EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Moms, dads and guardians from the area will have a chance to get their own version of educational professional development at the school district’s Parent Camp on Wednesday at the high school.
New Egg Harbor Township Assistant Superintendent Stephen Santilli is bringing the “un-conference” to the district for the first time.
“Parent Camp isn’t necessarily new,” said Santilli, who sits on the board for Parent Camp USA.
Similar to an Ed Camp for teachers, Parent Camp offers sessions to engage parents in the educational process by creating a conversation about it.
In September, Parent Camp South Jersey, which Santilli helped organize, recently partnered with Stockton University to offer the platform to parents throughout the region.
On Wednesday, there will be 12 different sessions over four rotations with a focus on education and literacy, giving parents tips on how they can help their students learn and how parents can be more involved in that process.
“Everybody in that room has something to contribute, they may even have a question to contribute,” Santilli said.
Santilli said the term “un-conference” means that the event isn’t strictly structured.
“We do create sessions ahead of time, but people are not required to pick the session they want to attend before they walk into the doors,” he said. “This is really more about conversations.”
Egg Harbor Township Superintendent Kim Gruccio said she wants parents to feel comfortable talking with the district and with each other about literacy.
“I am excited about this event because I feel that both parents and the district can benefit from the experience through the sharing of knowledge and inquiries in collaborative discussion sessions,” said Gruccio.
Gruccio said the event is in line with the district’s mission to support student learning.
“I want to stress this is not going to be one person delivering information from a stage to an audience. It’s total involvement by all in the group session. That’s what makes Parent Camp so unique and different,” she said.
Earlier this year, Gruccio unveiled the district’s new mantra: Embrace, Engage, Educate. Santilli said this Parent Camp will focus on the education piece of the mantra, but future Parent Camps will touch on the other two aspects.
“The intent moving forward is to encapsulate the each piece and have three different parent camps in 18-19,” he said.
The event is free and open to the public, even those who do not live in Egg Harbor Township. Free childcare will be provided for those who preregister. Registration is available at eventbrite.com/e/parentcamp- ehtnj-educate- tickets-41199085574.