BSM works to include parents into students’ academic lives
January 3, 2017
BSM hosts speakers for students and parents
Parents at BSM are very involved with their student’s high school careers; they volunteer at the Spirit Shop, keep up with their student’s homework load, and regularly check PowerSchool. On top of all this hard work, parents can also attend parent-speaker nights, such as “Kahnversations,” throughout the school year for advice on working with their children in high school.
Dr. Steve Kahn, psychologist and author of “Insightful Parenting,” works part-time for BSM and hosts four discussions each year for BSM parents to attend. These “Kahnversations” are open to all parents of junior and senior high students. “We talk about how parents can stay connected with their students even when students pull away. Picking battles [and] prioritizing the most important parts of adolescence [are also discussed]. Working with the realities of teenagers striving for autonomy [as well as] helping them establish their own identities and paths to adulthood [is important for parents],” Kahn said.
Kahn started his talks with parents in the early 1990’s. “Soon after starting to work at BSM in 1981, it became obvious that working with parents was essential to helping students. How the student is doing often follows how their relationship with parents is. When they have a lot of conflict (such as tension over day-to-day matters) there can be a decrease in the quality of the decisions the student makes,” Kahn said.
Parents gain insight about the approach to parenting by talking about many topics. BSM parent Patricia Bather has attended many of Kahn’s events. “I have learned to not respond in an emotional way when dealing with consequences and to allow the natural consequence. When your students are in tenth grade, stop doing the things that they should be doing on their own,” Bather said.
The next event Kahn will host for parents will be February 8, the talk will be about in influencing the decisions teenagers make when they are away from parents. In addition to Kahn, there are other events that educate BSM parents. On January 5, Campus Minister Mr. Mike Jeremiah will lead a discussion about leading young people to a closer relationship with God.
There will also be a senior panel, which will take place on April 12. Seniors will share their perspective on various aspects of high school life to parents, including academic pressure, college applications, dating, alcohol, and drugs. An important event for informing parents on high school life, this is the only time that students are directly involved in parent speaker nights.
BSM involves parents in college decisions
The counseling department capitalizes on educating parents, involving them in the college selection process as early as freshman year. This has become increasingly prevalent in the previous two years when the counseling department changed its system to form better relationships with students and parents.
As a part of the college process, the counselors have annual meetings with parents in order to work with them in guiding students through high school. This begins with an individual meeting the counselors have with the students and their parents freshman year to help understand the opportunities that high school has. After a couple of meetings with underclassman students, the parents become involved in meetings with the counselor and student individually again as a part of the planning process to prepare for college.
The counselors decided to involve the parents early because the college process can be intimidating, and the counselors want to give the families time to prepare for it This is especially true with regards to finances for college, so that parents understand how to find scholarships and make sure their children have options that they can afford if the scholarships don’t work out. “Starting out from the beginning, where we can say ‘Here’s what it takes to get into these types of colleges that you’re thinking about, here’s what it takes to get scholarships at colleges,’ for those that are really interested in that information is so much better than waiting until junior year… because by then it’s too late,” counselor Ms. Amanda Anderson said.
Most importantly, the counselors want to develop a relationship with the students and their parents. Since the counselors get to work with the same group of students and parents from freshman to senior year, they develop a relationship that allows them to work more effectively. “If a student’s not doing well… parents feel comfortable contacting us, we feel comfortable contacting them, [it’s] kind of a team partnership…. We’re kind of the go-to people for both the students and the parents,” Anderson said.