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Strengthening Families' in Canastota

Getting parents more involved in their child's education was just one of the Canastota School District's goals. So, the Comprehensive Development Educational Plan committee got together to try find a way to achieve this.

Kelly Boswell, family consumer science teacher contacted BRiDGES, Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and asked about its Strengthening Families program, a national program BRiDGES has been using since 2004.

BRiDGES brought its program to Canastota in November.

"We had wonderful success," said June Clarke, assistant superintendent. "It's a positive for parents and a way to engage parents in their child's education."

Samantha McCarthy of BRiDGES presented an overview to the board of education at its regular meeting April 7.

One night a week for six weeks, parents and their children aged 10 to 14 met with BRiDGES staff at the school. The cost was $20 per family, which included dinner. The families participated in activities, each focusing on certain family issues. Role playing, stress management, family values including goals, dreams and interests were all part of the program that BRiDGES presented in a fun and creative way.

McCarthy said eight families participated, which she said was a lot for this program.

Since 2004, BRiDGES has presented the Strengthening Families program 23 times to 279 families. McCarthy asked the board for permission to hold another session in September.

New math books needed

The McGraw Hill math textbooks the district is currently using do not reflect state standards, said assistant Superintendent June Clarke. As a result, teachers began to create their own lessons, which resulted in inconsistencies within the grade levels.

After the district's kindergarten through eighth grade math committee revised its curriculum maps, gathered its data, which included state test results and reviewed the data, it was decided they needed new textbooks.

"The curriculum was 10 years old," Clarke said. "So we started an investigation."

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