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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                        CONTACT: Abbe Smith
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012                                                                 203-497-7015/203-676-0463
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reginald Mayo launched the school district’s newest effort to engage and empower parents as strong leaders in their children’s education. Parent University New Haven kicks off on Saturday, Nov 3, at Gateway Community College with a daylong series of workshops aimed at helping parents support their kids in school and learn the skills they need to get a better job and take their family in a positive direction.
Mayor DeStefano and Superintendent Mayo joined Gateway President Dr. Dorsey L. Kendrick at the new downtown campus to launch Parent University and spread the word to NHPS parents, who are encouraged to register for the free event. Gateway Community College partners with New Haven Public Schools on a number of programs, including college-in-high-school courses in some city high schools.
Parent University New Haven is free to NHPS parents and offers a wide variety of workshop topics including: How to help your child study for exams, planning for college, how to support teenagers, navigating the public school system, reading with your child and fun ways to teach math. Non-academic support workshops will educate parents on how to protect their children from cyber-bullying and abuse. New Haven fathers can sign up for a workshop on how to be a strong male role model for their children.
Modeled on similar Parent Universities in Boston and Philadelphia, New Haven’s Parent University is unique in that workshops not only address how parents can support their kids in school, but also how they can enrich their own lives. Topics include tips for successful job searching, learning a trade, computer literacy for adults, resume writing and starting your own business.
“Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers. It is imperative that families have the knowledge, tools and resources they need to support their children through school and life,” said Mayor DeStefano. “Parent University is one way the New Haven Public Schools is reaching out to parents and families to provide that support. It is a vital effort and one that must be sustained and expanded.”
“We all know that when parents get involved in their children’s lives, they do better in school and have brighter futures. Parent University empowers mothers and fathers and grandparents to help their children be successful in life,” Superintendent Mayo said. “I urge all New Haven school parents to take advantage of this opportunity to enrich their lives and give their kids a boost in school.”
“Parental involvement is crucial to the development of successful students. By enhancing the learning experience and strengthening a child’s support system, we can create an environment where students can persevere, complete their degrees and become a community of lifelong learners,” said President Kendrick.
“I signed up for Parent University because I like that it’s a one-stop-shop for information and resources to help my child,” said Taneha Edwards, mother of a sophomore at Hillhouse High School. “My son is an honors student and I want to get more information about New Haven Promise and how to help my son apply for college. I urge other parents to get involved and find out what workshops might help them.”
“Men play an important role in the lives of young people. At Parent University, my workshop aims to show men they can be true leaders and role models to kids,” said Keith Young, male involvement coordinator for New Haven’s Head Start program. Young is leading a workshop about the importance of male involvement. “We’ve got to engage with these guys and talk to them about being all they can be.”
Parent University New Haven is free to NHPS parents and includes free lunch, raffle prizes and free child care with pre-registration for children ages 3 to 12. The workshops go from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 3 and will be held at Gateway’s new downtown campus, 20 Church St. There will be free parking at the Temple Street garage and free bus transportation from various locations throughout the city. For more information, go to and to register for Parent University go to
Parent University is a critical component of the school district’s intensified parent engagement efforts as the city moves forward with its nationally recognized School Change initiative, which seeks to eliminate the achievement gap with the state, cut the drop-out rate in half and make sure every student is academically prepared for and financially able to go to college. This year, the school district is rolling out new strategies to empower parents and build communities of support around New Haven students.
Starting in August of this year, the city of New Haven and the school district partnered with the New Haven Promise college scholarship program, the Boost! initiative and the United Way of Greater New Haven to hold three community canvasses where hundreds of volunteers knocked on the doors of New Haven parents to inform them about important resources available to them and their children.