Education is critical to our children's future and the future of our community. Parents, school staff, human service professionals and private business all need to support our children in order to help them realize their educational goals.

As a parent or guardian, taking an active interest and encouraging your child in school takes time and energy. Recent studies have shown that youth who have parents that are interested and involved in their learning, do better in school. Being aware of your child's classes and teachers, helping with homework, encouraging them to take part in school activities, (i.e., sports clubs, music) all help to reinforce the value you put on their education. You become a partner in your child's education, not just an observer.

The education system can be overwhelming for parents/guardians. Parents may feel uncomfortable or inadequate to question the education of their child. You have the responsibility to see that your child gets a good education. Contact your child's teachers and school administrators if your child is having problems. Also, ask questions, get involved in the PTA or other parent groups, read the school newsletter and notes that come home with your child, take advantage of opportunities to meet your child's teachers at open house or a school event, or chaperon a school activity.

If you are a professional working with school age children, one of the most important roles you can play is to help build a bridge between the parent and the school. Parents often feel intimidated, and may need assistance in negotiating the education system. Help reinforce what youth are learning in school through activities and services you provide. Did you know that football pools are a great way to learn multiplication and percentages? Cooking can teach measurements and conversions. Finding bus routes is a great way to learn map reading and geography, and much more. Be aware of when you schedule appointments with youth and where. Schools may be able to provide you with meeting space free of charge.

As you help a child negotiate the education maze, you come across terms and procedures that you may not understand. The following outlines a few of the more common ones:

Compulsory Education means that children in New York State are required to attend a certified school program from age 6 -16. At age 16, a youth can choose to drop out of school. Attending school at age 5 is optional, but a public school cannot refuse to admit a youth as long as the youth comes with the proper immunization records, identification, proof of residency, and turns 5 before the cut-off date, (December 1st). Youth can stay in school until they are 21 if they are residents of the school district and have not received a high school diploma. Keep in mind that some schools have adopted a policy of not allowing kids to drop out of school until age 17.

G.E.D. stands for a General Equivalency Diploma. This is granted to a person who has passed a written exam. The person must be at least 16 and meet one of the other eligibility criteria prior to taking this exam.

Regents Diploma is awarded once a youth has completed a specific number of courses/credit hours and has passed all regent exams with a 65 or better.

Local Diploma is awarded to youth who have completed the basic courses and passed all of the State competency exams.

Committee on Special Education (CSE) ensures that youth identified as disabled and in need of a special education program and/or related services receive free and appropriate public education. The CSE process also applies to youth residing in a residential facility. The intent of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 and Chapter 853 of the New York Law of 1976 is to ensure the rights of children, and by establishing a process to assess the needs of youth referred to the CSE and to safeguard the rights of children to receive appropriate services in the least restrictive environment.

Suspension is the term used when a youth is prohibited from attending school due to his/her violation of the school rules. Suspension by a principal is short term (no more than 5 days). A student may not be suspended for more than 5 days without a superintendent's hearing. If the student is under 16, the school must provide an alternative educational service to the student while s/he is suspended.

Sometimes things happen in a child's life that impact upon his/her ability to stay in school. There are many services available in the area to help a youth finish his/her education. Talk with your child's guidance counselor or teacher or call the places listed below for more information.

If you are unsure of your child's educational rights or feel s/he has been unfairly discriminated against by their school, call Legal Assistance of the Finger Lakes, (315)781-1465.

Boys and Girls Club of Geneva
Recreational activities are provided as a way to build relationships with children with the goal of enhanced youth development.

Cheshire Volunteer Fire Dept. Junior Program
(585) 394-1133
Program provides educational and recreational activities for girls and boys linked to fire fighting. Junior program is for those aged 14 to 18.

Cobblestone Arts Center
Provides classes in music, dance, visual arts and theater.

Coordinated Child Development Program
The agency provides child care for ages 6 weeks to 5 years; before and after school care for those aged 5 to 12.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County 4-H Youth Development Program
(585)394-3977 x435
A variety of training and activity programs including 4-H programs.

East Bloomfield GRASP
An in-home instructional program preparing students to take the GED exam. Program is for those 18 and over unless they are migrant eligible.

Finger Lakes Career and Technical Center
Career and technical classes ranging from network technician to metal trades, usually for high school juniors and seniors.

Finger Lakes Even Start
Provides family-centered literacy education for children and their parents.

Finger Lakes Internships
We set up internships for youth enrolled in an educational facility, aged 16 to 24. This is a paid internship developed around the interests of the youth. We also provide resources for school, families and students in the areas of social and emotional skills, transition, and college and career prep. In addition, we are working with http:.//www.reclaimouryouthny.com as a resource for those who work with youth.

Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board
The board does not provide direct services; instead, it contracts with services providers.

Geneva Housing Authority
The authority provides a variety of educational, recreational and related programs for the agency's tenants.

Geneva Public Library
Services for preschool to young adult include both fun and educational activities including reading programs for pre-schoolers, craft and reading programs for older students and volunteer opportunities for teens aged 13-18.

Job Corps
(585)454-5130 or (800)760-4577
Job Corps provides training for youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Students stay at a residential campus while attaining their General Equivalency Diploma or high school diploma. In addition they take up a trace and receive certifications. Students with have a high school diploma can got to Job Corps to attain trade certification.

Literacy Volunteers of America
Volunteers work one-on-one with adults seeking to improve their reading skills.

Migrant Education and Outreach Program
Provides academic tutoring, English as a second language, advocacy, career and educational counseling.

New York State Loving Education at Home (LEAH)
(315) 597-6894

Ontario County Workforce Development
(585) 396-4020
Assistance in finding employment or better employment, gaining marketable skills, and entering education facilities.

Ontario County Youth Court
Typical cases include petit larceny, criminal mischief, trespass, unauthorized use of a vehicle, low level drug crimes, underage possession of alcohol. Youth Court does not handle cases of violence, or sexual harassment.

Reality Check
Reality Check is a youth empowerment movement fighting the manipulative marketing practices of the tobacco industry through a variety of activities.

Salvation Army - Canandaigua
Teens on Friday nights; also sponsor occasional roller blade events and dances.

School to Work/Volunteer Coordinator Geneva City School District
Provides School-to-Work learning opportunities for students.

South Bristol Cultural Center
The center provides classes on a wide array of the arts, including day camps in the summer.

Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Adult and Continuing Education
The center provides education and training programs including preparation for the General Equivalency Dipolma exam, literacy, job training, vocational training and career counseling.

West Street School, Geneva
The counseling program at West Street School includes a primary mental health project, special friends program and conflict management.

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