Parent outreach programs help families at crucial junctions

John Boshoven hopes many AAPS families take advantage of upcoming programs. Photo by Jo Mathis
John Boshoven hopes many AAPS families take advantage of upcoming programs. Photo by Jo Mathis.

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

For years, Community High School has sponsored evening programs for adults charged with the most important job of all: parenting.

This year, CHS Counselor/Department Chair John Boshoven has opened those programs to more parents at more schools, and added some new ones.

“It’s just really hard to be a parent,” said Boshoven, the father of three grown children. “We want the best for our kids, and so we just parent as best we can, and sometimes we wonder: Are we doing all we can do? Are we the best parent we can be?”

“So we wondered: What more can we do to serve our families better?”

Boshoven is encouraged because attendance at the recent SAT Parent Outreach Program at Pioneer High School featuring the College Board explaining the changes coming to the SAT was so well attended, it will be repeated in January.

He predicts that a Nov. 12 program titled “Raising Teenagers: It’s All in Their Heads: Executive Functions, Development and Learning in the Mind of the Ann Arbor Adolescent” at Slauson Middle School will also be popular with parents.

The speaker will be Roger Lauer, director of The Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development in Ann Arbor.

All middle school parents and students are welcome, and the event will be repeated for high school families in February.

“I think parents wonder: Is my kid going through normal stuff or is my kid somehow abnormal?” he said. “Dr. Roger Lauer, who is a clinician and researcher on executive functioning and how the brain works, will show us how our brain matures and what our brain is capable of doing at certain ages of growth and development.”

He said most parents will walk away reassured that yes; their teens are normal because the adolescent brain is still forming.

Families of children with learning disabilities will want to attend the fifth annual college and transition fair on Nov. 19 at Huron High School.

“As a college counselor, I’m always trying to help students figure out what kind of college environment would work out best for them, “ Boshoven said. “But it’s a trickier path for students with learning differences. They have to ask: ‘Does the college I’m looking at have the kinds of support I need to really succeed in college?’”

“We’ll bring in 30 to 40 colleges and programs with special support services to prep kids for success in college classroom,” Boshoven continued, adding that the list includes the University of Michigan, where a student diagnosed with a disability can benefit from a wide range of supports. “So we promote this fair to families with students looking not just to college, but to the correct support services. Families just feel so affirmed. Not only is their kid going to college, but he might actually find success there with the proper support.”

Another favorite program is the Gap Year Fair, a gathering of several dozen program representatives who offer a variety of things to do between high school and college for students who aren’t quite ready to get back into the academic world, or for those eager to delve into something different for a while.

“The gap year is widely promoted as a great year for kids to scratch their itch before they go on to college,” he said.

Boshoven said he hopes to offer more such parenting outreach programs in the coming years, and encourages parents to let counselors know what more they can do to help in the way of programming.

Upcoming events include:

  • Nov. 9  Junior College Night Huron High School: tent, 6:30-8 p.m. featuring Jim Cotter, Director of Admissions at Michigan State University, and Eric Staab, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Kalamazoo College. “Big or Small College? Not a Small Decision.” Juniors and families invited, but all are welcome. This is a repeat from Sept. 23.
  • Nov. 12  “Raising Teenagers: It’s All in Their Heads: Executive Functions, Development and Learning in the Mind of the Ann Arbor Adolescent.” Slauson Middle School auditorium, 6:30 p.m. Featuring Roger Lauer, director of the Center for Neuropsychology, Learning and Development. All middle school parents and students welcome. (Will be presented to high school families in February, 2016.)
  • Nov. 19  5th Annual Building Bridges: Life After High School College & Transition Fair Huron High School Media Center, 7:30-9 p.m. All AAPS families welcome who seek special resources for students with learning challenges.
  • Dec. 9  “Money for College: What is this FAFSA thing all about, and how is it changing for 2016.” Community High School, 6:30-8 p.m.  Presented by the Office of Financial Aid, Eastern Michigan University. All senior families invited, all high school families welcome. (Will be repeated in January.)
  • Dec. 10  “Use?  Abuse? Dependency?  How do I know? What we, as Ann Arbor parents, need to know to help our kids when drugs and alcohol are a concern. ” Huron High School, 7 p.m. Presented by Dawn Farms, Inc., Adolescent Services. All high school families welcome. (Will be presented to middle school in February, 2016)
  • Jan. 28, 2016 GAP Year Fair, “Taking Time to Do Something Important Before College”, Pioneer High School, 6 p.m. All high school families are welcome.



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