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City schools 'Say Yes'

There is no question that two of the most difficult jobs in today's society are parenting and teaching. To anyone who has been involved in either pursuit, that is clear. The fact that each involves a great deal of on-the-job training increases the degree of difficulty. Combine that with the fact that one of the most challenging aspects of education today, urban education in particular, is that families and educators are battling demographics that often impede the progress of education. We find ourselves in situations where large numbers of concerned citizens are seeking answers to a large number of difficult -to-answer questions.

On Saturday May 22 the Syracuse City School District's Parent Partnership Network combined with Say Yes to Education and the Prevention Network to present the first annual Syracuse Family Leadership Conference at Syracuse University, as a step toward answering those questions.

The day-long event at SU's Life Sciences Complex provided SCSD parents with more than 30 workshop sessions designed to promote the empowerment of parents to advocate for the best possible education for their children and establish successful relationships between children and parents; students and teachers; and parents and teachers.

The parents in attendance were reflective of the diversity of the district. They were a mix of race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and socio-economic situations. There was, however, little diversity in their reason for attending; they were all committed to education in Syracuse.

The conference was three sessions:

The sessions, "Transforming Student Achievement," "Building a Family Survival Kit," and "Communicating with our Children" were facilitated by experts in the appropriate fields and covered enough topics to provide the attendees with a wide choice to meet their particular needs and concerns. There were no lectures and no quizzes, but there were plenty of challenges to put into use the information and ideas that were generated.

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