NACOGDOCHES (KYTX)— The challenging job of raising children gains added support with the opening of Nacogdoches ISD's Parent Resource Center.
A Jan. 24 open house from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. is the first chance to see the facility at 609 Mound Street, just north of the Thomas J. Rusk Academy of Fine Arts. The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting for the opening on same day at 4:30 p.m.
Chanté Davis, NISD executive director of Accountability/Assessment/Federal Programs, said the repurposed space allow the district to offer:
• Parent workshops;
• Access to technology, such as computers for checking students' grades online;
• A resource library with parenting books, magazines and videos; and
A children's learning center
"This has been a dream of the district's for the past two years," Davis said. "We have actively been pursuing it since the Student Support Services moved to another location."
The district's Plant Services department renovated the building, installed new flooring and lighting and repainted the walls. NISD's technology took care of computer needs.
Title I, Part A funding will support professional development for staff members as well as the purchase of training materials and supplies to conduct the parent involvement workshops.
The building once housed home economics classes when it was the part of the high school campus. It also was a tax office, the administrative offices and special education department before it became student services and now the Parent Resource Center.
The school district wanted to take on this project because "We believe it takes the parents, school, and community working together to educate students," Davis said.
NISD Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes agreed. "We must all work together for our children to have a better tomorrow. The Parent Resource Center gives NISD another way to continue that dialogue and assist our parents," he said.
A schedule of parent workshops and their topics, each planned to reach a different age level, will be released each month. Counselors from all 10 NISD campuses agreed to each provide two sessions — one during the day and the other in the evening.
Davis said the district selected Practical Parenting Education and The 40 Developmental Assets to be among the programs emphasized.
PPE lists its mission as being, "… to be proactive in providing all community parents with support, parenting skills and resources in their efforts to rear responsible, self-confident, mentally healthy children who will be able to function to the best of their ability in their personal lives, their educational opportunities and as contributing members in today's complex society."
PPE began in Plano in the early 1980s by local business professionals and school administrators. "They recognized the challenges today's families were facing and believed that the community as a whole needed to join forces to support all parents and children with quality services and education."
The program was used in NISD for a number of years by the district's social workers and counselors for individual and small group parent meetings. Kitty Jones, district parent liaison, and Davis will attend PPE training in early February. After completion, they will serve as workshop facilitators at the PRC, also.
In addition, the resource center will use the 40 Developmental Assets program from the Search Institute.
"Search Institute has identified the following building blocks of healthy development — known as Developmental Assets — that help young children grow up healthy, caring, and responsible," according to the Search Institute website.
The resource center won't have regular hours at first, but will be open during workshops and other small group meetings. Davis said volunteers would allow for more regular hours. A paid position could be available if the 2013-14 budget allows for it.
"We want this to be an interactive experience. We want parents from all backgrounds to feel like this is a true resource," she said.