Lifting All Voices
Family student engagement is a shared responsibility and an integral part of Northampton Public Schools. When families, communities and schools work together, students are more successful and the entire community benefits.
In order to promote environments that are welcoming, inclusive, and safe, Northampton Public Schools will recognize and acknowledge each family’s strengths, engage with families to understand their values, goals, and experiences, and provide opportunities for their voices to be heard as part of the shared decision making process.
Best Practices for Family Student Engagement
- Building Relational Trust
- Acknowledge your biases and don’t make assumptions
- Learn about your students and their families
- Value families’ funds of knowledge and work with a strengths-based approach
- Meeting families where they are and reaching beyond the families that “show up”
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Lauren Barry, M.Ed. , Family Student Engagement & English Learner Education Coordinator
Lauren Barry has worked as a family partner and educator for over 10 years. She is dedicated to building relationships with students, families and the community at large. Lauren is passionate about the role of culture and equity in education. Her uncompromising belief that cultural competency is the basis for learning, communicating high expectations, and reshaping curriculum to reflect diversity contributes to positive social and academic outcomes for all students. Lauren’s leadership and commitment to English Learner Education and Family-Student Engagement nurtures positive and proactive collaboration between families and educators throughout the school district. By working in tandem with educational leadership she strives to support family engagement efforts at the district and school levels. As a member of the Northampton community, Lauren stays abreast of developments in resources to identify most impactful ways to connect families to both the school and community. Her expertise and enthusiasm for people contribute to the district’s two way communication efforts to multilingual families and equitable instructional practices for students that are representative of the diversity in Northampton Public Schools.
The NPS district has two social workers who engage with educators, families and the community to provide services to students that enhance their emotional well-being and improve their academic performance. Through their roles in the district they are able to collaborate in the improvement and overall experience families have with the schools. Our social workers help students, families, and teachers with referrals to community resources and address school attendance. They identify and advocate for student services while addressing barriers that limit a student from receiving full benefit from their educational experience. The social workers respond to referrals from school administration, parents, teachers, the Student Support Team by providing direct services and by assisting families in accessing appropriate community resources.
Nelly Carmona, LCSW
District Social Worker/ Attendance Coordinator
Nelly is a Northampton Native, Spanish speaking, Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW). Nelly joined the Northampton School District in November, 2019. Nelly has over 15 years of experience working with children, young adults, individuals, and families, as an agent of support and guidance. Her professional life includes a commitment to serving the needs of children and families as a School Social Worker. Nelly has a deep understanding of family systems, systems of oppression and injustice, race and gender, and working with individuals who live with challenging circumstances.
The Student Services Department of oversees Special Education, English Language Education, Family Engagement and Early Childhood departments in the Northampton Public Schools. Additionally the department ensures compliance with the 504 process in the six district schools and supports homeless and foster students. Supports provided through the Student Services Department continue to be aligned with the established regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and policies and laws for educating students with limited English proficiency.
Pamela Plumer, Ph.D., Director of Student Services,
Pam Plumer: Director of Student Services for the Northampton Public Schools. Pam received her PhD in School Psychology from UMass Amherst where she focused on interventions for students with ADHD, executive functioning difficulties, learning disabilities and the Response to Intervention model. Pam was a School Psychologist in Pittsfield, Amherst and Northampton before becoming an Associate Director of Student Services for NPS in 2012. She has a passion for supporting educators to create environments in which research on interventions and supports can be turned into practice in order to provide effective, meaningful and accessible learning for all students.
Celeste Malvezzi, M.Ed., CAGS, Associate Director of Student Services,
Celeste Malvezzi has worked in public schools for 11 years, beginning her career as a school counselor before stepping into the role of administration. She is dedicated to advocating for the needs of all students and believes that, by fostering positive relationships with students and offering a learning environment where all students feel safe and supported, students will flourish. She is proud to be a member of the NHS community that shares her vision of collaboration, respect and diversity.
Marianne Lockwood, M.M., M.Ed., Associate Director of Student Services,
Marianne Lockwood has worked in the field of education for over twenty years. She began her career as a musician and received her B.A. in Music from Mount Holyoke College and her M.M. in Collaborative Piano from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was a staff pianist and class piano teacher with the UMass Music Department and also held staff accompanist positions at Smith College Music Department, Five College Dance, the Pioneer Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, and Amherst Ballet Center. For nine years, she was on the faculty at the Northfield Mount Hermon School and filled various roles there including Music Teacher, Applied Music Coordinator and House Director. Inspired by a family member who was diagnosed with autism, she made a career switch in 2009 and began working towards her certification in special education while working as a paraprofessional at several local schools and programs. In 2013, she began working for the Northampton Public Schools and has held various positions including GOALS and Learning Strategies Teacher, Interim Educational Team Liaison, and Transition Coordinator. More recently, she received her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from American International College and joined the Office of Student Services in March of 2020. Marianne is passionate about special education and values creativity, collaboration and family engagement. She is thrilled to be part of the dynamic Northampton leadership team.
Erika Frank – CFCE Coordinator
Erika Frank, our Early Childhood CFCE Coordinator, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She is here to help if you have concerns about your child’s development, or if you have any parenting questions/concerns or need support about parenting issues.During the school year, we also provide parent workshops on a variety of topics. Parent Workshop Topics have included: Routines, Transitions, Sleep, Behavior Management Strategies, and Eating. Erika is also the Evaluation Team Leader for the Preschool program at the Bridge Street School. Please contact her at 413-587-1465.
Laura Frogameni – CPPI Grant Coordinator
CPPI and the Northampton Preschool Partnership
Northampton public and community-based preschools are now connected through a Preschool Partnership funded by a Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI) grant. Banded together we can offer increased access to quality preschool programs. We do this with reduced fee placements, Itinerant Special Education Services, family engagement events, professional development and coaching for educators. The Early Childhood Center at Northampton Public Schools is the best place to start
learning more about our equitable, inclusive and quality childcare options.
Laura Frogameni, Preschool Partnership Coordinator can be reached at LFrogameni@Northampton-
Family – School Communication
“Lionbridge (interpretation service) was so easy to use! I was nervous (reluctant really) but knew it was essential I reach out to the parent in the same time frame I would any other. It worked so beautifully!!
Called the number 800-444-6627, put in the district code then selected the language. The translator was kind, patient and so effective. Things I now know that I will do when I use Lionbridge next:
1. have my voicemail message ready for the translator in case the person does not pick up
2. share the purpose of the call with the translator to cement our teamwork
I highly recommend this incredibly supportive service. I feel empowered to meet the needs of our families. Thanks, Lauren and NPS!”
-A grateful NPS employee
“The first time I used Lion Bridge, I was overjoyed. For several years I had been unable to communicate directly with a particular parent. We had used our bi-lingual social worker to help with communication over the years, but when the social worker was involved, she would be the communicator, not me. To be able to have a translator helping with my actual communication with this mother overwhelmed me with happiness—so much so that I cried when I hung up. I have been feeling irresponsible as a principal to be unable to really talk to some of the caregivers from our school community, and Lion Bridge has given me a new level of commitment to reaching out to all.”
– NPS principal
Mission Statement of Northampton PAC
The mission of the Northampton Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SePAC) is to work for the understanding, respect, support, and appropriate education for all children with special needs in our community.
Community Partnership Programs
Computer Classes for Caregivers is a series of classes that provide caregivers an understanding of basic computer skills and how to navigate the online platforms used by schools to access their child’s learning. Classes will be instructed in both English and Spanish.
Computer class dates TBA. Classes will be offered in person when safe and feasible.
Computer Classes for Caregivers es un taller para ayudar a los padres a comprender las habilidades informáticas básicas y cómo navegar por las plataformas en línea utilizadas por las escuelas para acceder al aprendizaje de sus hijos. Las clases se impartirán en inglés y español.
Fechas de clases de informática por confirmar. Las clases se ofrecerán en persona cuando sea seguro y factible.
The Community Partnership Program involves the partnerships with community members who share information about topics related to supporting the diverse needs and interests of families in our schools. Members of the CPP come to meetings such as the ELPAC and include parent leaders, social workers, lawyers, teachers, and organizations in Northampton community.
If you would like more information about the CPP please contact ELE Coordinator, Lauren Barry – (413) 587-1481.
El Programa de Participación Comunitaria involucra las asociaciones con miembros de la comunidad que comparten información sobre temas relacionados con el apoyo a las diversas necesidades e intereses de las familias en nuestras escuelas. Los miembros del CPP asisten a reuniones como ELPAC e incluyen padres líderes, trabajadores sociales, abogados, maestros y organizaciones de la comunidad de Northampton.
Si desea obtener más información sobre el CPP, comuníquese con la Coordinadora de ELE, Lauren Barry – (413) 587-1481.
A workshop series for families arriving into the US from another country, who are new to American schools and the Northampton school district.
This workshop series will start in the 2021-22 academic school year.
Una serie de talleres para familias que llegan a los EE. UU. Desde otro país, que son nuevas en las escuelas estadounidenses y el distrito escolar de Northampton.
Está previsto que esta serie comience en el año escolar académico 2021-22.
Resources for Families
- COVID-19 Community Resources
- REAL – Racial Equity and Learning in Northampton Public Schools
- It Takes A Village – Hilltowns
- Hilltown Families
- Macaroni Kid – Amherst/Northampton
- Mass Resources
- Massachusetts 2-1-1
- Quaboag Hills Community Coalitions (QHCC) Resource Directory
- Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts
- Community Action Pioneer Valley
“Culturally responsive-sustaining family engagement is the practice of authentic, equal partnership with families, rooted in a deep knowledge and appreciation for the rich social and cultural identities, assets, habits and contexts that families bring to learning.”