The New York City Department of Education (DOE) has tapped Hidden Sparks, a nonprofit focused on providing teachers and parents with the tools to support struggling students in mainstream Jewish day schools, to open a Parent Education Center (PEC) in Queens. The program will be the first in the borough to serve parents within the Jewish day school community and will officially begin offering services in time for the 2021-22 school year.

Upon its launch, the Hidden Sparks PEC will partner with 20 Queens Jewish day schools and parents of students in the Title I program. Participants are expected from Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Forest Hills, Jamaica Estates, Rego Park and Far Rockaway.

Through a virtual center with a dedicated staff, parents will be eligible to receive guidance, counseling and participate in workshops if they have a child that receives DOE services through the Title I program that focuses on improving English language and math skills for struggling students. Parents will be able to attend these one-on-one meetings and group sessions at no cost.

The individual sessions and workshops, will offer support and mentoring for parents seeking help with homework strategies for their children, help them to promote their child’s extracurricular reading, as well as organizational and executive functioning skills. They will also offer parents support in helping guide their child’s emotional development in areas like building self-esteem, effective communication skills, positive discipline, and setting boundaries. Hidden Sparks plans to partner with local day schools by offering parent workshops and by being available to accept referrals from school principals and guidance staff.

“A center like this is so critical in being able to provide direct service to those in need in our community. We feel both privileged and thrilled that the New York City Department of Education has selected us as its partner for helping Jewish day school parents in Queens, which has one of the largest populations in the tri-state area,” said Hidden Sparks Executive Director Debbie Niderberg. “Over the coming months we look forward to connecting the community with education specialists who will be able to work with parents both during scheduled group sessions as well as in direct counseling meetings, both virtual and in-person. We’re excited to assist parents in Queens in helping their children be more successful in the classroom.”

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Hidden Sparks
Founded in 2006, Hidden Sparks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping teachers and schools educate struggling learners. Through professional development programs and on-site coaching for teachers, it helps educators deepen their understanding of learning and approaches for teaching all kinds of learners, particularly those who struggle. With 110 participating day schools and a total of 3,875 educators trained by the Hidden Sparks curriculum, the organization has impacted a total of 47,450 students since its inception. For more information please visit: www.hiddensparks.org.
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