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New Parent Cafés aim to connect families to schools

Superintendent Jennifer Spring, Ed.D. is now hosting a monthly coffee hour for families in the district. The goal of the cafés, at various locations throughout the city, is to bridge the gap between home and school, on the family’s time and in their neighborhood.

“For some of our families, getting to the school building can be a challenge,” said Brittany Hunt, the district’s new parent liaison. “The barriers vary from working long hours to being unaware of the opportunities to become involved in the school community.”

“By building relationships with families we haven’t previously connected with, we’d like to create a more robust parent network and expand the connections within the school community,” added Hunt.

The cafés allow families to visit with the superintendent, who is also a Cohoes resident, in an informal, comfortable setting. Many of the coffee hours are being held in the common area of the various apartment complexes where students reside.

“Parents are the second most important group of people we serve, behind their children,” said Dr. Jennifer Spring. “I want to meet with as many of our families as possible, to learn more about their child’s educational experience in our schools, find ways to help and work together to ensure our students’ academic, social and emotional success.”

The monthly cafés are part of a comprehensive effort to strengthen the school-family connection and reduce chronic absenteeism across the district.

The district’s #EveryMinuteMatters campaign to improve regular attendance in school has led to a number of new programs and initiatives to achieve student success, including mentoring, community partnering and a before school walk-in sick clinic at Harmony Mills Pediatrics.

“We want our families to know that we are behind them 100 percent,” said Dr. Spring. “We are continuing to identify the many ways we can help meet students’ basic needs so they are happy, healthy and ready to learn every day.”

The district launched several initiatives in the 2016-17 school year as part of the strategic plan to prepare students for success in tomorrow’s world. From implementing 21st Century technology and creating a culture of high expectations, to effectively training teachers and maximizing the efficiency of resources, the vision is to be one of the highest achieving school districts in the greater Capital Region.

The monthly Parent Cafés are scheduled on the following Saturdays from January to May, 2017.

  • January 7 – 11 a.m. at Saratoga Sites
  • February 4 – 11 a.m. at Manor Sites
  • March 4 – Van Schaick Island (location TBD)
  • April 1 – Falls View Apartments
  • May 6 – Downtown (location TBD)

If families can’t make one of the parent cafés but would like to meet with the parent liaison and/or the superintendent, they are always welcome to email Brittany Hunt at or call 470-3876.

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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