The Astoria School Symposium: Helping Parents Navigate Education Options in LIC/Astoria
I love it when people in a community realize there is a need for something and do something about it. One of these people is Margarita Soto in Astoria, Queens. I met Margarita through parents groups as a new mom. I learned that she had created the Astoria School Symposium (which I have attended twice before) to fill a need in the community.
I asked Margarita to share how she ended up creating this great resource for parents. Margarita told me that when she had her first son, she started doing research on school choices. She found that most of the information available was only for Manhattan, there was little information available on schools in her area, LIC/Astoria. She saw people leaving in NY because the process was so overwhelming. Margarita felt that parents were “fleeing” because they didn’t know what options were available, so they would move to the suburbs.
In 2010, Margarita started a Q & A session at a local church and 40 parents showed up. This showed her that there was an interest. So in 2011 she put together a forum where schools could present and where parents could attend sessions to discuss specific topics like entering Pre-K, Dual-language programs, gifted and talented process, etc.
The forum has been growing and this year they are celebrating their fifth year. When you go to the forum you can meet parents, teachers and get information on daycare centers, preschools, after-school programs and more. Parochial, public, charter and private schools attend. Breakfast is served thanks to neighborhood sponsors. It’s a great event because you feel that you’re not in it alone and you realize that you have choices in our area.
The Astoria School Symposium is completely volunteer-run. It’s a great example of what happens when caring parents come together to improve our community. Margarita says “There are a lot of good choices in Astoria. [The goal] is to demystify the process.”
Save the date! Even if your child is not yet ready to attend Pre-K or Kindergarten, it is good to get an idea of the options out there!
Saturday – January 23rd, 2016
Mount Carmel Church Gymnasium
23-25 Newtown Avenue
Astoria, NY 11102
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
9am – Nursery & Pre-School Forum
10am – Kindergarten Forum
11am – Private Schools Why & Application Process Forum
12pm – Gifted & Talented Forum
You can register for this free event here http://www.nyschool.org/register
There are a lot of things to think about when checking out schools! Check out 20 Questions to Ask When Visiting a School to help you prepare for the forum!