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Parent University is collaboration among parents, educators, students

OLD BRIDGE – More than 200 parents and teachers attended the Old Bridge Public Schools’ annual Parent University on Nov. 16 to learn strategies and techniques to guide children to achieve success not only in the classroom but in society.

Parent University, an on-going initiative to equip parents with information, resources and training, offered programs focused not only on curricula and programs in the schools but they provided strategies for working with children, according to a statement prepared by the school district.

“The mission of Parent University is to provide a night of intensive training to parents on important topics, which they can apply immediately in working with their children,” Executive Director of Academics J. Scott Cascone said. “The Old Bridge Township Public School District recognizes families as essential partners in forwarding our educational mission. It is committed not only to dedicating resources to assist families, but also in listening and responding to their feedback. ”

Cascone, who also was the keynote speaker, discussed “Parenting in the 21st Century”.

“The task of protecting our children is no longer simple,” he said. “When we engage in child rearing, we recognize the need to be better prepared.”

He added that parents need to create an environment where children learn who they are and what they are good at it, and he said they eventually will become competitive.

Cascone pointed out the many opportunities that exist for parents in the decision-making of the school district.  They include participating in Parent Teacher Associations, attending school board meetings and taking surveys. He reminded the audience that parents take on different roles in their children’s education – as teachers, coaches, mentors and cheerleaders, according to the statement.

At the conclusion of his presentation, Cascone offered tips for raising resilient youngsters. He said parents should avoid eliminating all risk, should not accommodate their every need, should not provide all the answers and should avoid “why” questions, according to the statement.

Following the presentation, parents selected two workshops that interested them.  The 50-minute sessions included a range of informative and engaging workshops, including “Concussions: What Parents (and Athletes) Need to Know,” “Supporting K-5 Next Generation Science Standards,” “Planetarium Parents,” “College Financial Aid: Planning the Right Way,” “Opiate Prescription Drug Awareness/ Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse” and “Elevate Education”.

Workshops were selected in response to parents’ interests in their children’s education and their social and emotional development, according to the statement. The workshops were facilitated by teachers, supervisors and professionals.

Parent University is a  home and school partnership sponsored by the Old Bridge Board of Education, the Old Bridge Education Association, and the PTA Presidents’ Council.

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