PARENT leaders from Saipan, Tinian and Rota public schools, including Head Start/Early Head Start Centers, gathered on Oct. 9 at Kensington Hotel for the first CNMI-level Public School System Parent Summit.
Close to 200 newly elected Parent-Teacher-Student Association officers attended the event in compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols.
The office of Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred B. Ada and the Family and Community Engagement Program through interim manager Leila C. Yumul initiated the summit in partnership with the school district’s Parent Advisory Council or PAC.
The theme of the summit was “Empowering Families One Student at a Time.”
“This is the biggest summit ever since prior to Covid-19,” PAC president Rob Harrell said.
PAC, the main organization of all PTSAs, was created in 2010 by the school district as an advisory council to the Office of the Commissioner of Education.
During his remarks at the summit, Harrell encouraged his fellow parents to be more actively involved in their children’s school activities.
He said through the summit, “we will learn about the programs, activities and initiatives that PSS has been working on post-Covid for our children’s continued learning.”
In addition, he said, the summit “will talk about new things post-Covid and our roles as parents when it comes to… digital learning, online and technology-based applications…and understanding where the landscape is now.”
In his virtual message, Commissioner Ada hailed the partnership between PSS and parents.
“Today’s theme…means that we, at PSS, are reaching out to you to share the resources and the skills that every family needs on their home front,” he said.
“Empowering families means helping families register their child online. Empowering families means providing one laptop per child so that they can log into virtual remote learning, through (Blackboard Ultra) and access their lessons virtually.”
Empowering families is also providing mental services for each and every child’s emotional needs, especially amid the pandemic, Ada said.
As key partners in education, parents “determine their children’s academic achievement and success,” he added.
Board of Education Chairman Andrew L. Orsini and Vice Chairman Herman Atalig also recognized the role of parents in the overall work and success of students and PSS.
“We recognize all of you, our PAC president Harrell, other PTSA leaders and all of our parents for helping our educators and (PSS) empower our schools through your commitment and passion…as we all work together to ensure your children’s success,” Orsini said.
Atalig said PSS “needs the parents’ support and assistance to be able to provide optimum educational opportunities to the children.”
He added, “We encourage you to continue working with us because we are one PSS community and it is our commitment to give your children the best possible education.”
BOE secretary/treasurer Maisie B. Tenorio also joined the parent leaders in their summit.
Among the programs and initiatives presented during the summit were: Parenting in the Digital World; SY 2020-2021 State Assessments & Infinite Campus Overview for Parents, Updated Hopwood Middle School and FEMA Projects; PSS School Mental Health Program; the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Village Pride Campaign Project; the Presidential Awards of Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching; Updates on PSS Student Vaccination Information; and PSS Strategic Priorities Management Goals Overview.
During the summit, the PTSA officers and school administrators also listed their goals for the new school year.