More than 400 parents, students and community members attended sessions during the recent Parent U: Planning for the Future gathering held Sept. 28 at Northbrook High School.
Parent U began 13 years ago. Now established, it is one of Spring Branch ISD’s top stops for adult earning and student success.
“We’ve been doing this event since 2006 with our goal to have our parents know all the different types of information they need to help their kids be successful,” said Linda Buchman, the district’s associate superintendent for community relations.
This year’s Saturday morning Parent U attracted students, family members and district partners to the high school campus. There, attendees selected from 70 presenters and 45 separate session options – many of which were offered in both English and Spanish.
Parents surveyed after the event appreciated the range of offerings. A few of the popular sessions: Pre-AP, AP and Dual Credit -- Understanding Advanced Courses (English/Spanish); The Power of Social Media; Parent’s Guide to Cyber Safety (English/Spanish); Mental Health Signs and Symptoms (English/Spanish); Paying for College (English/Spanish); and College Smarts – College Admission Process.
“Every year, Parent U gets better and better,” said Beth Dennard with Bright Futures Consulting. “We had amazing parents. We had students here who all came eager to learn. We had bilingual programs. In one of the sessions, half of the parents [attending] did not grow up in the United States. We had a diverse group of parents and all were so excited to be here.”
“Parents get straight A’s for coming to Parent U this year!” she exclaimed.
Parent U organizers like Betsabeth Beyk, who is a district family education, engagement, empowerment specialist, noted that many of the Parent U classes offered in Spanish were standing-room only sessions. “We saw an increase in Spanish-speaking parents,” she said.
Meredith Wertz, who serves in SBISD’s System of Care division, found family members and students hungry to learn more about social, emotional and mental health related issues. Teen suicide or suicide attempts, for example, remain one of the nation’s critical and stubborn health issues.
“Mental health has a stigma associated with it,” Wertz said. She counseled many parents after her talks as they searched for personal guidance on any number of topics impacting students and families.
This year’s Parent U was viewed as one of the district’s best. “We’re so grateful for all the parents who came out today and all the staff members who support Parent U, as well as our wonderful underwriters and parents,” Associate Superintendent Buchman said.
Dennard, the consultant, noted that many teens and even their parents today think that they can get all that’s needed through a cell phone link. That’s not true at Parent U, where in-person sessions and group learning still makes a big impact on student lives and their futures.
“Parent U adds value,” Dennard said, reflecting on an inspiring Parent U event.
- Parent U