First Parent Academy Held In Brooklyn

The first Parent Academy took place Saturday, kicking off a NYC Department of Education program designed to foster partnerships between parents and schools.

The inaugural Parent Academy focused largely on helping parents get the most from fall parent-teacher conferences. The program was attended by not just parents, but administrators and teachers as well.

Despite fears that attendance might be affected by Sandy, turnout to the first Parent Academy was strong, with some sessions being standing room only.

Joanna Oltman Smith, a parent with two children who attend PS 321 in Brooklyn, says that the Parent Academy workshops offer the opportunity to leverage a relationship between parents and the Department of Education politically.

"It seems like the DOE wants to hear from parents, and wants us to be strong partners in the education process," says Oltman Smith. "But they also seem to not recognize how powerful we are as a political voice. If they want things to improve in their department and for our children, they should really be tapping into our energy and enthusiasm."

The three-year, $1.5 million dollar program was unveiled by New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, and 14 more Parent Academy workshops are planned for this school year.