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New advocate helps families of students with exceptionalities

The Department of Students with Exceptionalities has recently made a major change to how it supports the district’s families of students with exceptionalities navigate the laws and regulations that speak to the provision of services for this portion of the student population.

Aurora Porto, family advocate, has helped support families in various capacities over the years and now brings that skill set to Poughkeepsie City School District’s Students with Exceptionalities department as a bilingual family advocate.

Porto helps parents as they work to understand how the district is proposing to support their children and secure the necessary signatures and consents for those services to be provided. She makes home visits and explains what evaluations are needed, calls parents as needed, confirms external testing appointments with families and helps make connections with district partners including Abilities First, School for the Deaf, Cardinal Hayes Home and more.

Being bilingual is of great benefit to the district’s Spanish-speaking families.

“I enjoy working with children and bilingual families to get them all the resources they can have,” she said about coming to PCSD from Family Partnership Center.

Her goal in her first year is to obtain as much information as possible to make parents feel comfortable reaching out so she can help them. “I’m passionate about helping them and their immigration status doesn’t matter when it comes to receiving services.”

Porto can be reached at aporto@poughkeepsieschools.org or 845-437-3473 ext. 1365.