we offered a new venue and provided an opportunity for parents from all over the city to come together, share experiences and learn new techniques on how to academically, socially and emotionally support their children,” said NPS Chief Family and Community Engagement Officer Tia Morris.
Following the Superintendent was the conference’s first-time student keynote speaker Jordan D. Thomas. A University High School senior who is the Student Representative on the NPS Advisory Board, Mr. Thomas spoke of how supportive parents helped him become a successful student. “Parents are a powerful force in shaping student success. My parents always encouraged me and attended school events, which was essential to me being who I am today.”

Participants attended a variety of workshops that together, addressed the holistic needs of every child. As a follow up, parents and families who attended the conference were also responsible for sharing information and materials with other parents and families of their school community.

Workshops included:
  • Academic issues – National Common Core Curriculum, Requirements for High School Graduation, College Going Culture (Navigating the steps to college and career readiness)
  • Early Childhood – Language Development with Pre-Schoolers, Asthma in Early Childhood,
  • Parental Involvement – Title I Schoolwide Programs and School Improvement, Helping Our Children Succeed in School
  • Addressing the needs of English language learners – Common Core for Bilingual Students
  • Special needs students – Behavior Management at Home and in the Classroom
  • Supportive strategies – Preventing Substance Abuse by Our Teens in the 21st Century, Depth to Heights – Grief Management, Depression –A Brief Overview of the Disorder in Children.
In addition, retired NPS Community Relations director Ruby Greene was posthumously granted the Community Service Award. Nominated by parents, Ms. Greene’s career with NPS, first as a teacher and then as an administrator with responsibility for parental involvement, was commemorated.