The district on Thursday unveiled its new Parent University, which will offer free classes for parents and guardians, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Libby Booth Elementary School.
“What an exciting day,” Superintendent Heath Morrison said during the ceremony.
Morrison said Parent University is part of WCSD’s commitment to provide parents with the tools they need to help their children succeed in school.
“We expect parents to read with their children and we send books home,” Morrison said. “But what if the parent doesn’t know how to read?”
Or perhaps students are going home with books that are written in English and the parents speak English as a second language, or do not speak English at all, he said.
Through Parent University, those parents can become literate or learn to read and speak English.
“We are offering 240 free classes, and I want to stress that they are free, delivered all throughout our wonderful community,” Morrison said.
Classes began this week and are for any adult involved in educating a child. Classes offered in five categories: supporting learning and navigating the system; leadership and advocacy; parenting; family health and wellness; and parent’s personal growth and development.
“Parent University is a key component in our efforts to improve the quality of education in Washoe County,” Morrison said. “In our strategic plan, ‘Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing in Our Future,’ we make a promise to proactively reach out to our parents and not just talk about parent involvement.”
Morrison said during all of his years as a teacher and an administrator, he has never met a child who could not be educated at a high level when the parents and educators work together to reach a common goal.
Parent University is sponsored by 22 community partners, with key players being IGT and United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra.
“We are happy to be a part of Parent University,” said Karen Barsell, president and CEO of United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, as she stressed the importance of a solid education. “A solid education leads to financial stability.
Planning for the Parent University began more than a year ago and involved parents, educators and community members. Tracy Sherwood, chairperson of the WCSD Parent Involvement Council, said the council was instrumental in the planning and development of the curriculum for Parent University and that she hopes parents will partake in classes offered.
“We would like to invite all families to take a class this year,” she said, adding that she plans to take some herself.
A catalog with course descriptions was sent to all WCSD households. Register for classes by calling 325-2000; faxing a registration form to 33-5372; or online at www.wcsdparentu.com.