Parent University Teaches Parents about Student Curriculum

Parent University, hosted by Milpitas Unified School District Educational Services, will be held on Feb. 13 at the district office, according to the Co-Director of Educational Services Catherine Waslif. The purpose of this program is to help parents become part of their children’s academic development, Waslif said.

The theme of this year’s Parent University is common core, in light of the recent changes in this area, so every workshop will be centered on this concept, Waslif said. The program this year will be split into two sessions, one from six to seven p.m. and the other from seven to eight p.m., and to accommodate for the parents, there will be childcare offered, according to Waslif. The estimated number of people attending is 150 to 200 parents, Waslif said.

“Milpitas partners with its management team as well as teachers and community organizations and agencies to offer free workshops and activities that will equip our families with new or additional skills, knowledge, and resources on the transition to common core state standards,” Waslif said.
There are many advantages that parents will gain by attending this program; they will become more informed and will later be able to ask the right questions to teachers, in order to understand their children’s situation and to supplement their growth in education, Waslif said. Research has shown that parent awareness leads to beneficial outcomes, according to Waslif.

“Parents can increase their child’s academic success through their involvement with schools; parental involvement improves confidence – student confidence, student attitudes, and academic achievement in all subject areas,” Waslif said.
Parent University this year will deal with common core instruction, curriculum, and assessment, and there will be 15 workshops, two of which are not back-to-back, to help guide parents, Waslif said. The topics for the workshop include Smarter Balance and IReady Diagnostic for assessment; thinking maps; math, language arts, and science common core; new report cards; A-G requirements for college and career readiness; and parent toolkit, according to Waslif.

“It is a community and school district collaborative to help parents become full partners in their children’s education from preschool all the way up to high school,” Waslif said.
Spangler Elementary Principal Todd Gaviglio was in the past a principal in Redwood City, and through his experiences there, he discovered a similar program that involved the community and was very well-received by the parents, according to Waslif. When he became principal at Spangler, he partnered with former MUSD Assistant Superintendent Michelle Dimas to implement this idea in Milpitas, Waslif said.

“We want our parents to be informed, to be aware, and to understand the shifts, the changes in curriculum, the changes in instruction, and the changes in assessment so that their children can be as successful as possible,” Waslif said.
This year is the fourth run of Parent University; the program last year was held once in the fall and once in the spring, according to Waslif. The fall had good attendance while the spring had poor attendance, but this year, the department hopes to pool in all the parents on one day, Waslif said. Parent University is a great opportunity for the community to unify and support education, and the department encourages all parents to attend, according to Waslif.

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