CARLSBAD — Education is changing at a break-neck speed and many parents, along with their kids, are struggling to adapt.
It’s one reason why the Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) is incorporating The You School to bolster its Parent University, which is helping parents cope with newfound responsibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scott Schimmel, president and chief guide at The You School, said the program is free to parents and offers two videos per week for 40 weeks. The topics include social and self-awareness, relationships, technology, stress and time management.
CUSD Student Services Specialist Rosemary Eshelman, who spearheaded the program, said it is important for the district to support parents during an unprecedented time. She said it is critical to provide social and emotional support, tools and resources for parents, to help them navigate difficult challenges.
“We started working with parents … on their own terms on parenting,” Schimmel said. “Give them a video, a worksheet … and around the dinner table or car ride, these are conversations they can have with their kids.”
He said the content will feature videos about three minutes in length, while Manasi Watts, president of the Carlsbad Unified Council of PTAs, said parents are encouraged to help provide topics.
Elementary schools were approved for in-person schooling starting Sept. 21, although those plans may change with the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the county.
Eshelman connected with Schimmel and Watts to create a district-wide program. The videos provide three aspects: a research-based idea, a short story and an exercise for the parent(s) to incorporate.
“Parents need support for their own mental health and they need tools for their kids’ mental health,” Watts said. “Rosemary has been really at the forefront over the past few months that maybe this isn’t about resiliency, but also about endurance. We just don’t know how long we’ll be in this situation.”
Eshelman began working on the program several months ago to ensure parents had the resources and tools to assist their children through virtual learning models. Watts said there is frustration with parents because they either don’t know the answer or have no way to fix a specific problem, which is what the course through Parent University helps address.
She said there are several opportunities as parent engagement is increasing, noting the short videos allow for more parents to engage, and not have to put their households on pause.
According to Watts, one of the bigger challenges screen-time fatigue for both students and parents. Another issue is reaching the more vulnerable populations who may not work traditional hours or have a reliable internet connection.