Today’s parents face challenges unlike those encountered by any other generation – and Riverhead wants to give parents the support they need to handle them. 

Starting this fall, Riverhead Central School District is launching a new program to connect local parents with community resources and to provide educational seminars on the unique challenges confronting parents today.

The program will kick off later this month with Family Fun Night, an expo-style event at Riverhead High School that will feature interactive games, free raffles and displays from community organizations and student clubs.

“We want to share with parents all the resources that are available to them, both in the schools and in the community, ” said Emily Puccio, a middle school teacher who is spearheading the program.

Family Fun Night, which will be held October 25 at 6 p.m., will also offer an opportunity for younger students to explore the high school and learn about extracurricular clubs and activities from the students who participate in them.

“Our youngest students and their parents will be able to get a taste of what the high school will be like, to walk around the hallways and see how beautiful the building is,” said Christine Tona, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Families who haven’t had a chance to be in the high school yet will get a nice feel for it and have something to look forward to.”

The event will also introduce the Parent University workshops and seminars that will be held throughout the rest of the year. Featuring speakers from both the school district and local organizations, the workshops will cover topics ranging from technology usage to kindergarten readiness.

“We look to parents to be partners with us in the child’s schooling, so this is a way for us to be partners in their parenting too,” Tona said.

Tona, who took her post as assistant superintendent last year, was involved in a similar program at her previous school district. “When I started here we had lots of conversations about how to give parents more opportunities to be part of the school district,” she said.

It’s the first district-wide program of its kind that is dedicated specifically to parents.

“The reaction has been very positive,” Tona said. “Parents are excited about it. They’re giving us great ideas, and they’re happy to be working on something collaboratively with the school district like this.”

Workshop dates are currently slated for November 30, January 25, March 21 and May 29.

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