Family Engagement Center Open

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The South Country School District is proud to announce the opening of the Family Engagement Center.   The Center is open from 3 to 4:30 pm three days a week, Monday Wednesday and Friday. 

"I'm excited it is finally opening up and hopefully we will be able to get families more engaged in what is going on," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Giani. Family engagement, he said, was always a top priority since taking his seat in 2013. That school year, he said, they applied for a New York State Style grant and were approved. A few years later, last year, Giani said the old Student Support Services building located in front of the central administration office was deemed the perfect spot for the new center after years of vacancy. The center will allow parents and students to come in for homework help and possibly other extra-help nights depending on need.

Last summer, the center was furnished and computers were installed through a grant funded by the state. The center was scheduled to open in September, but after an accident involving a truck that ran into the side of the building, it was set off its foundation. Over the last school year the building was made to look more like a complex and the entire inside was redone, including a new ceiling, rugs and lighting. Giani said the tables in the building are modular and on wheels so that they can be used to set up a lecture hall, smaller group learning tables or a circle for a community forum. The center is equipped with Wi-Fi, white boards, a computer on wheels and Google Chrome books with a charging station.

Two teachers have been assigned as the new family engagement organizers at the new K-12 facility. Giani said one is an elementary coordinator and the other is secondary. Also, two district-wide curriculum directors have their new offices in the space, allowing to host efficient department meetings. Below the first floor is a space for a conference room with a white board, he said, which will be used for professional development during the school day. The building fits about 50 people, a number that he said allows for an entire grade level of teachers to hold meetings. "Our goal for the Family Engagement Center is to build partnerships between families, schools and the community, so that together as partners we can maximize student achievement," said family engagement organizer Rosa Kalomiris, excited for the grand opening. The center, she explained, will offer a variety of resources for both students and families, such as homework help and parent workshops. "Our Family Engagement Center is full of potential," she added. "We look forward to working with our families and the community members to make our center a valuable resource to all."

The building will be open from 3-4:30 p.m. three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To start, two student workshops will be held every Wednesday, a graphing calculator for an Algebra 1 workshop and a test-taking strategy workshop. There will also be a Leamos! Spanish/English literacy workshop for parents. "We are trying whatever we can do to draw kids in for homework help," added Giani, while also promoting parent engagement. "Hopefully, we can get some traction and be able to engage families." (reprinted from the LI Advance, 3/31/16)