UPDATE: Rally at BC to give pep to parents

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 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt Central High School will host a new event designed to offer a pep talk for community parents.

Bullitt County is hosting one of four statewide Parent Involvement PEP Rallies Saturday, Apr. 30, presented by the Parent Information Resource Center (KYPIRC).

UPDATE: The teen council portion of the Parent PEP Rally event has been postponed. Bullitt County Partners in Prevention coordinator Brittany Taylor said the group still planned to host a similar event at a later date.

Coleda Tackett, KYPIRC regional parent involvement coordinator, is co-chairing the event along with Michael Denney, state director of Family Resource/Youth Services.

Tackett said the PEP Rally was designed to increase parental involvement in their children’s education. She said Bullitt Central was selected as a regional host school because its Title I status qualified for funding. The school was also selected because of an active PTA program and its convenient location near the interstate.

“We needed to provide an opportunity for parents to attend an event where they will gain knowledge,” said Tackett. “Here they can network with parents, receive tools and resources, and it’s a free event. Parents will leave this event feeling empowered as parents.”

Of the four statewide events, the Bullitt County one is unique in that it includes a teen summit, “Taking a Stand: Regional Youth Leadership and Prevention Conference,” presented courtesy of Bullitt County Partners in Prevention (PIP).

The PEP Rally will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast provided, followed by a proclomation of “Family Engagement Day” by Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts.

Further greetings will be presented by Bullitt County Public Schools (BCPS)superintendent Keith Davis and Bullitt Central principal Christy Coulter.

Statewide featured speakers will be presented visa video, including First Lady Jane Beshear, National PTA president Chuck Saylors and Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Terry Holiday. Closing announcements will be made by Sen. Paul Hornback, who will attend the local event.

The main core of the PEP Rally is two sets of workshop sessions with representatives from KYPIRC, Ohio Valley Educational Co-op (OVEC), Family Resource and Youth Service Centers and the Kentucky PTA.

Susan Bibelhauser, BCPS supervisor of social services, said a number of different discussion topics were selected for the workshops based on parents’ main needs as determined by KYPIRC and FRC/YSC staff members.

“”We’re providing to parents and they want information about a variety of topics,” said Bibelhauser. “This is sort of a one-stop shopping event. Parents are our target population. We want to make it easy for parents to gather information.”

Workshop topics range from “Anti-Bullying for Parents” to “Couponing 101.” Other topics include middle school success, FRC/YSC information, Kindergarten preparation, strategies and tips for parenting students with autism or special needs and advocacy and support for the student.

Greg Schultz, BCPS assistant superintendent for student learning, will present “MAP and Compass Learning,” involving individualized student instruction and assessment.

Tackett noted that some sessions qualified as early child development hours for daycare staffers.

Lunch will be provided in between sessions. Tackett said the meal would be distributed in “brown bag” style, allowing parents more time to visit information resource tables provided by local and regional agencies.

“The agencies here in Bullitt County traditionally have worked together well,” said Bibelhauser. “The Parent PEP Rally will help build that with parents and schools as well.”

Tackett said resource tables would include local agencies such as , Seven Counties Services, Passport, the Center for Women and Children and Relay for Life.

Also attending is the Bullitt County Attorney’s Office, along with representatives from UPS Metro College and Bullitt County PIP.

Child care will be provided during the event, with enrichment activities provided courtesy of the Bullitt County YMCA.

The “Taking a Stand” conference is geared toward students age 13-18. PIP coordinatior Brittany Taylor said the teen conference was an idea being planned for about a year that eventually merged with the PEP Rally.

According to Taylor, PIP agreed to pair the events in hopes of adding attendance to each.

“(The PEP Rally) bringing people into Shepherdsville already has helped,” she said. “This is unique in the state and hopefully we’ll add to all of it next year.”

Teen sessions are split into 35-minute segments with topics including cyber bullying and safety, smoke-free schools, alcohol energy drinks, working toward policy changes, mental health issues and Social Host Ordinances.

“With the Social Host Ordinance they’ll discuss ‘unruly gatherings’ that are places where parents allow teens to drink,” said Taylor. “They;ll discuss who should be held responsible and how to more realistically enforce it.”

Taylor said local students had a say into conference topics along with PIP members.

A keynote address will be presented by Ted Weise, billed as one of America’s best youth leadership development speakers. Drug-free rap artist Andre Greene will perform “Clear the Air!” during lunch break.

Taylor said gas cards and gift cards would be presented as door prizes. The event will include games and fun activities throughout the day.

“The teens are not just going to come and get talked to,” said Taylor. “It’ll be really fun and you’ll meet people from all around the state.”

Taylor thanked Bullitt Central YSC coordinator Tonia Wiggins and the Bulitt Central Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) students for assisting with the event.

The PEP Rally also includes door prizes including Louisville Bats tickets and gift cards for Pirates Bay and Doe Run Inn.

Bibelhauser said parents are interested in assisting with their child’s education. She felt it was up to schools, teachers and local agencies to help supply parents with the proper resources to assist.

“This is an effort to make it easier to get involved with the school system,” she said. “It’s another positive way to say we’re in this together for their child. Don’t wait for the trouble to happen.”

For more information on the Parent PEP Rally and the Taking a Stand Regional Youth Leadership and Prevention Coference call the Kentucky Parent Information Resource Center, (502) 543-0884.

The Parent PEP Rally is sponsored by KYPIRC, Kentucky PTA, Kentucky Department of Education Title I and OVEC.