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Back to school: Ironwood hosts Parents Academy


Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

IRONWOOD SENIORS Maggie Meyer, left, and Kathleen Mieloszyk prepare their group's trebuchet in an effort to catapult a basketball through a hoop. Meyer and Mieloszyk, along with Eric Tervonen, were one of the groups from the district's physics class demonstrating their machines during the district's Parent Academy Wednesday evening.


Ironwood - It was the parents who went to school Wednesday as the Ironwood Area Schools held its inaugural Parents Academy.

The event featured district staff presenting on a range of topics, including Advanced Placement classes, how to help young students read, ACT/SAT prep and the scholarships available for college. In the gym, students in some of the district's science classes also presented on the work they were doing in class.

There were also representatives from the Ironwood Public Safety Department and Ironwood Carnegie Library on hand to discuss online safety and substance abuse prevention, as well as using graphic novels to get kids reading.

Parents could sit in on various presentations for 15 to 20 minutes, allowing them to attend several presentations during the evening.

Dean of Students Dan Niemi credited K-12 Principal Denise Woodward for the idea of having the event.

He said it started as a simple conversation about giving parents the tools they need to help students and grew from there.

"I think we're starting more with this broad range of topics to get people comfortable in the school and giving them things that are going to help them with their kids so (the kids) are successful," Niemi told the Daily Globe.

Niemi was pleased with the attendance at the academy, saying the district was using this first event as a sort of trial to see ways to improve it in the future.

"For the first time, it wasn't bad. We had people who came in and had legitimate questions," he said.

He said the district hopes to expand the topics covered next year to include presentations on the after-school tutoring and academic calendar, as well as other items parents need to know about.

The district will also likely hold future events earlier in the year, according to Niemi, to give parents more time to take advantage of what they learn.

"We have the Back to School Fair at the end of August," Niemi said, referring to the event where the students get their schedules and other important information. "We're going to do that again, but then I think we'll advertise the Parent Academy (for) about two or three weeks into the school year. It will ... be a nice launching pad for the rest of the year."

In addition to being informative, Niemi said Wednesday's event was a good way to establish and improve relationships with the parents.

"We want them to feel comfortable when they come in here," Niemi said, joking he didn't want parents to feel like they were being called to the principal's office when they come to the school.


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