A New Department for Plymouth and Canton Students and Families
The Department of Student and Family Engagement (SFE) launched on July 1, 2022 in response to the need for additional support and services for both students and their families in the school district. The department is striving to provide assistance to improve the learning, development and health of every student.
The SFE department utilizes the expertise of a staff of experienced specialists and dedicated employees. We spoke to Dr. Liz Vartanian-Gibbs, the Assistant Superintendent of Student and Family Engagement, regarding the department and how it benefits the Plymouth and Canton communities.
As a brand-new department, they initiate new ideas, events and partnerships daily. The team is confident and excited for the 2023-2024 school year as they have many amazing programs in the works. You can stay up to date with what the SFE department is doing next by reading the monthly newsletter sent out via email to all family contacts of P-CCS.
What was the inspiration for the SFE department?
The SFE department was inspired by a desire to do more for students and families at a district level. They try to see the whole child and their family and anticipate their needs. It is proven that better outcomes happen in the classroom when a family is engaged in a student’s education. The department wanted to take that concept and apply it to the district by providing additional support based on various needs of the students.
What are the types of services that the department provides?
There are specific types of service the department provides. The first type of support is ‘wraparound’ services. These services include clothing, food, toiletries and school supplies for families. The department partners with many different community organizations such as the Plymouth-Canton Clothing Bank, the Salvation Army, Plymouth Community United Way, the Kiwanis Club and the Rotary Club to provide these services.
Second, the Student and Family Engagement Department provides free programming to families of the P-CCS district; previous events included presentations on parenting, mental health topics, helping your child succeed through understanding their schoolwork and district platforms, and even wellness events like family yoga and watercolor classes. Information about upcoming events can be found on the P-CCS district website's Student and Family Engagement page.
The department also focuses on benefiting students and their families both inside and outside of the classroom. This means they have experienced teachers, nurses, a mental health specialist, and family liaisons working directly in the classrooms with students. Students obtain help with organization skills, work completion, homework, and learn tips and strategies to navigate school. To date, the department has held over 70 events both in person and virtually.
Finally, healthcare, including mental health awareness and physical care, is also an initiative of the Student and Family Engagement department. The second annual Mental Health and Wellness Fair was held in April 2023 to bring awareness to mental health. The Downtown Plymouth event was a huge success with over 100 vendors and thousands of participants. Students and their families not only gained awareness, but also learned about local resources to improve overall wellness.
What do you wish people knew about the SFE?
The Student and Family Engagement Department could not exist without its support from the community. They encourage families to attend their events, provide feedback, and invite others to experience this vital department. They look forward to providing P-CCS students, families and staff with another year of support and resources.