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October 7, 2013

Parents, teachers find common ground

PLATTSBURGH — Feeding goats and good grades were just two of the topics at a unique parent-teacher conference held recently at Bankers Orchard.

The third-annual All Together Fall Educational Festival welcomed parents, students and educators from around the North Country to gather at the orchard for a free afternoon of fun and conversation. 

While the children enjoyed face-painting and visiting farm animals, their parents spoke with teachers about how they could work together to better assist students.

Saranac High School science teacher Michele Bushey organized the first festival in 2011 in an effort to bring parents and educators together to talk in a casual environment. 

Based on the positive response the event received, she hopes not only to continue hosting it but to expand it to twice a year if possible.

SIMILAR GOALS

School districts represented at the event included Ausable Valley, Beekmantown, Chazy, Malone, Moriah, Plattsburgh, Peru, Saranac and Saranac Lake.

One of the main goals that Bushey said she had for the festival was to reinforce the idea that parents and teachers share similar goals for the educational environment in New York state and to empower parents to work with educators and become more involved in their children’s education.

“Parents have the ability to come together and say, ‘This is how this is impacting my child. What can we do to make this program work and still meet the challenges of today’s world?’” Bushey said.

Heidi Dennis of Chazy had attended the 2012 event and said she came back this year to discuss the Common Core Learning Standards that are being used to teach her children. 

She was frustrated when the new Learning Standards were put in place and she realized her son, Caden, was expected to know material in second grade that he had not been taught in kindergarten and first grade. 

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