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‘Breakfast with Guidance’ presents information to high school parents

Shrewsbury – Entering high school is a new experience for many parents as well as for their freshman children. That’s why the Shrewsbury High School Guidance Department introduced monthly “Breakfast with Guidance” events.

The Oct. 26 meeting focused on the balance of athletics and academics, with information about the NCAA Clearinghouse, where students interested in playing Division I and Division II sports register. The academic requirements are rigorous, and require students to take a minimum number of courses in core areas. Diane O’Keefe and Janna Anastas are two parents who attended both the September and October breakfasts.

“This is my first experience as a [high school] parent,” O’Keefe said. “It’s overwhelming.”

Janna Anastas agreed.

“It’s a nice setting to ask questions,” she said.

Jim Kneece has two children involved in high school athletics. His son, Matt, is a junior basketball player. His daughter, Katie, is a freshman who rows crew.

“I think … getting parents together to see what the school off ers is great,” he said. “This sort of meeting helps.”

For Sue Rapp, the program is helping her see how daughter Nicole can balance her responsibilities as a student and an athlete.

“I came because I have a freshman who is playing field hockey and wants to play other sports, and it would be nice to balance it,” Rapp said. “This is my first high school experience, so I take all the guidance I can get.”

Kathleen Buckley, attending her second breakfast, agreed on the value of the program.

“The first time it was more the nuts and bolts about transcripts and it does count from day one,” Buckley said.

She has older children, too.

“It was good to hear some things I wish I had known when they were freshmen,” she said.

Kathy Floyd, one of the freshman guidance counselors, introduced the program after reading about and then visiting a similar program.

“I felt like it does seem like something our parents, our students, too, could benefit from,” Floyd said. “We’re looking at it as a pilot [program] because we want to see how it goes. It’s basically designed to help ninthgrade parents, to ease their concerns as their child enters high school.”

The monthly programs, which run through March, will address questions the department often gets, mostly from the parents of freshmen, Floyd explained.

“It really is designed to be kind of an intimate meeting,” she said. “Some of the topics may draw more folks than others.”

For example, the first meeting drew about 20 people to demystify the “permanent record,” she said. The October meeting drew about 10, which is what she expected, she said, since it addressed an issue for a more limited group of students.

The next meeting, at 9 a.m. Friday Nov. 20, will discuss Special Education and the American with Disabilities Act 504, Floyd said. Friday Jan. 15, 2010, will discuss course selection, Friday Feb. 26 with discuss “Planning with the future in mind,” at which the director of admissions at Worcester State College will speak.

The final meeting Friday March 26 will be a review, Floyd explained, with parents talking about the value of the various programs and suggesting topics for next year. The key is to provide an opportunity for parents to keep up with information that is important to their children.

“I think if parents are aware and they feel their students are being taken of, their anxiety lessens,” Floyd said, “and as a result the students’ anxiety lessens.”

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=5918

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