It was a sparse audience but those who attended Saturday's Parent Empowerment Conference said they came away armed with information about how to become more involved in their children's education.
Meeting in the Varnett Public School Southwest cafeteria, presenter Catherine Landry of the Region 4 Education Service Center engaged parents on the benefits of regular student attendance, effects of irregular attendance and how parents can influence positive behavior. She also had the parents work in groups to come up with ideas on improved parent engagement.
Ms. Landry emphasized that many parents and students don't realize how early absences can quickly lead to academic trouble. Citing information from Attendance Works, she focused on the importance of engaging families, finding reliable transportation to and from school, addressing health needs and tracking the right academic data for students.
Presenter KaSondra Brown of Collaborative for Children talked about the benefits of early childhood development; Rafael Martinez of South Texas Dental promoted the need for healthy nutrition and Deneane Farley, also of South Texas Dental, discussed oral hygiene. The sessions also included topics on bullying and stranger danger.
Participating vendors were Houston Community College, Girls Scouts, Boys Scouts, representatives from two Little League teams and Meyerland Martial Arts Center.
Raffles were given on behalf of WalMart, Fuddruckers and Luby's. A French press coffee maker came courtesy of Starbucks and books and pencils from Collaborative for Children.
Twenty parents attended. "The ones who came really enjoyed it and wanted to know when we will do this again," said Ms. LaShanon Hollis, the campus parent liaison.