Family is the most important factor influencing the lives of children. Purdue Bound students are more likely to focus on academics and attend college if their families are strong, supportive, and nurturing. The USA Parents Program is an asset based, parenting education program that provides information about creating supportive environments that enable children to thrive. The most accurate predictor of a child’s success in school is the degree to which their parents are involved in their education. Purdue University formed a partnership with USA Funds to address some of the challenges IPS students face. This partnership established the Purdue Bound USA Parents Initiative, which creates a supportive and nurturing system for students admitted into the Purdue Bound program.
To achieve these goals, meetings are held monthly to teach parenting skills and provide parents with skills to understand students’ academic needs, including conflict management, adolescent development, financial management, and effective ways to communicate with teachers and schools. Seventy percent of parents have reported that their children’s grades have improved due to the positive skills and peer-to-peer networks of the USA Parents Program.
To keep parents informed, the parents program publishes a monthly newsletter called Ideas for Parents, and a quarterly newsletter, USA Parents News. An annual retreat gives parents the opportunity to visit Purdue and learn about the educational possibilities that await their children. A parent advisory council meets quarterly with the director of the parents program to evaluate and improve offerings to meet parents’ needs. Twelve parents are active on the parent advisory council. An added benefit of the parent program is the parents’ education option plan to encourage parents to engage in their own learning by completing their GED or taking college classes. The program provides scholarships for parents who are interested in continuing their education. Five parents have taken advantage of the parent option this year.