Active parenting alive and well in St. John Parish

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 2004


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – Parents sharing ideas with those in similar situations gives much food for thought. Many times, to a positive end.

Such was the case on Nov. 18 when the monthly St. John Parent Breakfast Club met at the School Administration Media Center.

Sponsored by the Rivernet Institute for Social Empowerment (RISE;) St. John the Baptist Parish Title I; and YES! (YMCA Educational Services,) the morning’s topic was, “Winning Cooperation.”

The Parent Breakfast Club program combines entertaining videos and discussion to help parents learn how to raise children who are cooperative, responsible and able to resist peer pressure.

According to RISE Director Monica Brown, it also guides parents in dealing with sensitive issues such as drugs, sexuality and violence.

Featured this year is the new “Active Parenting” workshop for St. John parents of children ages 5-12. A corresponding textbook of the same name is used as a tool for the sessions. Brown is giving parents ‘homework’ of sorts, as she assigns a chapter for each month’s discussion.

“We are pleased to offer the new, ‘Active Parenting Now’ as the Parents Breakfast Club begins its fourth year,” said Brown.

She added that another program, Partners in Print, will also be presented to parents this year. West St. John Elementary School Curriculum Coordinator Sandra Horne is leading this segment of the breakfast club. Parents in Print promotes reading.

Monica Swan was among the 17 parents that attended Thursday’s meeting.

Swan has two daughters in the St. John School System. She feels that the forum is a welcome, relaxed atmosphere where parents can feel comfortable talking about their personal issues with their children. She feels everyone can learn something from the monthly talks. And the students will benefit from newly-learned parenting skills.

“There’s always room for improvement (in parenting,)” said Swan. “It’s great to get support from the other parents.”

Retired St. John Principal Elexia Henderson was also in attendance Thursday. Henderson currently serves on the St. John School Board.

When some parents were questioning certain procedures at their respective schools, she asked if they are aware of the contents of the mandatory student handbooks that are given to parents each school year.

“Parents need to read this,” Henderson told the group. She also encouraged them to persevere if a problem arises at their child’s school. If they don’t get satisfaction when trying to find an answer, they should look at the whole picture and realize they have options. One of those options is pursuing the different levels of the channels of command.

“Don’t stop (looking for resolution,)” said Henderson. “Take it to the next level.”

As outlined in the student handbook, those channels are: 1) approaching the teacher; 2) contacting the principal; 3) calling the Director of Elementary or Secondary Education; 4) talking with the Superintendent; and 4) approaching the School Board.

When the morning discussion turned to students’ behavior, Henderson told the audience that there is currently a Bullying Program in effect at the schools. “Kids are going to be kids. They are going to pick on each other,” she said. “You have to teach your kids not to be mean.” She added that the Bullying Program teaches students options in handling conflict.

The monthly Parent Breakfast Club meetings for St. John parents are held in two locations – West St. John Elementary on the West Bank; and at the School Media Center on the East Bank.

Parent Breakfast Club meetings in St. Charles began Oct. 22 at Luling Elementary School and continue each month.