by Scott Neuffer

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April 16, 2013
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Workshop to help parents with teens

Parents struggling to prepare their teenagers for the future have a new place to educate themselves and share resources.

Douglas County School District’s ASPIRE Academy is hosting an inaugural parent workshop 6-7:30 p.m. April 24 at 1617 Water Street, Minden.

“Parents need to be proactive,” said Miki Trujillo, ASPIRE teacher and teen issues author. “Knowing how busy parents are, we want to create a positive joint effort, and really do it together.”

The workshop was organized by Trujillo, fellow ASPIRE teacher Kathy Kixmiller, Douglas High teachers Shaun Novich and Sherry Mitchell, and district-wide counselor Tricia Wentz.

Funded by a federal literacy grant, the event will feature four topical seminars: Power School, High School Proficiency Exams, “What were you thinking?” and “transitions.”

With enough time for three of the four seminars, parents will have to choose between Power School or the HSPE seminar.

Power School is an online computer program that lets parents, and students, check grades, assignments and attendance.

“That’s what I’m curious to see,” Kixmiller said when asked if most parents are aware of the program. “If they don’t have an account, we can help them set up an account and access their children’s information right there. There’s even an app now for their phone.”

The HSPE seminar will focus on the content of the math, science, reading and writing tests.

“We’ll be going over the cutscores,” said Kixmiller. “Some parents know what the tests are but don’t realize that students need them to graduate.”

The “What were you thinking?” session will delve into the psychology of teenagers, why teens tend to make poor choices, and the consequences of those choices.

“Basically the point of the workshop is to help parents help their teens make better decisions,” said Trujillo, who will be teaching the seminar. “It’s also designed to educate parents about some of those risky behavior choices out there today. We can do a better job helping kids if we are aware of some of the trends.”

Trujillo will be discussing designer drugs, such as Spice and bath salts, as well as trends in technology that could put students in jeopardy.

“More than anything, it is important parents are not only educated with expert information, but also presented with a teenager’s perspective,” she said.

Wentz will facilitate the “transitions” seminar, which will explore life after high school, emotional and logistical issues, and applying for college and financial aid.

“We encourage as many parents and secondary students as possible to attend,” said Trujillo.

Kixmiller envisions at least two workshops a year in perpetuity.

“We would like to have different topics,” she said.

Refreshments will be available for the inaugural event, and leadership students will provide childcare.

For more information, call 392-1475.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 16, 2013 11:22AM Published Apr 17, 2013 01:23PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.