By: Sarah Mitschke | Category: Special Interest | Issue: September 2007
Sheila Stewart and Stacey Berry, parents and former educators of Sapulpa Public Schools, are working to develop the Sapulpa Parenting Education Program in their community.
Sheila Stewart and Stacey Berry, parents and former educators of Sapulpa Public Schools, discovered the need for continuing education for parents in Sapulpa. When their friends with children in neighboring Jenks schools attended classes from the Practical Parent Education curriculum, the two women set on a mission to establish a parenting education program for Sapulpa. They hope to eventually reestablish a community-based education program similar to one that had been terminated in Sapulpa years before due to lack of funding. Although funds are still being raised, the Sapulpa Parenting Education Program was officially launched in August.
The Practical Parent Education curriculum was developed by business professionals, mental health officials and school administrators in Plano, Texas, in the early 1980’s. In response to Newsweek’s label of Plano as the “Teen Suicide Capital of America,” the community resolved to better educate parents, thus improving their children’s lives. According to the Practical Parent Education website, the curriculum’s mission is “to be proactive in providing all community parents with support, parenting skills and resources in their efforts to rear responsible, self-confident, mentally healthy children who will be able to function to the best of their ability in their personal lives, their educational opportunities and as contributing members in today’s complex society.”
As the second school district in Oklahoma to utilize the Practical Parent Education curriculum, the Sapulpa Parenting Educating Program aims to make a difference in the community. A variety of fun, free classes will be offered to help adults deal with many common parenting and non-parenting issues. Berry and Stewart hope to strengthen the community’s parenting skills and increase parental involvement. As a result, children’s test scores, self-esteem, and responsibility will increase, while potential drug abuse, teen pregnancy and truancy decrease.
After administering surveys to parents and teachers in Sapulpa, Berry and Stewart were able to determine what types of classes would be most helpful to the community. Topics such as homework issues, transitioning into adolescence, sibling rivalry and birth order will be addressed by the classes. “Don’t Pop Your Cork” and “Mommy, I’m Mad” will be offered throughout September and October to help both parents and children with their anger management. Beginning this fall, a British nanny will host monthly classes on topics such as total home organization, planning meals and resolving “chore wars” among children.
Berry and Stewart hope to get as many parents involved in the Sapulpa Parenting Education Program as possible. “Just because you attend one of our classes does not mean you’re a bad parent,” Stewart mentions. Both women say the program has already helped them. From planning each class, Berry and Stewart have been able to apply a tremendous amount of information to their own parenting.
Berry and Stewart also operate as a helpful resource for parents who do not attend classes. They can refer parents to counselors, as well as provide Parenting Quick Tips from the Practical Parenting Education curriculum. The tips, covering over 125 topics that may not be covered in classes, can be e-mailed to those interested. A few topics include internet safety, bullying, teenage driving, manners for young children and childhood obesity. “We are not perfect parents,” says Berry. “We are just facilitators of the curriculum with a mission to reach out to other parents.”
With the help of Dr. Joe Crowder, superintendent of Sapulpa Public Schools, Berry and Stewart continue to raise money to sustain the program for three years until it can develop on its own. While a total of $88,000 has been generated for the three years, $37,000 is still left to be raised. “We’ve had an overwhelming response from community businesses and individuals for this program,” Berry says. “Dr. Crowder has been very supportive throughout the entire process of getting the program going, as well as the program itself.”
Contact Berry or Stewart today to get involved with the Sapulpa Parenting Education Program. Volunteers are needed to help with various aspects of the program. Supporters will truly be investing in the future of Sapulpa. For more information, contact Berry and Stewart at (918) 224-6560, extension 2107, or by emailing eat0@eau0eav0eaw0. For a complete list of classes with descriptions, visit the Sapulpa Parenting Education Program online at www.sapulpa.k12.ok.us.
Thursday, Sept. 6
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Woodlawn Elementary Cafeteria
Monday, Sept. 17
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jefferson Heights Library
Monday, Sept. 10
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Freedom Elementary Conference Room
Tuesday, Sept. 25
6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Washington Elementary Cafeteria
Thursday, Sept. 13
10 a.m. to Noon
Sapulpa Middle School Conference Room