By Linda West
Back to school… but wait! We’ve had the family potluck, parent night and school pictures! Students are entering classes ready to learn, demonstrating good citizenship and learning new organizational tools… Most of the time! It’s common to hear comments such as “great start”, “best year ever” or “I’m so glad to be at Park” from students, parents and staff alike.
We want to keep parents “coming back to school” all year long! As you may have read in Mr. Lowery’s first blog post, this school year we are focusing on the values of citizenship and community at Park Academy. As parents, you play a vital role as citizens of our community. We encourage your involvement and we like to have you “back to school” often! I wanted to share with you two ways that you can add value to our Park Academy community: our ASPIRE program and the Parent Group.
The ASPIRE program provides one-on-one mentoring to help students continue their education beyond high school. Adult volunteers meet with assigned students and assist them with a variety of activities to explore and develop their career and educational options. Mentors can be Park parents or adults from the broader community. Mentors will have 3 high school students to meet with every 4 weeks. We will also meet monthly to discuss upcoming events and to share information for use in your work with students. Initial topics will include applying for financial aid, scholarship applications, and these two upcoming college fairs in Portland:
One of our community values is that all seniors are college ready and enrolled in a post-secondary program prior to graduation. The ASPIRE program is an essential piece to supporting that goal.
One of our 2017 graduates, Tate, just started his freshman year at Landmark College and is “excited and happy” and feels that the school could have been designed specifically for him and his learning needs!
2. The Parent Group
The Park Academy Parent Group meets monthly to discuss current events at the school, raise funds for enrichment, and provide an opportunity to connect with other parents.
Often times we find that many of our new students’ families echo the experiences of our returning families. This group is a great way to connect and share stories, fears, and hopes with parents who have walked in your shoes.
Additionally, we find that understood.org is a great online resource for topics and challenges that many of us face in our community. Please feel free to bring similar resources to share at the Parent Group meetings.
I’m thrilled to be the school counselor on the Park team. I look forward to offering a full range of services from coaching individual students to partnering with teachers, creating opportunities at Park and in the broader community. Services for students will include:
- academic planning
- experiential learning
- post high school education and training
- career exploration
- volunteer and service learning
If you have questions, or you would like to volunteer with the ASPIRE Program or join the Parent Group, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.594.8773 to sign up. Both activities can help families who are currently enrolled achieve their commitment of 24 hours of service.For additional volunteer opportunities, please contact Terri Park at 503.594.8769.
These activities help build community and promote citizenship among our families and help set an example of leadership for our students. We hope you will join us in this year’s theme of citizenship and engage with the Park community in a way that inspires and empowers you!