Rochester Public Schools implements new family engagement program

(ABC 6 News) – It’s time for Rochester parents to head back to class.

It’s all part of a new program RPS is implementing to help their students succeed. The Parent Engagement in Education Program is offered nationwide, made available through the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE).

So far, the program has helped parents of two million students nationwide and now, Rochester students too.

“This is really the opportunity for our families to learn about how to support our students, wellness, academics, how to navigate the school system and how to think about preparing their students for the future,” said Coordinator of Family Engagement for Rochester Public Schools, Jennifer Spindler-Krage.

PIQE is designed for all parents but is really beneficial to parents who may be new to the American school system or have had bad past experiences.

It’s an optional eight-week program. It’s pretty simple, parents will meet at their child’s school and be placed in groups with other parents. And RPS is making sure there are no barriers for parents.

“We do things like have meals available, have childcare, transportation if it’s needed, interpreters and translation when that’s relevant for our families,” said Spindler-Krage.

People we spoke to say they’re happy the district is taking action.

“If you don’t know what your kids are learning, you don’t know what kind of things you don’t want them to know, what kind of things you do want them to know. It’s very important to be involved in every aspect of the education of your kids,” said Angie Kleven.

Although PIQE is offered for all grade levels, one thing high school parents will learn, is helping their student prepare for college.

“I had one daughter I think it’s confusing and I think that all the help that people that are knowledgeable and educated in doing that process is good access for parents to have,” said Kleven.

The eight-week program will start in January. The cost of the program is $108,000 but RPS isn’t on the hook for the entire cost. Three-fourths of the cost is covered by federal dollars the district recently received.