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Reaching out to DCVI parents online

Stew Slater
St. Marys Journal Argus

Under a provincial Education Ministry grant program called “Parents Reaching Out,” the teacher/librarians at St. Marys DCVI and Mitchell District High School have combined forces this year to offer a 70-title “e-book” library to parents and other members of their school communities.

The books, available for free to anyone who signs up for an “Electronic Parent Resource Library” account and downloads a free “app” on their smartphone, tablet computer or home computer, cover a range of topics broadly encompassing the challenges and rewards of being parents to teenagers.

An information night explaining the new service will be held in the St. Marys DCVI library on Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m.

“We started the service at the beginning of this school year, but our hope is that we’ll be able to find ways to expand on it,” said DCVI teacher/librarian Sue Hushen last week.

Hushen and her MDHS counterpart worked with their respective Parent Councils to apply for the Parents Reaching Out Grant, which is geared specifically towards getting parents involved in projects to enhance the school’s education environment. The e-book library fits into those guidelines, Hushen explains, because the information and insight provided by the service will help parents better understand the needs of students of varying backgrounds within the school.

Hushen says when she first came to DCVI, a collection of hard-copy books about things like parenting, dealing with behavioural and substance abuse problems, or teenaged mental health issues, was available. But with busy families finding it difficult to make a visit to the school, that service wasn’t well-used.

The new e-book library, with about 70 titles and more to be added in response to service user input is entirely online, and entirely digital. There are no fines, since the digital files disappear from your computing device at the conclusion of the three-week lending period (although they can also be renewed).

Topics of interest include raising young athletes, parenting through divorce, and assisting teenagers who are faced with a variety of educational issues.

“We tried to get a range of topics so we could provide an incentive to sign up for as many people as possible,” Hushen told the Journal Argus.

She stresses, as well, that it’s a community resource, not just a school resource. Just as the entire community has an influence on the students at the high school, you don’t have to be a parent of a DCVI student to sign up.

“We’ve got grandparents, we’ve got all kinds of people who might be interested,” Hushen said.
To sign up, visit the DCVI website at dcvi.typepad.com, and click on the amdsbparentresourcelibrary.com link. Or come to the information night on April 16.

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