By Bill Jackson, CEO and Founder
For two years, GreatSchools has been developing an online parent education program currently known as College Bound. This first-of-its-kind program helps parents develop the skills they need to raise college-ready high school graduates.
College Bound is made up of brief video lessons – typically one to four minutes in length – that give parents tools to help with everyday challenges (such as how to get your kid to bed on time, or how to get your child to do her homework without tears). Based on the most recent research in childhood cognitive development and education, the program also sheds light on the best ways to help kids learn. Currently in its pilot phase, we're learning as we go.
Recently, about 60 parents of kindergartners at KIPP Comienza Elementary School in Southeast Los Angeles graduated from College Bound. I was there with a team from GreatSchools to learn about the parenting challenges they face, as well as the ways their parenting has changed since they started the program.
These conversations were so exhilarating. I got to see first-hand how College Bound is inspiring them to think and talk about how they parent and what they can do to help their children succeed in school.
One mom talked about a College Bound lesson on praise. (Research shows that the best way for parents to motivate their kids to do their best is by praising their effort, not their innate talents).
"One of the lessons that got to me is that, instead of telling my son that he is intelligent, I changed the way I talk to him. I say, 'Yeah, this is good, but you can improve. You can make it better.' "
Another said, "Had I known what I know now . . . my older children’s performance in school would have been completely different."
It's satisfying to see that College Bound is having such tangible results for parents, who are often raising kids without the support of an extended family and community. It’s also a great reminder that kids aren’t the only ones who deserve a great education, and thrive when they get it. Every parent does as well.