For years, Miami- Dade County Public Schools has trained students who have aspired to all kinds of licensed professions: physicians, attorneys, pharmacists, accountants, teachers, contractors and beauticians. But there was no training available (and no license required) for the hardest job of all — parent — until just a few years ago. That’s when the Parent Academy came into being.
The Parent Academy enriches the lives of children by bridging the gap between home and school using skill-building classes, educational events and activities that are all free for parents and families.
The Parent Academy provides answers to parents’ questions on topics that impact their children’s lives. Parents can learn how to support their students throughout their academic careers. They also can learn about how to get quality healthcare for their children, as well as emotional and financial management for themselves.
From preschool to planning for college to prepping for job interviews, staff at the Parent Academy can answer questions and direct parents to information to help them make the best choices for kids.
This year, the Parent Academy will open a Neighborhood Resource Center in the Parkway Educational Complex to offer parents in the north end opportunities and services. Basic computer classes will help inexperienced parents gain skills that can help them at home and even in a career. Parents also can learn how to access the Parent Portal, so that they can follow their children’s progress in school each day. A Parent Internet Café will give parents Internet access from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.
Another valuable service offered by the Parent Academy is free assistance in applying for citizenship. Many of our parents have come to the United States from other countries and want to become U.S. citizens. The citizenship process can be daunting to those who are not familiar with it, but fortunately, Parent Academy staff members are trained and able to assist.
The Parent Academy offers courses and workshops addressing many aspects of parenting. A listing of these offerings can be found at the Parent Academy’s website, http://theparentacademy.dadeschools.net. Monthly workshops are held at schools throughout the district and select public libraries in Miami-Dade County. Plans for increased outreach include parenting workshops at hospitals, a new online registration system for Parent Academy courses, a health component- workshop series in partnership with Amerigroup, and online courses through WLRN.
The Parent Academy’s slogan, “Be The Link To Your Child’s Success,” has never been more accurate. The Parent Academy’s expanded opportunities and dedicated staff will help moms and dads across the school district achieve the goal of helping their children succeed.