BROOKSVILLE — A major school district event to benefit parents, the 8th Annual Parent Institute, will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at West Hernando Middle School.
"It's one-stop shopping for parents," said Brooksville Elementary School Title I parent educator Amy Anderson, who is the media coordinator for the event.
The institute includes free dinner, a Chick-fil-A meal, sponsored by the Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union at a reduced price from the restaurant. There will be child care for children ages 3 to 5, provided by Scribbles Preschool.
The evening begins with registration from 5:30 to 6. Dinner is from 5:30 to 6:30. During this time, there will be exhibitors parents can visit, including the Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition, BayCare Behavioral Health Care, Central Florida Parents Center, Hernando County Early Learning Coalition, Head Start Preschool Program and the Hernando County PTA.
The Parent Institute workshops will begin at 6:30 p.m. There will be two 45-minute sessions. Parents will choose from 10 options for each session, attending two during the evening. Sessions will be limited to 25 persons each. New this year are student sessions for children ages 6-12. The children will attend educational activities.
Some of the parent sessions are returning favorites. Others are new this year. Here are the options for the first session:
• Behavioral strategies when all else fails: Learn four basic principles that influence behavior.
• Brain friendly strategies for improved student achievement: The focus is on brain research to improve attitude, attention and memory;
• Budgeting: Advises parents on finances and learning to live within ones means.
• The cyber bullying culture: Discusses monitoring the Internet and dealing with bullying.
• Fraction magic: Offers strategies to help students cure their fraction phobia.
• Identity theft: How to avoid being a victim.
• Man laws for moms: Getting fathers involved with the family, particularly with special-needs children, is the topic.
•The new party drugs: Is your child at risk? Learn about prescription drug abuse.
• Response to intervention: This is an introduction to the Problem Solving Response to Invention model.
• Stress busters: It's all about reducing stress.
The second session will consist of these options:
• Truancy: What parents need to know and why.
• Writing without pencils: This course helps children improve writing without picking up a pencil.
• Understanding growing boys: The course teaches how to recognize and respond to the emotional needs of young boys.
• Improving communication skills with visual strategies: The focus is on helping children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
• A dream reborn: Assisting parents with special-needs children.
• Get hooked on reading in the middle grades: Tips for parents with middle schoolers.
• Characteristics of the gifted child: This is for the parents of gifted students and those who teach the children.
• Interpreting your child's test results: A review of testing methods and what results mean.
There will also be two sessions in Spanish for parents of elementary and secondary students who are learning English to provide information about services available to them.
Anderson looks forward to seeing many parents. The district, she said, is "bringing you a great conference for you to go to and it's right here in your back yard. I really feel like it's a high-end product."
The event is coordinated by Ivette Mendoza, coordinator for family involvement for the Hernando County School Board and Sharon Mechler, parent liaison for Hernando County School Board exceptional student education.
"People who come once, return," Anderson said. "We want to help parents learn how they can be informed to help their child. We're trying to serve parents' real needs. Try it once, if you haven't been. It's the event of the year."
Parents are asked to register by Monday. Call Dawn Locke at (352) 797-7070, ext. 432 or register online at hernandoschools.org.