Parent University helps “enhance education at home”

Parent University helps “enhance education at home”
Parents and children alike filled DeRenne Middle School for Parent University. The University works teaches parents how to help their children learn life skills. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Parents in Savannah gathered at Derenne Middle School on Saturday to learn what they could do to help their child become more successful in the classroom.

The annual university, which has been held for the last 20 years, is aimed at arming family members with the skills they need to enhance education at home.

No parent is perfect, and when it comes to tending the needs of children, some parents and guardians may not be as familiar.

Parent University bridges that gap, teaching parents the best way to help their children learn things from life skills to understanding school requirements for testing.

“We’ve presented over 100 topics and one of the things interesting about the topics we present is that it’s the topics that parents have asked us to present, we don’t necessarily tell parents what they need to know," said Michael O’Neal, the executive director of the university. "We ask them what they want to know and we present that.”

O’Neal says programs like this are essential in helping a child and their family reach their full potential.

“I think one of the things that we’ve found that’s important is that this environment creates an atmosphere of confidence and competence in this part of our community inside a school environment and I think oftentimes we lack that,” O’Neal said.

Patrina Lackerson has been attending Parent University for over 10 years. She says she takes what she learns and incorporates it into her daily life.

“I have grands 6, 8, 5 and 1-month-old and what they teach us I take their ideas, I tell him ‘I’m going to take some of your ideas and I’m going to take them home’," said Lackerson. “I’m going to work with them with my children.”

O’Neal says programs like this are continuously needed for parents and families in the community because they are able to relate to one another.

“Our parents are the real heroes because they show up, people didn’t believe at the beginning that this could happen, but our parents for two decades have shown that parents are in interested in continuing learning.”

Parents like Lackerson agreee.

“I just love Parent University," said Lackerson. "It’s my second home away from home on Saturdays.”

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