Parents have always been integral to the success of Pathways Milwaukee but we also strive to improve the program over the years. This year, we are offering a more Christ-centered coaching program for parents, beyond the college prep coaching that we usually offer. The new coach has developed a pilot curriculum for seven parent sessions, which launched this month and will run through the end of the school year. Each 3-hour session is delivered twice per month, once to parents of 6th graders, who are new to Pathways Milwaukee, and once to the parents of 7th and 8th graders combined.
Each session begins with prayer requests and a devotion that is related to that day’s topic. Each session is closed with a prayer that acknowledges all of the prayer requests. The topics include:
– Life purpose
– God-given purpose
– Relationships and strengthening relationships
– Communication in the family
– Mental and physical health and wellness
– Financial health
In each session, the topic is explored using scripture as a basis for learning, but also in the context of preparing the family and the child for college. The purpose is to help the parents learn a new skill to become a stronger person, and to guide them in practicing that new skill as a leader in their home. Session evaluations will be conducted three times throughout the span of the coaching program to gather feedback and make adjustments, as needed, because this is a pilot program.
Parents have already reported having breakthroughs after just one session on their values and how they live their values as models for their children. As one father said, “I value respect but have not shown my son enough that I respect his mother. I need to formally apologize to her so my son can see that it is the right thing to do.”
This parent life coaching complements the topics and sessions covered by other partners such as Know Thyself, which provides character education to the students, and the Urban League of Milwaukee, which provides financial literacy workshops.
According to thelearningcommunity.com, a Harvard Family Research Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education released that Family Involvement Makes a Difference in School Success. This research shows a strong connection between parental involvement and student success and indicates that “family involvement supports all children, especially those less likely to succeed in school.” It also found that: “Family involvement promotes school success for every child of every age.” “Family involvement helps children get ready to enter school.” “Family involvement promotes elementary school children’s success.” “Family involvement prepares youth for college.” Some specific findings from the report: “Children whose parents teach them how to write words are able to identify letters and connect them to speech sounds.” “Children whose parents provide support with homework perform better in the classroom.” “Youth whose parents are familiar with college preparation requirements and are engaged in the application process are most likely to graduate high school and attend college.” “Low-income African American children whose families maintained high rates of parent participation in elementary school are more likely to complete high school.”