Unlike some of her predecessors, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña gets it.
That’s according to Community Education Council 24 President Nick Comaianni, speaking Wednesday about Fariña’s visit to the board’s monthly meeting the previous night in Ridgewood.
She discussed policy and answered questions from CEC 24 members and a handful of parents for around 45 minutes, something Comaianni said not many past chancellors would have done.
“She seemed very open. It was great to have her there,” Comaianni said. “The other chancellors had no clue what they were talking about. Carmen will listen and take your input.”
Questions coming from CEC 24 members were mostly about administrative policy and transparency within the Department of Education, with some asking for DOE employees to venture out of Tweed Courthouse and into the field to foster a more interactive dialogue with school districts.
Despite being skeptical of whether any improvements will actually be made, as Comaianni described her answers as “vague,” he is cautiously optimistic that Fariña will be receptive to any ideas concerning transparency.
He expressed that cautious optimism to the crowd of around 100 parents and school officials inside PS 239’s auditorium, as well.
“Now we have a real chancellor. Now you can see if we can get an answer or not from this chancellor,” he said. “The previous chancellors, ignore that. They weren’t real chancellors.”
Fielding a question from the audience about the role of parents in education, Fariña laid out her views on the role of parents in a student’s education to hearty applause.
“I don’t think parents should be their children’s teachers. When children are home, they need to have you as a loving parent, not a person who sets all the rules,” Fariña said. “There’s a difference between parent involvement and parent engagement.”
In terms of improving interaction between parents and educators, Fariña said, starting in September, teachers will be allocated an extra 40 minutes to call parents and encouraged to write newsletters to help inform families of what’s going on in the classroom.
Also, the number of night parent-teacher conferences will be raised from two to four.
According to Comaianni, Fariña expressed an interest in a walking tour of Corona with CEC members to survey possible sites for schools in order to ease the burden of overcrowding on the district.
No date has been set for the tour, but Comaianni said it should take place “in the coming months.”