Clinton Middle School's new program offers parents an education
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
11/27/12 at 7:49 AM
A new early-release program at Tulsa Public Schools means students get out of a half-day of classes one Friday a month, but class is in session for some parents on those days.
Through Clinton Middle School's new Parent University, parents are learning such things as how to help prepare their teenagers for high school and college and how to stay engaged in their children's education in spite of their growing need for independence.
"I have enjoyed it because it gives me an idea of what I need to be doing," said Tanya Dudley, whose 14-year-old son, Girvin, is in eighth grade.
"You have to figure out other ways to have a different type of communication (with your child). Maybe not so much the mother hen - because they want you to kind of back off."
Faculty members and guest instructors cover topics such as state testing requirements, Oklahoma's new school report card system, tutoring opportunities and even homework help tips.
Parent University is open to all parents in the Webster High School feeder pattern, including those whose children attend Eugene Field, Park, Remington or Robertson elementary schools.
"We can't really change the students' behavior without the parents' involvement," said transition interventionist Carol Axley, who coordinates the program along with Tammie Barron, behavior modification coach and parent involvement facilitator.
"We're also here for the family because we're a community," Axley said.
"If we don't have them on board, we're just swimming upstream."
Dudley said she is already using the information she has learned and looking forward to future sessions, which will include a session on math homework help taught by math teachers.
She and Girvin's father, who lives in Texas, both now regularly log in to Tulsa Public Schools' web portal for parents, called PowerSchool, so they can monitor their son's attendance, and homework and test grades.
And they're also beginning to talk to him about what it will take for him to get into college and a career.
"I had done PowerSchool before, but they changed the system and I had some trouble," Dudley said. "Now, I check it once a week. That way I can ask him questions about what's going on here or there. If there's a problem we can talk to the teacher.
"Here my son is in eighth grade," she said.
"You don't really think you've got to start to delve into his goals for college, but you do. We found out about the Oklahoma Promise (scholarship program). You can get signed up for that in eighth grade."
Parent University classes typically are offered from noon to 2:20 p.m., which is the early-release time at Clinton, 2224 W. 41st St. But the next session, set for Friday, will run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. so parents can attend a college and career fair set to begin immediately afterward.
Original Print Headline: When school's out for kids, parents get a chance to learn
Andrea Eger 918-581-8470
Tanya Dudley, the parent of eighth-grade student Girvin Dudley, stands in the Clinton Middle School computer lab, where she uses the school's computers as part of the Parent U program. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World