Not all schools and principals engage parents.
But over the past year and a half, M.S. 101 principal Jared Rosoff has implemented some innovative and effective ways of communicating with parents, which he believes draws the school community closer together.
In a recent interview with the principal of the Throggs Neck sixth through eighth grade school, Rosoff, who took over last December, highlighted efforts to streamline communication between the school and parents.
Among them, a monthly “Breakfast with the Principal” for parents, a weekly e-mail update alerting parents of upcoming events and M.S. 101 news, and a new initiative called “Parents Night Out.”
“The kids say that this is like a home away from home,” he said. “We just make sure that the parents feel the same way, and feel that this is a safe space for their kids.”
The school held the first Breakfast with the Principal shortly after Rosoff arrived at the school, and it proved very successful because the events enabled parents to interact in more relaxed setting.
“The face time makes it effective,” he said. “It gives me the chance to interact with parents in an informal setting.”
This helps put parents at ease, especially as they send their children to the middle school from elementary school.
“Often parents feel powerless when they send their children to middle school because it is such a transition,” said assistant principal Shannon O’Grady. “Mr. Rosoff is very visible and very approachable, which eases the transition for the parents.”
Parents Night Out, first held on Friday, Oct. 25, allows parents to drop off their kids at school for an evening knowing that their children will be supervised in a safe setting, he explained.
“It is parents’ night out but it is really children’s night in,” said parent coordinator Teresa Wong, explaining that parents she spoke to took advantage of the time to catch up on their laundry, go to Empire City Casino in Yonkers, or have a night out and go to dinner.
She also described a school atmosphere where communication with parents has increased “a thousandfold” since Rosoff took over.
“I have tried to bring that community factor back together,” said Rosoff, “to make sure that parents, students and staff have that sense that this is our school, that we are all here together, and have that common purpose.”