OLEAN — Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has started Parent University, a support and education training program aimed at providing resources and guidance as parents and caregivers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic with their students.

The new program, planned to run through June in 20 regional school districts, will offer help in managing home behavior, learning in a virtual environment, understanding social emotional connections, managing anxiety and embracing self-care routines as a parent.

BOCES’s community schools coordinator, Katie Mendell, who developed the programming and will serve as lead facilitator, said that the courses were designed with parents in mind.

“Each session will be offered in a small group format and will last an hour,” she said. “This allows attendees to be comfortable, ask questions, and network with other parents who might be experiencing similar issues in the home.”

Tim Clarke, senior program manager for professional development at BOCES, said he believes the program will be helpful because it was developed through district and community input.

“The idea of Parent University came as an idea from our community schools advisory committee,” he said. “Our staff worked with the advisory members to assess the needs of their communities and to develop a series of family-focused learning experiences to help with some of the concerns that have emerged for families during the pandemic.”

Enrollment announcements will be made through home school districts. Each session will be offered virtually, with limited attendance, and will be free to attendees.

To learn more, visit www.caboces.org.

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