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Parent Academy graduates its second and largest class on April 29

Millicent Borishade - Courtesy photo
Millicent Borishade
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

Kent School District's Parent Academy for Student Achievement (PASA) graduates its largest class since its inception one year ago on Tuesday, April 29.

Ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. at Kent-Meridian High School, 10020 SE 256th St.

Since last year PASA has earned special recognition from the Road Map Project, an organization aimed at improving education in South King County and South Seattle. PASA has more than tripled the number of hosting schools, and the number of graduates has increased by almost 50 percent, from 165 graduates in its first session to 300 expected to graduate.

"PASA has been a tremendous success for parents and students," said Millicent Borishade, assistant director of Family and Community Services. "Parents are eager to see their student achieve, and PASA gives them a comprehensive view of how they can help."

The PASA program, a nine-week academy, is available to all interested parents who want to be more familiar with the school system. The goal of PASA is to provide better learning environments at home while also serving as a forum for parents to address their needs and concerns.

Because many participants are originally from non-English speaking countries, academy lessons are available in many world languages. In this year's session, classes were taught in eight languages: Amharic, Arabic, English, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. Specific languages are available based on the needs of the parents who attend, so they vary from session to session.

Each week the participants learn something new about the school experience. They learn about the necessary collaboration between home, school and outside community partners. Representatives from community partners, such as ReWA (Refugee Women's Alliance) and St. Vincent de Paul Centro Rendu, are special guests in classes. Other lessons include hands-on activities, such as how to use Skyward, the online student/parent/teacher portal. Parents also learn about academic standards, how to prepare for a teacher conference, Common Core standards, how to foster self-esteem and decrease student stress levels, and more.

This year's graduating class was particularly interested in hearing about Kent School District's nationally recognized Kinder to College program. Parents were curious about college preparation, and as a result, the district is arranging a visit for parents to the University of Washington.

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