What is Parent University?

Parent University was developed in response to the need for programming to address the social and emotional needs of students in District 303. We continue to strive to provide information on topics that are relevant, timely, and beneficial for all parents and guardians.

District 303 regards parent engagement as fundamental to the success of our students both inside and outside of the classroom. Parent University is designed to create partnerships between school and home and provide a place where parents and staff members can learn together.

Based on information gathered from parent surveys and the work on the Parent University Committee, the district designs and offers programming that is timely, meaningful, and easily accessible. Over the last several years, we have heard parents when they have requested programs that can be consumed on their schedule such as videos, webinars that are also available after the meeting, and voiced presentations. At the same time, we will also continue to host in-person programming.

If you have ideas about programming, please contact Carol Smith at carol.smith@d303.org or Cindy Ruesch at cindy.ruesch@d303.org

2021-2022 Parent University Offerings

Debbie Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, and speaker who has been inspiring and sparking conversations for parents, women, and teens for twenty years. District 303 is offering 3 sessions in October based upon Ms. Reber’s work.

October 6, 2021
• SOS for Parents in the Trenches
Zoom - 6:30 p.m.
Click here to view the recording

When parents are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and burned out, it’s hard to show up in a way that best supports their child’s development, especially if/ when our kids are struggling, too. In this practical and actionable talk, Ms. Reber shares ten powerful “tilts,” a.k.a. practical ideas to help parents shift their thinking, responses, and actions in a way that will help them feel more confident and peaceful as they parent their unique children.

October 13, 2021
• Supporting Kids Who Learn Differently: Back-to-School Edition
Zoom - 6:30 p.m.
Click here to view the recording

School always presents certain challenges for students who learn and think differently (kids with ADHD, dyslexia, giftedness, autism, anxiety, or other neuro-differences). But the COVID-19 pandemic has created even greater obstacles. Debbie shares ideas on how parents can best prioritize and plan in the pandemic-era school landscape. She also offers advice on how to support differently wired children’s cognitive, social, and emotional needs during this atypical time, while also taking care of one’s own emotional health and well-being.

October 20, 2021
• Facilitated Book Talk: Differently Wired by Debbie Reber
Zoom - 6:30 p.m.
Click here to view presentation slides
*Contact the District's Administration office if you would like a free copy of Ms. Reber's book

Dr. Cindy Ruesch, Director of Staff, Family and Student Services, and Dr. Patti Palagi, Director of Instructional Interventions will lead a discussion about the book and how it can help parents embrace and accept their children who think differently. As part of the registration, you will receive a free copy of Ms. Reber’s book you may pick up at Town House Books.

December 9, 2021
• Empower: An Innovative K-5 Learning Experience in D303
6:00-7:00 p.m.
Click here to view the recording

Kindergarten through fifth grade students in District 303 are actively involved in an innovative new special twice a week called Empower. Are you wondering what it is all about? Join us in learning what students are experiencing! See what they’ve already accomplished, step through a couple of their upcoming modules, and learn how to be actively involved as a parent. 

February 9, 2022
iGen: Understanding the Smartphone Generation presented by Jean M. Twenge
Zoom - 6:30 p.m.
Click here to register

With generational divides wider than ever, parents, educators, and employers have an urgent need to understand today’s rising generation of teens and young adults. Born after 1995, iGen is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. With social media and texting replacing other activities, iGen spends less time with their friends in person. But technology is not the only thing that makes iGen distinct from every generation before them; they are also different in how they spend their time, how they behave, and in their attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics. As this new group of young people grows into adulthood, we all need to understand them. Members of iGen also need to understand themselves as they communicate with their elders and explain their views to their older peers. Because where iGen goes, so goes our nation—and the world.

Jean M. Twenge, is the author of more than 140 scientific publications and six books, the latest of which is iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.

Parent University Resources