PATERSON, NJ — At College Achieve, hybrid-learning has become the new normal for students and teachers at the public charter school. 

With schools across New Jersey operating either remotely or on a schedule using a blend of in-person learning and online instruction, life for many families has entered uncharted territory and left many parents feeling stressed, uncertain and overwhelmed.

To help parents put their best foot forward, College Achieve recently launched “Parent University,” a free “how-to” resource for their school community on everything from the basics of virtual learning platforms to caring for kids amid unpredictable times.

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Dr. Gemar Mills, College Achieve Paterson’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, said, “Parents have enough stress attempting to work from home and help their scholar during school hours. As a school community, we wanted to ensure that our parents felt supported through the virtual learning experience.”

While students and teachers may be tech-savvy and well-versed on platforms like Google Classroom and PowerSchool, moms and dads may not be.

The weekly sessions aim to inspire “the struggling parent or guardian to not give up on virtual learning due to frustration,” said Ms. Dobson, College Achieve Paterson’s Dean of Climate and Culture.

All three College Achieve campuses, including also in Asbury Park and Plainfield, are running on hybrid schedules, offering K-9 in-person instruction for two to four days a week. An all-remote option is also available if requested by families.

While distance learning is in place, College Achieve wants to make sure parents and students don’t feel so, well, distant, Dobson said.

“Our families are not alone during hybrid learning,” she said. “We want them to feel heard and supported. We are establishing and maintaining relationships and showing support to all individuals in need of assistance through our sessions.”

“We want our parents to feel comfortable helping their scholars with their assignments and also have a great bonding experience doing it,” Dobson added.

For now, sessions are being offered live on Google Meet to allow for real-time feedback from parents. Sessions are also recorded and saved, so parents can access the videos anytime.

“Parent University” is available to all parents and guardians in New Jersey in English or Spanish. 

Following the first session — Using Google Classroom, PowerSchool and Class Dojo — Dobson said they received “awesome” feedback from parents. “Many expressed gratitude…for the sessions having great information and also the meeting being accessible to them after work hours, as well.”

Dobson said College Achieve’s goal is to host “Parent University” in person once families feel comfortable.

Upcoming Sessions

Sessions are streamed live each Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. or 7 to 8 p.m. and are available in English or Spanish.

  • Nov. 5: Helping your kid with schoolwork and finding resources
  • Nov. 13: Helping your kid with reading — Part 1
  • Nov. 19: Helping your kid with math — Part 1
  • Dec. 3: Helping your kid with reading — Part 2
  • Dec. 10: Helping your kid with math — Part 2

Additional sessions may be scheduled, depending on turnout and requests by families, Mills said.

How To Participate

Parents of College Achieve students can log onto the College Achieve website and click “Parent University.” Then, click on the link of the session you’d like to attend and you’ll automatically be accepted into the Google Meet session.

Since the links do not require a College Achieve email address, any parent interested in attending the sessions may do so by clicking here.


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