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Mount Vernon City School District hosts 27th Annual Parent Involvement Day

Mount Vernon City School District hosts 27th Annual Parent Involvement Day

In 1996, several women in the Mount Vernon community came together to create the Mount Vernon Parent and Community Forum on Education, a group whose goal is to encourage families to be more involved in their child’s academic life. Monday, February 12, 2024, marked the 27th annual Mount Vernon City School District Parent Involvement Day. Parents visited schools throughout the District, helping create an environment that encourages the youth of Mount Vernon. 

“Parent Involvement Day is the District’s biggest family engagement event of the year,” said Elizabeth Smith, parent liaison for Lincoln School and Benjamin Turner Academy. “We invite our parents into the buildings to attend workshops and get information to support their children’s learning and development. As well as to visit their classrooms and see what their children's school day is like.” 

Parents at Nelson Mandela/Dr. Hosea Zollicoffer School were treated to a breakfast before being greeted by the principal, a PTA representative and the school psychologist. Pamela Valdovinos, parent liaison, translated the welcome messages to parents who speak Spanish. 

Parents visited classrooms to see what their children were learning. They also attended workshops to better understand how to support their children. One workshop, “Hidden in Plain Site,” was presented by Richard Julius, who showed parents the locations that a child might hide items such as drugs or weapons. Mr. Julius has also held workshops at the Parent Resource Center at Mount Vernon STEAM Academy. 

Parent walking their child to school.

“It’s very important that your family is involved to help continue what you learn at school at home,” said Michelle Sanchez, mother of Logan Pavia, a fifth-grade student at NMHZ, and Victoria Pavia, a third-grade student at NMHZ. 

“I like this because it’s important for her to know what is happening in school and what’s happening in my life,” said Logan. “I want to show her that I have good grades and am doing well in school.” 

Parents at Benjamin Turner Academy were greeted by their children singing as they mingled with one another and were served breakfast. Afterwards, parents attended numerous workshops to gain more insight into their children's education.  

“I think Parent Involvement Day is very important because it lets your child know that you’re interested in what is going on at the school,” said Paulette Melvin, grandparent of eighth grade student Hayden Melvin at BTA. “I think it is very important that we show our children that we are interested in their lives, this is just the beginning, and this is going to lead to greater things, which is something I desire for my granddaughter. I love coming here and she loves that I come to support her.” 

Hamilton School held special education, English as a New Language (ENL) and Infinite Campus presentations. Lower Hudson Regional Information Center instructor Dana Unger and ENL teacher Linda Fortugno explained translation tools and the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test. The presentations had captions so Spanish-speaking parents could follow along. 

Parents listening to presentation.

 “Any subjects that she would like to pursue in the future, I want to be a help to her and keep her focused on what needs to be done and what she needs to do to have a perfect future,” said Mark Weldon, father of Malon Weldon, a first grader at Hamilton School.  “I’m excited for the i-Ready workshop, and I’m excited that the school is taking the time out and doing extra things to help these kids, not just my daughter, to get them on the right track.”  

Parents at Edward Williams also participated in workshops and presentations and visited their children’s classrooms. In one classroom, parents worked with their children and classmates to build a miniature chair out of paper. Each group tested out their chairs to see which of the groups worked together best. 

“A parent being involved in a child’s education encourages the child to know that they are going in the right direction,” said Board of Education Trustee Helene Njenga-Thompson. “Thank you all for coming out, I know everyone has a busy schedule.” 

Mount Vernon Honor Academy started the day off with a presentation from Dr. Paige Long Sharps, a physician. Dr. Long Sharps spoke to parents about the importance of being heart healthy. Parents were also treated to a performance from the Stix and Stones Drumline and Mount Vernon Honors Chorus, before attending Zumba and flag football.  

“The goal of our Parent Involvement Day is to encourage our family members to be more active in their child's academic life, said Danielle Davis-Marrow, Principal at MVHA. “Parent Involvement Day gives the parents the opportunity to attend workshops, meet teachers and administrators, and learn what takes place in their child’s daily schedule. This is a great opportunity for parents to come in and get involved.” 

Parents at Traphagen School went to several workshops such as Financial Literacy for Parents, Literacy Hacks for Busy Lives, Nutrition Quest Escape Room, Connecting Families with the Community, and Technology Support for Families. All of these workshops provided beneficial information for parents to use in their children’s daily lives to further enhance their education.  

Click here to access the gallery from Parent Involvement Day.


Danielle Browne

Danielle R. Browne, Esq., founding attorney of the Browne Firm PLLC and city councilperson for the City of Mount Vernon, graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 2006. She attended Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was the captain of the women’s basketball team, and received her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Since then, she has started her own law firm and made her impact on her hometown as a city councilperson.

Dr. Smith receiving proclamation.

Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith received a proclamation from New York State Senator Jamal Bailey, recognizing her for her exemplary service to the community and the State of New York for Women’s History Month on Friday, April 5, 2024. Nakia Hiland, director of Safe Place for Our Girls, from the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau and Unique Groom, community liaison for Jamal Bailey presented the proclamation to Dr. Smith.  

Logo for news post

Dr. K. Veronica Smith, Acting Superintendent of Schools: 

Greetings MVCSD Community,

At approximately 10:23 a.m., there was a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in New Jersey. The aftershocks were felt throughout the Tri-State area. Several of our school buildings felt the tremors, which lasted for less than 30 seconds.

There have been no reports of staff or student injuries due to this incident. As a precaution, we will have indoor activities for our students for the remainder of the day. We will keep you updated on any developments on this matter if necessary.

Students strapping instructor onto board

Mount Vernon City School District students, equipped with medical supplies, administered care to mannequins during their emergency medical technician (EMT) training course at Mount Vernon High School on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Department added a new EMT program earlier in the school year, and classes began in December. 

Dr. Waterman Superintendent for a Day

A new, but familiar, face occupied the Mount Vernon City School District superintendent’s desk on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. Dr. Crystal Waterman, Edward Williams School principal, served as the superintendent for the day to begin Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith’s “Superintendent for a Day,” series. Dr. Smith served as the principal at Edward Williams.