Gladstone schools plan speaker series

GLADSTONE — A monthly speaker series covering prevalent topics ranging from financial aid to mental health will be a new occurrence next school year at the Gladstone High School.

The GHS Partnering with Parents speaker series will allow parents of Gladstone High School students opportunities to be more involved and team up with the school in making sure students have the means to be successful.

“So we have nine different nights that we’re going to try hosting. We are going to call it GHS Partnering with Parents. And what we want to be able to do is just have parents being able to have a voice and know that we are going to work with them no matter what. That’ll be also a time when they can be asking questions and we can be answering questions for them,” said Andrew Jacques, the assistant principal and athletic director at the high school.

This initiative came about through Superintendent Jay Kulbertis and Jacques sitting down with parents brainstorming ways to continuously improve the school environment.

For the GHS Partnering with Parents series, each month will have a different topic and speakers relevant to those topics. The event will be in the high school auditorium at around 6 p.m. and last about an hour.

Jacques said the specific dates for each event aren’t scheduled yet. He said he plans on sitting down with the speakers to figure out the dates that works best for them in the summer.

Although the schedule is tentative at this moment, the topics are not.

The first event will take place in September with the focus on an introduction to Gladstone High School.

“So we are going to be talking about a number of things. We want all of our kids to be involved in something so we are going to be talking about clubs, we’re going to be talking about activities, we’re going to be talking about just things that they can be involved in,” Jacques said.

He explained the first speaker event will also cover topics of the Gladstone High School handbook, dress code, school events like homecoming and prom, and tutoring services.

“This is really lending itself to a lot of our Freshmen parents, that it’s their first time in the building,” Jacques said.

October is geared more towards senior parents, as the topic is on financial aid.

Jacques explained the night will be an opportunity for parents to learn about college and what’s needed for their students when it comes to applying for financial aid. For speakers, Jacques said Jessica LaMarch from Bay College and Jeffyn Herioux, the high school counselor, will be speaking at the event.

September will be about about colleges, different programs at different colleges and applying for scholarships. Jacques said Bay College will be represented there and he is working towards getting more colleges to attend.

The speaker event for December will be about the services victim advocates from the Delta County Prosecutor’s office provides for the students at Gladstone High School.

“They have helped a number of our students, but what they want to be able to do is have a night where they talk about a number of things,” Jacques said. Topics ranging from bullying to harassment to sexual assault would be covered.

They want to be able to explain to the parents and to the kids what they provide and what they can provide for the kids, said Jacques. He said the goal of that night is to show parents and students there are people out there to help in certain situations.

For January, Jacques said he has talked with Det. Sgt. Aaron Quinlan of Gladstone Public Safety and Michigan State Police Community Service Trooper Dale Hongisto to speak about a wide range of technology-based topics.

Quinlan would speak on cyber-bullying and apps parents should know about and look out for. While Hongisto would speak on vaping and sexting.

February would cover the topic of healthy lifestyle choices.

“What you can do to provide your kids with a healthy lifestyle, and not only your kids, but yourself,” Jacques said.

For March, Gladstone High School would partner with the local Mental Health Task Force to cover topics like brain trauma, suicide and depression.

An event that already occurs in April is mock interviews. To go along with the mock interview event, April’s speaker would be about summer hiring opportunities.

“We want to invite a lot of our community business owners that are looking for summer help and then have our kids come in and actually interview for the positions,” Jacques said. He explained it would be a great way for businesses to meet the kids before hiring and for the kids to use the skills they learned with the mock interviews.

The last scheduled speaker would occur in May and would cover K9 demonstrations from the Michigan State Police Gladstone Post.

“With that demonstration, they’re going to have the K9 dog here and they’ll be able to inform not only our kids but our community on what the K9 does, what it can do and the fact they’re so essential to have in our force,” Jacques said. He explained this event will also be a way to help show the community how another K9 officer in Gladstone would be beneficial, especially as the Gladstone Public Safety Department is actively trying to raise funds for one.

Although the new program is still in the planning stage, there is an overall excitement within the school’s staff and the speakers approached so far.

“We’re excited about it. It’s just really my goal to get more parents in the building and be able to be a partner with them to make their kids successful in life,” Jacques said.