2006-04-13 / Top Stories

Ed. Council Member Blasts Parent Coordinators For Not Attending Meetings

By Delia Bray

A member of Community District 18 Education Council (CDEC), last week blasted parents in general and the district's parent coordinators on the low attendance at the monthly meeting.

In bringing the parents to task, Albert Tannis pointed out that attendance was low at the meeting, which was held at P.S. 219, and that very few parent coordinators from the district were on hand. Tannis read aloud the qualifications for parent coordinator which clearly stated that evening hours are part of the job description.

When he asserted that the least the parent coordinators could do was attend the monthly CDEC meeting and possibly even get some parents from the schools to attend, he was met with strong vocal opposition from the parent coordinators who were present. Tannis had to point out that he obviously was not referring to the two coordinators who were attending the meeting.

One coordinator, Anthony Gordon of P.S. 219, felt Tannis was out of line to comment on the lack of involvement of the coordinators. Gordon emphasized that parent coordinators were paid for 35 hours of work and should not have to work overtime. Tannis indicated that parent coordinators would understand District 18's problems and needs better and help the CDEC understand the needs of individual schools better if they at least attended the meetings.

"After all, it is supposed to be about the children," Tannis said. He noted there were only 18 people present.

Addressing another topic, Community Superintendent Felicita Santiago announced that children at risk have a new safety net in the public school system.

She said Mayor Michael Bloomberg has initiated a plan whereby the Department of Education (DOE), Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) will all work together to investigate children at risk.

Now just excessive, unexcused absences alone will be enough to trigger an investigation. According to Santiago, Bloomberg vowed he would do all he could to prevent more Nixzmarry Browns - the little girl beaten to death last January despite numerous complaints by school officials. Nixzmarry had many excessive school absences. Santiago went on to say that bringing the NYPD into the equation will make a great difference and that school staff will also have further training in how to deal with at risk children.

Santiago added: "When I was a principal, I remember certain children where something was clearly going on. They were disheveled and dirty all the time. They would hide food and display other behaviors that indicated there was a problem and we could do virtually nothing.

"Now there is hope."

The next meeting of the CDEC 18 will be on Monday May 1, 2006 at 7 p.m. at I.S. 211, East 100th Street and Avenue J.

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