Parent University extends learning opportunities for the community
September 13, 2018
By Laurie Struna
Parent University at Mesa Public Schools gives families and community members the opportunity to further engage in learning.
Since 1987, federal Title I funding has provided parent involvement activities to build partnerships between families, the community and local schools. From academic- and technology-driven classes such as math and online safety to social, emotional and behavioral support, Parent University has opportunities for all parents and caregivers. Most classes are offered free of charge.
Raising successful children
Jan Umhay is a retired Mesa Public Schools employee. When her adult son needed guidance regarding typical toddler behaviors, she knew Parent University would be a great fit.
“I believe in the program!” she said.
As an active grandparent, Umhay said it’s important to stay neutral. It’s beneficial to have reinforcement from an outside source like Parent University where parents can learn how to help their children in a nonthreatening and supportive environment.
“Children don’t come with owner’s manuals,” Umhay said. “So, for first-time parents and grandparents, it’s comforting to know they aren’t alone and that they haven’t failed as parents while learning how to navigate child behaviors.”
Empowering parents and caregivers
For 20 years, Christine Woo has worked as a substitute teacher for Mesa Public Schools. Parent University equips her with tools and information that empower her to be successful in the classroom.
“I enjoy Parent University classes because all of the subject matter is relevant to my professional and personal life,” Woo shared. “While I substitute in all different grade-levels, I am partial to working with junior high school students. Parent University allows me to stay on top of my game.”
Classes and workshops appeal to a large audience.
Parents University continues to grow and evolve with parents’ changing needs. Diverse classes are taught by experts in their field.
According to Parent University specialist Dr. Jessica Seaman, many new classes focus on boosting skills for parents of learners ages 0 to 5. Another wildly popular offering was a series of screenings of the documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.
“Nearly 700 parents and children participated in four screenings,” Seaman said. “This year, we are excited to add more self-paced online courses to accommodate our busy parents’ schedules.”