Greg Coburn /

The first Coffee Chat, since the pandemic hit, took place this week in Howell.

Around 20 parents attended the event. Superintendent of Howell Schools Erin MacGregor says that prior to covid they were holding a coffee chat as a way to connect with the families to provide a two-way dialog and that is so important.

He says that this morning is an opportunity to invite the families and communities in to hear some district updates. They are also providing a theme for each one of the coffee chats which will be held throughout the year and they will have a theme attached to that. MacGregor said that this morning’s theme was student mental health.

And then they end the meeting with a Q and A session about what might be on the minds of the families just to make sure that those things are answered as well. It is a two-way dialog. There is a lot of one-way communication but he thinks it is important to involve the parents in two-way communication as well.

Across the country and state, they are seeing increases in anxiety and depression among the youth and the pandemic only made the problem worse. They are making sure that they are partnering with the families to let them know about the resources that are available.

Coffee chats will be done quarterly. The next one is on December 8th at the Highlander Restaurant again from 9am to 10am. This one will showcase the culinary program at the high school as part of that coffee chat, which is part of the Career Tech programming.