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Fulton’s Parent University ‘A Growing Event’

Parents had the opportunity to sit with members of the district's board of education and Superintendent at the fourth annual Parent University.

FULTON, NY – The fourth annual Parent University brought community resources together with district families.

With more than 30 service providers lining the halls of G. Ray Bodley High School at Saturday’s Parent University, parents learned of the many offerings for families of the Fulton community.

“I found it to be very helpful. It was a fun thing to do, get us out of the house and it just makes you realize how big this community really is,” said Tori Rojas, parent of a fourth grade Fulton student.

Having just moved to the district, Rojas said Parent University was the perfect opportunity to enlighten her to all her new community has to offer.

Service providers such as Reality Check, Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, Oswego County Opportunities, Oswego Health and several others set up booths to showcase their offerings to district families.

For a complete listing of agencies presented in the community resource fair, visit here.

“I think it’s really important to help people be aware of everything we offer, especially considering we have so many programs,” said Karyssa Carson, OCO Health Educator.

The sentiment was echoed by several other service providers.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we do. It’s been really well attended and I’m very excited about it. We’ve been able to engage with families and young people and provide community education,” said Kathleen Knopp, Reality Check coordinator.

Even families that are not new to the district found the abundance of information beneficial as Chastity Hudson said.

Parent to a seventh and tenth grader in the Fulton district, she said she discovered a few community partnerships she was unaware of, offering new opportunities to her children.

With a larger community resource fair than ever before, Geri Geitner, Director of Student Support Services, said Parent University is a growing event.

“This has been excellent to provide opportunities to connect with community partnerships but the best part for me is just seeing all this interaction- to see parents and families are in our schools, getting so much information and having fun!” Geitner said.

Superintendent Pulvino commended Geitner and district staff for their work in organizing the event.

“This has been a great event. It was very well attended and provided so much information to allow our families to get access to so much. One of our greatest strengths are the partnerships we have throughout the community and I think that’s evident here,” Pulvino said.

Parents and families were offered free breakfast and lunch and had the opportunity to attend a number of educational or hands-on sessions.

Both Rojas and Hudson favored the Make-and-Take Meal session where families were able to prepare a nutritious meal together to bring home.

Other sessions included round table discussion with the district superintendent and board of education, NYS testing overview, coping strategies, promoting good attendance, student led work study learning opportunities, and a number of safety sessions including understanding human trafficking, current trends in adolescent substance abuse, keeping your child safe online, and school safety and social-emotional wellness, among many others.

New this year, two double sessions showed a screening of the award winning film, “Resilience.”

“RESILIENCE: THE BIOLOGY OF STRESS & THE SCIENCE OF HOPE chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease.”

Geri Geitner said the film provided a good opportunity to initiate conversation on helping children and families overcome trauma.

“The message is good,” said Superintendent Pulvino. “It shows the importance of mental health support and being proactive with offering those supports to students.”

He considers the Fulton City School District “blessed to have such mental health supports” in place to offer students, but noted the use of increased community aid to maximize those supports and consider expansion of after school activities.

District officials are excited to see Parent University continue to grow each year.