New HM Parent Institute kicks off

Bradley Bennett, Staff Writer

Director of Middle Division Guidance Wendy Reiter and Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly teamed up to establish the Middle Division Parent Institute, a new initiative designed to support middle school students by educating parents about middle school life and challenges.

The primary objective of the Parent Institute is to “educate parents about all the important aspects of adolescent development over time, and hopefully it will serve the parents, the students, and the institution well,” Reiter said.

“There is a need for greater parent involvement in the Middle Division, and our parent body is interested in having access to a greater number of resources when it comes to raising children in an ever-changing world,” Kelly said. “The program will afford parents the opportunity to have more specific conversations with school personnel and national experts on topics relevant to their children’s time in and out of school.”

“Parents will have the opportunity to participate in talks, have book discussions based on middle school topics, and there will an end of the year forum with former middle school students about the successful middle school experience,” Marisa Rosenthal (P’21, P’23) said. 

“I decided to create this program because I started out as a parent many years ago, and then came on faculty, so I have experienced both sides of middle school.” Reiter said. “I feel like I’ve had this unique perspective of middle school life from both a parent and faculty perspective.”

The first meeting of the Parent Institute will be held on November 9th, and Dr. Robert Brooks will be presenting about his book, “Raising a Self Disciplined Child,” Rosenthal said.

“The Parent Institute and the Parents Association have met on several occasions to brainstorm ideas on how to promote the new initiative,” Head of the Parents Association Grace Peak said. “The Parents Association hopes to be helpful by providing feedback from the community on what worked and what areas need to be further developed.

Throughout the year, the program will feature various events to help educate parents about their middle schoolers’ lives.

“My other goal for this program is to capture parents who typically don’t come out for these types of events, and hopefully one of these topics will resonate with them,” Reiter said.

“We want to be able to reach a broader range of parents, wherever they live, and each of the talks sound very exciting so many parents are looking forward to it,” Rosenthal said.

“We hope that if parents are better educated, their children will have an easier time in school and in life outside of school,” Kelly said.

“I’m looking forward to Friday, the launch event, and I’m really excited about the whole year,” Reiter said.