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SHMS Parents Make a Commitment to Student Success

Westminster Public Schools (WPS) celebrated 62 parents on Thursday, Dec. 7, who completed its nine-week Parent Academy for Student Success (PASS) at Shaw Heights Middle School. Among this semester's graduates, more than half (36) of the parents also had perfect attendance – which was evident by the number of families represented at the event. See photos from the event online here!

“We’re truly putting our parents in the drivers seat in terms of supporting their kids at school,” said Sandy Steiner, director of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness in WPS. According to Steiner, the program has met and exceeded the goals set by her team a year ago. 

“The participation we are starting to see from our parents is inspiring because this program was designed to allow families an avenue to connect with their school principals and counselors to get their questions answered,” said Steiner. “We are also starting to see a pattern that the parents who attend PASS are becoming more empowered and involved at not only their schools, but are also showing up for other district events.”

PASS is based on the nationally recognized 30-year Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) program from California. During the nine-week PASS program, parents learn about a variety of skills and topics on how to support their students as they progress towards post-secondary education. Topics include how to better communicate with their children, registering for the right classes beginning in middle school, as well as financial aid and the options available to students in high school to begin preparing them for life after graduation. 

“Our goal is to make connection with our parents beginning in middle school so that they can begin getting involved in their child’s education when it matters most,” said Whitney Allen, PASS program coordinator. “We equip our parents with the information they need to not only better support their children, but also with the options their kids have in high school that can save their families money as they look toward college.” 

This was the second semester for the PASS program, which saw 87 parents complete the inaugural course held at Scott Carpenter Middle School last May. See photos and watch the video of the first PASS graduation event online here. According to Allen, the popularity of the program continues to grow among families across the district, especially among dads. 

“I’m impressed the amount of dads we had this semester, which reinforced the commitment our families have to their students’ success,” added Allen. “Watching the parents light up when they learn that they really can do some tangible things right away to support their kids, and seeing that they are thirsty to know how they can better support their kids is what makes our district so unique.”

The third PASS cohort will begin in March 2018 at Westminster High School. Classes will be offered in both English and Spanish, and all WPS families are invited to attend. The nine-week courses will be held at a different school every semester, with the goal of bringing the program to every school community across the district over the next six years. 

For more information on the PASS program and to enroll, visit