South Colonie Renews ‘Parents as Partners’ Webinar Series for the 2023-24 School Year

South Colonie is excited to announce the return of its ‘Parents as Partners’ Webinar series for the current school year. Beginning Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023, the South Colonie Central School District will once again offer a series of informative webinars tailored for families and caregivers for the 2023-24 school year. This ten-part webinar series, hosted by Dr. Jennifer Bashant, will focus on various aspects of health and wellness.

The following sessions (ten in total) will be available for our school community free of charge. All webinars will be held virtually at 6:30 p.m.

October 5, 2023: Skills for a Successful School Year: Organize, Prioritize, and Manage Time.”

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Bashant, Founder of Building Better Futures.

Does your child or teen… Struggle to meet deadlines and be on time Constantly leave a trail of food every time he has a snack? Drop clothing on the floor as soon as she takes it off? Leave papers strewn everywhere with no systems for keeping track of them? When these organizational skills are not developed to an age-appropriate level, being successful in school becomes a real challenge. Research indicates that these executive skills are the most important skills to have in order to succeed in school. During this webinar, you will learn specific strategies to help your child get organized and stay organized in a way that works for him. You will leave with tools you can use at home with your child to help you teach and practice these organizational skills.

Register in advance for this webinar:

October 24, 2023: “Special Education: The Basics”  Principal

Presenter: Colleen Lester, Educational Consultant and Former Elementary Principal

This webinar is intended for parents/caregivers of special education students who are interested in understanding the processes involved in this aspect of their child’s education. This session will cover the identification process, testing, understanding the IEP, the role of special education professionals, and the language of special education. The objective of this webinar is to help families to better support their child and have a better understanding of their special education services.

Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering,

November 9, 2023: “Avoidance, Obsessions, Perfectionism, and Other Expressions of Anxiety”

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Bashant

According to the latest statistics, one in five children in this country have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. Anxiety, often referred to as “the great masquerader” can be hard to recognize because it presents in so many different ways, from anger or behavioral challenges, to avoidance, to perfectionism. During this webinar, you will learn what to look for and how to recognize the different types of anxiety, as well as the six lies that anxiety tells. You will leave with tips and strategies to help your child cope with and overcome anxiety.

Register in advance for this webinar:

November 28, 2023: “Navigating Difficult Conversations with Your Pre/Young Teen”

Presenter: Renee Beaulieu, School Improvement Specialist and Parent

Have you ever wondered how to start a difficult conversation or how to illicit more thana one-word answer from your pre and/or young teen? Join us for a discussion on current and age-old topics that are important for our young teens. We will discuss how to create opportunities to start those discussions and ways to help make it easier for your pre/young teens to share their thoughts. Participants will have an opportunity to share their concerns and/or successes.

Register in advance for this webinar:

December 7, 2023: “Mindfulness-Informed Parenting: Learn the Basics for Introducing Mindfulness Practices to Your Child”

Moderator: Dr. Paul Piniero, Assistant Superintendent of Westfield Public Schools, New Jersey

During this webinar, participants will learn the basics for introducing mindfulness practices to their child/ren. Whether it’s differentiating breathing, regulating busy thoughts, or establishing a mindfulness routine for taking a break from devices and screen time, mindfulness practices can help build emotional resilience in a time where overwhelm and anxiety are common challenges for young people. In addition to providing background on the science behind mindfulness, this session’s experienced panel will also share the strategies they have used in their teacher and parent roles so participants can leave with a foundation for being a mindfulness-informed caregiver.

Register in advance for this webinar:

January 11, 2024: “Depression and Suicide: Warning Signs and What You Can Do to Help”

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Bashant

The teenage years are defined by changes, sometimes dramatic changes, in behavior. These are often difficult years for families, even when mental health challenges are not present. So, how do you know what are considered normal changes, and when the changes in mood, isolating behavior and loss of interest in certain activities is clinical depression? This is not an easy question to answer, but we will tackle it during this webinar. We will look at the symptoms of depression and warning signs for suicide, and you will learn ways that you can support your child and get them professional help if needed. It can be overwhelming and difficult to find a therapist who is also accepting new patients, so we will look at tips for finding a therapist who will be a good fit for your child.

Register in advance for this webinar:

January 23, 2024: “Managing Social Media in Our Lives”

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Bashant

One of the biggest challenges of parenting today is moderating our kids’ use of technology. It can be a daily struggle over how much time is spent on phones, computers and video games. The explosion of social media and the overload of information is creating a sense of loneliness and negatively affecting our children’s mental health. As parents and caregivers, we know too much technology is detrimental, but how much is too much, and what can we do to protect our children from the harmful effects?

Register in advance for this webinar:

February 8, 2024: “Avoiding Power Struggles, Angry Outbursts, and Other Challenging Behaviors”

Presenters: Dr. Jennifer Bashant and Kristen Pidgeon

Collaboration can be a powerful tool to overcome defiance and reduce the fighting and behavioral challenges in your household. In this webinar, participants will learn how to:

    • Identify and address the root cause of challenging behavior, while allowing your positive relationship with your child to serve as the foundation for change.
    • Teach your child how to recognize the physical warning signs and knowing how to regulate the body and manage strong emotions such as anger, guilt, sadness and even elation.
    • Use mindfulness, art, soothing music and physical activity to help your child develop a toolbox of strategies that help them feel calm

Register in advance for this webinar:

February 27, 2024: “Making Friends and Keeping Them: 10 Social Skills to Teach Your Child”

Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Bashant

Loneliness is an epidemic in this country, and one which puts people at risk for
depression, anxiety and even a shortened lifespan. Making friends comes fairly naturally for some children, while others need more support in developing social skills. The ability to have empathy, or identify with the feelings of another, is an important skill for making and keeping friends, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to develop this trait in another person. During this webinar, participants will learn how to model and teach empathy and nine other crucial social skills that will make it easier to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Register in advance for this webinar:

March 21, 2024: “It’s an Inside Job: Knowing and Communicating Feelings and Needs”

Presenter: Beth DeAngelis, Professor of Social and Emotional Intelligence, Siena College

Having a good understanding of emotions and what they feel like in the body is an important part of self-regulation. Does your child (and do you) have a well-developed vocabulary of emotion words, and are they (and you) able to use “I statements” to express those emotions? During this webinar, participants will learn how to develop for themselves and teach their children these important social and emotional skills. It is this emotional granularity that increases self awareness, improves communication and deepens social connections.

Register in advance for this webinar:

Please note that if you cannot attend the “live” event, we encourage you to request the link to access the recording. Each session will be recorded and available for 30 days after the live webinar.

Additional information about Ms. Bashant and her work can be accessed here