It sees itself as collaborating with parents in the education of their children. When the collaboration is firmly in place—with trust and respect on both sides—the student is in the best possible position to flourish.
Oakcrest’s Parent Support Program strives to strengthen this collaboration by providing parents with the advice, guidance, and support they need as the primary educators of their children. We share the wisdom and experience we have accrued over many years of educating young women by offering programs that give parents opportunities for discussion, continuing education, and—perhaps most importantly of all—building friendships.
“We want parents to invest in the school for many reasons. By volunteering and attending various events they help the school, but they also get to know other parents, which reaps so many benefits and rewards for themselves,” says Kate Hadley, Director of Mentoring and Parent Support.
The opportunities for parents to come together to learn abound. At our monthly Coffee with the Head, parents join Head of School Mary T. Ortiz as she shares insights and reflections drawn from her many years of educating young women. “I love going to Coffee with the Head,” says Nicole Guenther, mother of Louise (‘24) and Anna (‘24). “It feels like having a backstage ticket when Mary Ortiz or another speaker takes me ‘behind the scenes’ and discloses Oakcrest’s ‘secrets of success.’ I always learn so much, and I can take the newly gained knowledge home and apply it there, too. That way, school and home go hand in hand, and we work together on what matters most.”
Our Adventures in Parenting series features talks on various parenting topics—recent speakers have included Immaculee Ilibagiza, who discussed hope and forgiveness, and Dr. Leonard Sax, who talked about Instagram and the effects of social media on girls. Students also hear from these speakers, so parents are able to experience a little of what their daughters are learning.
Oakcrest also hosts Family Enrichment Workshops which use the case-study method to train participants to identify needs, solve problems, and set goals in their own families. Meeting in regular sessions throughout the school year, this year’s course focused on navigating early adolescence, while the 2019-2020 course will study matrimonial love.
We host additional special forums such as our most recent, the Art of Living for Women, which explored the importance of family dinners. Keynote speaker Maureen Reim discussed how research has shown that quality family dinner time improves the intellectual and emotional well-being of parents and kids alike. Sharing time around the dinner table has been a predictor of higher achievement scores in school for kids. Children who enjoy family dinners also have improved life skills such as coping with stress, confidence, and optimism. And parents who eat family dinners with their children report higher life satisfaction and are more likely to experience feelings of happiness and enjoyment in their lives.
The Oakcrest Parent Association fosters community in many ways, organizing the Founder’s Day Mass and Dinner, Advent Dinner, various volunteer activities, and Thursday Tea and Talk. Thursday Teas give teachers the opportunity to share their areas of expertise with parents, whether it’s the four temperaments or comedy in The Odyssey and The Merchant of Venice.
Our Fathers Club gives Oakcrest dads the chance to socialize and put together events that are fun for the family and support the school’s mission such as the Father Daughter Dance and Family Picnic. Our Parent Forum, which explored how to help your teen develop a healthy social life, drew on the wisdom of our parents helping each other.
Acorn Clubs bring
s together 6th and 7th grade moms and daughters off campus; there are talks and activities for both the girls and their mothers, leading to a great bonding experience for all. Parents also work together with the school to host Prom, making it a night not only of fun but also one that teaches students about social graces and etiquette.
All of these programs and more provide Oakcrest moms and dads with exciting, fun, and helpful ways to connect, grow, and support each other. We want to make our parents an integral part of school life here, and the Oakcrest Parent Support Program helps do just that.
Visit our Parent Support page here.