Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘schools’
Posted: April 16th, 2014

graduation capI think we have just completed our last FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) — after six kids and 10 years. Pop the champagne cork!

I know families who are just beginning this process. Bless you, and before you start evaluating where your student will attend school or start a career, remember — not everyone should go to college. Not everyone is cut out for college. And kids can get great training for careers at career schools in a much shorter term. Here’s my take on teens and careers:

1.You know your child. Encourage, but don’t take over in decision making. Your teen has to figure it all out. Help, but remind yourself that next year the regimented school days will be over. Your teen has to figure out what and where they will be all day, every day for the next year and the year after that and then some. No one can predict the future, but you and your teen have to have a plan.

2It’s difficult to determine a career path at age 18. Kids don’t all learn to tie their shoes at a magic age. Career decisions are no different. Some kids just know what they want before they earn a high school diploma, but others change their minds. More than once — possibly for years.  You have to let them do it and support them.  When they change their minds — on schools, careers, jobs, classes — make them do the legwork. Don’t. Do. It. For. Them. Just don’t. Been there, done that with six kids. All but one kid changed career plans at least once. Let them do the research and move forward. Examples: Three changed majors, and one wanted to change schools. We told them all to go see advisers and find out what they would lose and what they would gain. And what it would cost. Success in all cases.

3. If you have an athlete looking at sports scholarships — be careful. Your teen needs to spend the next four years or more training for a career — not just advancing his or her high school sports career — unless they can turn it into a career. Most parents and kids make good choices — a school that matches career needs — not just athletic ability. But some folks lose sight of the career when the carrot of  reduced debt for four years is dangled as a huge benefit. And sometimes it’s not as huge as you might think. Make sure your teen is ready for the pressure of college and athletics — they’re not in high school anymore. Not all kids can handle it. There are wonderful success stories out there, but if your student signs up for an intense 5- or 6-year degree that will require year-round schooling, remember what the college goal is: a career.

4. College tuition, fees and room and board cost thousands of dollars per year. The lowest tuition might be under $10,000 per year, and if your teen lives at home, he or she might get out with $40,000 in debt in four years, but that’s not the norm. It’s usually more. And that’s just the tuition. College is serious business and serious debt. Many kids benefit from waiting a year to attend school or finding other careers that require career schools  – a much cheaper option than a 2-year or 4-year degree. Don’t think that college is a rite of passage and just let your teen sign up and see what happens. Be smart — have goals.

If you are stressing about your teen’s future, stop. Kids are amazing at figuring out things on their own with a little help from parents, teachers and others. Everyone needs guidance, but don’t go crazy with control. Enjoy watching your son or daughter become an adult. None of it is easy, but it’s so rewarding — especially when they’re working in careers they love. Sigh. We are almost there with all six. Your kids will do it, too. Just be patient.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one.  All six kids attended post-secondary education. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 22nd, 2013

arthurIn Kevin Cuneo’s column today, he writes that Marc Brown — famous Erieite who attended Millcreek schools and author of all the “Arthur” books and the PBS series – had written a letter to Erie friends to lobby the folks on the Millcreek Township School District board to retain arts in its curriculum. Kevin’s column is here.
The letter in its entirety is below:
Dear Millcreek friends,
As someone who was nurtured by the Millcreek school system, I was saddened and alarmed to hear that the Millcreek schools were considering eliminating the arts from the curriculum. In my opinion, this would be a tremendous loss for every student. Whether you’re naturally artistic or not, learning how to think creatively is a very important skill. The arts contribute to every child’s ability to use his or her imagination. Art is about inventing new ways of fitting things together: words, images, objects, processes, thoughts and history.
Growing up in Millcreek and watching my dad go to work everyday for the railroad was painful. Dislike for his job was palpable. But he filled his free time with creative pursuits, writing, architecture, gardening, researching and collecting antiques. This taught me an important lesson at a very young age. Find a job you love because it adds immeasurably to the quality of your life. By cutting the arts in Millcreek Schools, you are saying to many kids, who you are and what you want to be, isn’t important. You are removing a critical foundation that may lead to successful careers in the arts for many kids.
Not every child goes down the educational conveyor belt neatly nourished by the core curriculum. I was one of those kids. I don’t want to even imagine what might have happened to me without the ability to major in art at McDowell High School with Nancy Bryan as my teacher. And there are many other kids like me growing up in Millcreek today needing the arts in their educational process to make them the exceptional adults that they can become.
As I travel around the country speaking to children about my books I have the great opportunity to talk with teachers about their schools and their work. For many years now the things they report about what teaching has become is not encouraging. Since the reduction of art, music and drama in so many schools, accompanied by the testing requirements for government funding, our children are becoming robotic regurgitators of facts for test taking.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to keep the arts in our schools is outlined brilliantly by my friend, Harvard professor, Howard Gardner in his book, “MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES.” I urge every person who is in the position of eliminating the arts in schools to read this book. He outlines eight intelligences and writes very compellingly about the importance of integrated daily arts instruction. He explains the idea that people have eight intelligences (verbal-linguistic, mathematical-logical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist), and schools must use them all to help every child reach full potential.
My Millcreek education provided the arts foundation I needed to help build a successful career in the arts. It’s impossible to imagine Millcreek Schools withdrawing this critical component of a child’s education. If I were a student in your schools today, I would be very frightened about my future.
I’m hoping you’ll do the right thing for our children.


Marc Brown

Here’s a story Sean McCracken wrote in January about a visit Brown made to local schools. The photo below is of Marc Brown speaking in Fairview.

Author Marc Brown speaks to students at Fairview Elementary School and draws a creature from their suggestions on Wednesday, Jan. 23. SEAN McCRACKEN//ERIE TIMES-NEWS

Author Marc Brown speaks to students at Fairview Elementary School and draws a creature from their suggestions on Wednesday, Jan. 23. SEAN McCRACKEN//ERIE TIMES-NEWS

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times andHouse to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three — all graduates of McDowell High School.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 16th, 2013

nat'l library weekIt’s National Library week, and I remember great times with my kids at many of Erie’s public library locations. We often visited the West Erie Plaza branch, and we were regulars at the Blasco Library on the bayfront.

One celeb that most impresses me with what she has done in regard to reading is Honorary Chair of National Library Week Caroline Kennedy. She has visited schools, throughout the years, and started interesting high school groups with her own book “Poems to Learn by Heart.” Check out the video above.

In Erie, events at Blasco Library, 160 E. Front St., include: Ed Palattella and Jerry Clark (April 18, 7 p.m.); and Holly Jacobs and Nancy Kay (April 18, 2-3:30 p.m.); as well as Debbi Lyon and Sandy Sagala. Call or visit the library’s website for more information on Library Week schedule. Cost: Free. Info: 451-6927, www.erielibrary.org

Ken Springirth, local author of 20 books about railroads and trolley cars, wrote an article for the Erie Times-News that discusses the Darby Public Library, outside Philadelphia. It is the oldest continuously operating public library in the U.S. His article also discusses that the Erie Public Library’s roots on Perry Square date back to Feb. 16, 1899. Read his entire article here.

We went to the library for books, vidoes and much more. Whatever you do this week, grab a few minutes at one of the branches of the public library. I guarantee you will return.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three and stepmom to three. 


Posted in: Uncategorized