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Family engagement encouraged in Buffalo Public Schools

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo Public School families will have a chance to learn how to play a bigger role in their child's education.  WBFO'S Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says the Parent Power and Partnershipevent will be held tomorrow at Bennett High School.

"If a family is more engaged with their student, the student has much more likelihood of being successful in school," said  Daphne Inman, Communications Supervisor for Say Yes Buffalo.  The organization is one of the partners for Saturday's event.  It will provide parents will five sessions -- one will offer information on how a parent can advocate for their child. 

"That will be led by the District Parent Coordinating Council, the BPS Office of Family Engagement, the Parent Network and the Family Child Advocacy Network," noted Inman.        
Stabilizing family needs  will be part of Saturday's break out session. And with the ever growing population of immigrants and refugees coming into the Buffalo community, a session working to bridge the culture and language gaps will also be provided. 

Say Yes Buffalo Communications Director Betsy Behrend said family engagement could prove to be a factor in improving graduation rates.
"And this is just one other area that we saw we might be helpful in brining different people to the table to find the solutions," said Behrend. 

America's Promise Alliance promotes the GradNation campaign with a goal of increasing high school graduation rates by 80-percent 2020 nationwide. Say Yes Buffalo was chosen to host Saturday's summit.

"We chose family engagement as an area we want to get involved," said Inman. "We can begin to address issues why families and parents aren't engaged."  "Say Yes is a convener -- we are a partnership," noted Behrend. "One of our goals is to really look at different issues that really need attention in the school district."

Behrend said Say Yes Buffalo's class of 2013 versus the class of 2012 had a 9-percent increase in the number of public school graduates that went on to college. "We'll be getting the information to see how the class of 2014 did. We'll get that soon. We're hopeful we are on the right path."

Registration for the event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.  Following the break-out sessions -- parents will be able to participate in a question and answer session with experts.