Academy gives parents education tips

More than 30 par­ents turned out for the lo­cal school district’s Par­ent Academy last week to learn ways to stay in­volved in their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Topics at the event held at Central Elementary School included STEM education, the Career and College Promise program, career and technical education and the college application and financial aid processes. Parents also heard a pep talk from Denauvo Robinson, vice chairman of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education, who told parents they were likely to make some mistakes along the way but should hang in there.

“Do the best you can,” Robinson said. “This parenting stuff is hard.”

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Superintendent Larry Cartner thanked parents for “giving up a Saturday morning to come and do this.”

Anthony Brown, the parent of a fifth-grader at River Road Middle School, said he was able to learn more about the state’s Career and College Promise program through the Parent Academy. Career and College Promise allows students to earn college credit tuition-free while they are attending high school. Brown said he thinks it’s a great program.

“That should be a goal for all parents,” Brown said, alluding to students earning college credits while they’re still in high school.

Brown said Career and College Promise can also help students excel and be competitive.

Brown said he attended a session on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics emphasis at River Road Middle School and believes River Road’s push to become a state-recognized STEM school will be reflected in positive ways in the district’s graduation rate and other statistics.

“I believe that will strengthen the entire school district,” Brown said of the STEM emphasis.

Darlene Hill has a daughter who’s a senior at Northeastern High School, so she was especially interested in the Parent Academy’s information on college preparation. Hill said her daughter’s aspiration is to be a lawyer, so she has a lot of higher education ahead of her.

Hill said she learned about getting ready for college and paying for college. She also said she found out more about the use of Chrome Books in the classroom. She thinks the use of that technology is a good way to engage students.

Hill said she not only got helpful information for herself from the Parent Academy but also will share much of the information with friends and family members.

“Overall it was just very good,” she said.

Robinson spoke parent-to-parent in a keynote address that combined inspiration, humor and practical wisdom.

“It’s always good to get parents together,” Robinson told the audience. “No matter what you do for a living, no matter what you might have done for a living, it all pales in comparison to this thing we have in common called parenting. This parenting thing is hard.”

Robinson said the first thing for every parent is to stay involved in their children’s lives, which their attendance at the event showed they were doing.

“Be involved in your child’s life all the way through,” Robinson said.

Also, meet your child’s teachers and remain involved in their education, he said.

Robinson urged parents to listen to their children and to ask questions such as: What was the surprise for you today in school? What made you laugh today? Simply asking “how was your day?” will result in a quick answer of “OK,” he said.

As a parent, Robinson said, you should know your child’s greatest fear, closest friend, favorite color, all-time hero, and most-prized possession. Robinson asked audience members to name their favorite restaurant, favorite football team and favorite basketball team, and then said they should be able to be just as quick in naming their child’s greatest fear, closest friend and other details about their child’s life.

Robinson said parents need to have “the talk” with their children — and he added it’s actually four talks. They include talks on four subjects:

* sex, which researchers now say parents should have with their child by age 9;

* drugs;

* depression;

* and for black male children, how to interact with police.

It’s also important to have clear expectations for children and provide consistent discipline, Robinson said.

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