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Parents Unite Addresses School Anxiety

Ashley Stefanic Hime moderates a panel of student experts at last year's Parents unite, which gives parents the opportunity to ask questions about the upcoming school year.

Are you agonizing over when to buy your child a cellphone? Trying to reassure your fifth-grader they can handle middle school? Figuring out when an anxious high school student should ask to see a counselor? Worried about bullying?

Or just uncertain … about what to expect next school year?

Comal ISD Council of PTAs wants to ease everyone’s anxiety at Parents Unite, a two-hour summit for parents and students starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at Smithson Valley High School, 14001 TX-46, Spring Branch.

The event features teachers, counselors and experts from Comal ISD along with keynote speaker Dr. Melissa Deuter, a San Antonio psychiatrist whose topic is “Middle School and High School Today vs. the 1980s – Teens are the same but the world has changed.”

Attendees are invited to ask questions and learn from parents, counselors, students and experts concerning social questions facing students as they navigate elementary, middle and high school, said organizer Ashley Stefanic Hime, Startzville mother of three Comal ISD students. Childcare is provided and concessions are available.

“We’re bringing parents and the community together to talk about the social aspects they won’t hear about in school,” she said.

Following Dr. Deuter’s talk, parents can select four out of five breakout sessions to attend:

  • Administrator Panel – Parents ask principals questions directly.
  • Counselor Panel – School counselors address the transition and expectations from elementary to middle and middle to high school.
  • Student Advisory Panel – An opportunity to speak directly to students from schools children will attend.
  • Technology and Safety Panel – Comal ISD’s Safety and Security Director Joe McKenna will speak about the district’s efforts to keep students safe.
  • Bulverde psychologist John Beach, Ph.D, will discuss ways to identify anxiety in students.

Hime said she was surprised to learn at the March 4 summit at Canyon Lake High School how much high school students wanted to talk about their experiences.

“They want their voices heard,” she said. Yet when counselors asked if students shared their concerns with parents, they all said no.

Parents who missed the March 4 gathering at Canyon Lake High School due to weather are invited to attend the event at Smithson Valley or the next one at Canyon High School on March 25.

The feeder patterns may be different, but the questions are all the same.

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