Hernando County brings Parent Institutes to people

Published Nov. 28, 2012

SPRING HILL — In the past, Title I-sponsored Hernando County Parent Institutes have been at one or two locations countywide. The events have attracted parents interested in receiving information about available services and learning how to assist in their children's educations.

Topics ranged from helping children learn to read to dealing with student behavior to positive parenting hints. But parents had to travel to attend.

This year, the institutes are school-based and are being held on various dates, such as the recent one at Westside Elementary School.

"I think it's wonderful," said Shirley Moore, who used to have to travel to Nature Coast Technical High School. She said she was delighted to have the institute closer to home this year — "very much so."

Grandparent to first-grader Cody VanSant, 6, whom she is raising, Moore was there to learn more about computer access to the school account in the Ed-line session and planned to attend the "Positive Parenting Styles" workshop.

Shirley and Billy Ritch also appreciate the new location.

"Because it's always been away," said Billy Ritch. "I love the fact that it's here."

The couple planned to gain as much information as they could by both attending two sessions each, then sharing. The Ritches have a second-grader, Jayson Ritch, 8, at Westside.

More than 30 parents came to Westside for the free pizza dinner and free books for their children, compliments of HEART Literacy. Other vendors were Career Central and the Hernando County Public Library System.

Katie Bryant, the mother of fifth-grader Chaunicé Floyd, said she planned to attend the "Transition to Middle School" workshop and the "Math Make and Take." She also appreciated the school-based event.

"I love it. It's a lot more homey," she said. "This is just really nice. It's easy for me to get to."

The Westside Parent Institute was coordinated by Title I parent educator Stacie Wharton. There were door prizes and 15 workshops. Child care was provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Hernando County.