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Mount Vernon Reaches Out With Back To School Fair

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon schoolchildren and their parents gathered Saturday afternoon in Hartley Park to celebrate the start of the school year and to make sure the students have the right services and supplies.

The Mount Vernon Back to School Fair provided students and their parents with everything from health screenings to vision care to school supplies. Director of Curriculum and Instruction Tahira DuPree Chase helped organize the event with Fire Chief Edward Stevenson and Chanese Coleman from the CDC Board of Allen Memorial Church. Chase said the fair is a community effort that took place in Mount Vernon for the first time in 50 years.

“We have new leadership in both the school system and the city,” Chase said. “Our motto is Students of Promise and the mayor’s is a City of Promise, so we are bringing those efforts together to not only take ownership of the educational experience but the community as well. We are bringing everyone together to celebrate children and make sure they have what they need to start school.”

Superintendent Judith Johnson, who is beginning her first year with the Mount Vernon City School District after spending 10 years leading public schools in Peekskill, said that parents and community members need to talk and help to reform the school district.

“We are having a good kickoff and supplying information to children and their parents,” Johnson said. “We’re here to support you, not just in the schools but in the community.”

Services are available for education throughout the community, including the Parent Education Resource Center (PERC) based at A.B. Davis Middle School. Michael Jernegons of the PERC said the center is there to show parents all the services in the community that can benefit them.

“We try to enforce the idea of what’s out there that can help you and your children,” Jernegons said. “We’re here to support you, not just in the school but in the community.”

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