Parent University Returns on November 23

When: Saturday, November 23 from 8:30 AM-12:00 PM. Check-in (and coffee!) starts at 8:00 AM.
Where: Melrose High School, 360 Lynn Fells Parkway
Who: Parents of preK-Grade 12 students
What: Keynote speech followed by two workshops (1 hour each) of the participant’s choice, opportunity to talk with other parents and presenters.
Cost: Free

Got preK-Grade 12 Students?
Here’s Why YOU Should Go to Parent University on November 23

By Christina Gagliano

As parents, we’re all overbooked and overly busy. So, our first impulse on hearing about Parent University, a free event that features more than 20 workshops about education and parenting, might reasonably be “Is it worth my time?”

Resoundingly, yes!

“When I went to Parent University last year, I was blown away with the amount of FREE information that Melrose parents can get,” says Julie Cali, a middle school parent who is looking forward to attending this year’s event.

“I know it seems much easier to stay home on a Saturday morning, but this event is well worth your time,” says Jill Tully, a Melrose Public Schools Instructional Coach, Parent University presenter, and parent. “Parent University provides a way for you to gain new tools and perspectives to support your family, while providing a priceless opportunity to listen and discuss these ideas with others. And there will be coffee!”

Now in its sixth year, Parent University is an annual event sponsored by the Melrose Education Foundationthat draws hundreds of attendees. Educator, author, and consultant Jeffrey Benson will kick off the event with a keynote about resiliency and the science of learning. Participants can then attend two workshops (from a selection of 20+) that cover a range of education and parenting topics relevant to children ages preK through high school. 

This year’s topics include: collaborative problem solving; how override money is being used; vaping; anti-bullying and relationship skills; getting to know LGBTQ+; college planning and financing; managing difficult behavior and anxiety; monitoring your child’s digital use; a day in the life of an elementary school student; and more.

“A session I attended last year on helping kids with executive function issues helped me change my approach to one of my kids, who struggles to follow instructions and complete tasks without getting distracted,” says parent Julie Bakey. “It helped me think differently about breaking down projects and motivating her to stay on task.”

Rebecca Interbartolo cites the 2017 Parent University keynote speech by Dr. Christopher Willard as being particularly inspirational.

“We bought his book on mindfulness and try to incorporate his practices in our lives,” she says.

While Interbartolo looks forward to the Parent University workshops—“they’re always new and interesting”—she also values the opportunity the event offers to connect with other parents and with community organizations. Several organizations, including Zero Waste Melrose, the Melrose Public Library, and the Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, will have informational tables at Parent University. 

“GO! Just go! You won’t regret it,” says Julie Cali. “Parent University is a great way to network with other Melrose parents and also pick up parenting tips and tricks.”