Parents don caps and gowns for their own graduation from "Parent University"

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Thursday, June 1, 2017
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New graduates from Klein ISD major in parenting

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It is the end of the school year for students at Klein ISD's Intermediate school and so caps and gowns are not uncommon on campus. Yet, the ceremony these graduates are headed to is a graduation of a different sort. Instead of school children, it is parents, even great-grandparents donning the apparel.

"Last year at our first graduation we had parents that graduated, that never graduated high school so they wore a gown for the first time," said Bob Anderson, principal at Klein Intermediate.

The reason for the adults in caps and gowns? An innovative, powerful program of workshops called "Parent University" was offered by the school throughout the year in the school's Parent Center. The goal of Parent University is to connect students with their parents and parents with their communities to increase student attendance and improve student behavior.

The parenting curriculum that composes the program is the brainchild of Dr. Hope Luster-Calhoun and teaches everything from digital safety and nutrition, to summer reading tips and classes on family bonding.

"It's just an honor to represent our families and to help them," Luster-Calhoun said through proud tears.

That help, going a long way for these special parents and the more than 80 others who are now Parent University graduates.

"It's so beautiful to get something like this," said Maria Salazar who owes the classes to changing her family's nutrition and health. "You achieve something in life and one of them is to help my child," she said as she turned the tassel on her cap.