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TC Joins Partnership to Train Teachers and Parents in Character Education

Teachers College is a partner in a $1 million pilot project to teach parents and teachers how to work together to raise responsible children.

TC will be working with the State Department of Education in New York and a Buffalo-based non-profit organization, EPIC-Every Person Influences Children.

EPIC's training program features a series of workshops that focus on infants and toddlers, young children, young adolescents, and teenagers. The program is open to anyone who serves as a "parent" whether it is an aunt, a grandparent, or someone else close to the child.

Peter Cookson, Director of TC's Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, said: "Character education has been the forgotten element in education reform, but it is essential for the well-being of children and society."

TC's role is to help EPIC design a curriculum tailored to meet the needs of the four school districts involved in the pilot project-two districts in the Buffalo area and two districts in metropolitan New York.

Details were announced in September at simultaneous video-linked press conferences in Buffalo and at Columbia University's computer center.

Robert M. Bennett, who is a member of the New York Board of Regents and of the EPIC board, said that the pilot project is the final leg in the board's effort to improve public schools. The board has raised teacher certification standards and it has raised academic standards in hopes of improving student performance. "But schools acting alone can not achieve these standards. Schools need to work with parents," he said.

District 4 in East Harlem has been working with EPIC in a number of different ways, said Camille Aromando, Deputy Superintendent of the district. But the last time there was a formal district-wide relationship was 12 years ago. Aromando was director of funded Programs for the district at the time. She helped get the grant to fund training for teachers and staff. She also organized and attended sessions.

Aromando is thrilled about renewing the relationship and TC's role as a partner. "Parents and teachers have common concerns about children," she said. "We're hoping this will help us develop a common dialogue."

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