UNION, NJ - Union community members from all parts of educational life including teachers, parents, administrators and police officers came together on Saturday for the "It Takes a Village" forum, where they discussed a wide array of issues currently impacting Township of Union students.

The program was held at Kean University's East Campus by the community activism group Parents for Change. Founding member Paul Casey said of the event, "we want to connect the community to the education system.  And the way to do that is at an event where the community can talk to education leaders. We want to have a dialogue to improve the education system for the children of Union."

The event was headlined by a keynote message from Union High School history teacher, Nicholas Ferroni.  

Sign Up for E-News

“I was very fortunate to have many amazing teachers throughout my life in Union,” said Ferroni.  Ferroni discussed the impact of positive feedback, especially to parents about their children, rewarding good behavior and providing an incentive.  “It reinforces what parents do on a daily basis.”

Ferroni’s speech was followed by a trio of panels on different aspects of the education system in Union.

  • "Getting Involved in Your Child's Education", where involved parents discussed how and why they get involved in shaping their children's education.
  • "The Role of the Parent Teacher Association" panel featured Lazara Rovira, former Connecticut Farms and Jefferson School PTA President, Nadyrah Amin-Fenner, Kawameeh PTA Treasurer, and Kimberly Viola, the incoming president of the Burnet Middle School PTA.
  • “Direction of Union Public Schools”, which featured panelists Gregory Tatum, Superintendent of Union Public Schools, Ron McDowell, President of the Union Board of Education, Annie Moses, Assistant Superintendent of Union Public Schools and Nichole Ahern, Supervisor of School Counseling for Union Public Schools. 

By welcoming a wide array of community members the event hoped to find a way to best shape the education for current and future students in Union’s school system. "We want to have a dialogue to improve the education system for the children of Union," said Casey.

"It Takes a Village" also hopes to be an introduction to further educational activism by the group.  During his opening remarks, Parents for Change member Dr. Guy Francis said, "This event for me is a welcoming event.  It's good for me to see the community come together for the interest of our kids."