Districts discuss student success at ParentCamp 2015

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 23, 2015

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BEVERLY HILLS — Now that the kiddos have been back to school for a few weeks, it’s only fair that parents do a little time in the classroom too, right?

They’ll get their opportunity this weekend during the annual ParentCamp event in the Education and Administration Center at Groves High School.

The “unconference,” as organizers have dubbed it, is a chance for parents of children in Birmingham Public Schools — and, for the first time, Bloomfield Hills Schools — to meet with administrators, teachers and other parents to learn more about how they can optimize their family’s educational experience.

The concept for ParentCamp was brought to BPS a few years ago by Becky Brady, a PTA mom who, while studying education at Oakland University, found out that many parents in school communities didn’t know how to initiate a dialogue with their child’s teacher.

“I realized parents had a lot of questions and weren’t sure how to best help their child succeed in school, especially in public schools,” said Brady.

Now, Brady said, the event has become part of the district’s strategic plan. Parents can hear from each other and teachers about the best strategies to help students at home, create positive attitudes toward school, improve behavior at school and home, and improve grades for higher graduation rates and post-secondary education opportunities.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Jay Marks, of Oakland County Schools, who will lead three breakout sessions on varying topics.

Bloomfield Hills Schools Director of Communications and Community Relations Shira Good said the district is excited to invite parents to take part in such a unique opportunity to enhance outcomes for students.

“We are really looking forward to a great unconference in partnership with Birmingham Public Schools. This is our first year in this partnership, and we hope to grow it year after year,” said Good in an email. “I think the role of a parent or guardian is particularly challenging ‘these days’ as the digital world grows and education morphs almost daily (with) new tests, new standards, etc. We hope these sessions provide an opportunity for families to ask questions in a safe environment and get information from content experts.”

Registration for ParentCamp is free and open to parents of school-age children. The event runs 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Sept. 26. For more information, visit tiny.cc/4q8r2x or follow the event on Twitter @BBParentcamp.

The Birmingham Education and Administration Center is located at 31301 Evergreen Road in Beverly Hills.