Classes, child care offered at Northside
LAFAYETTE — At least a dozen students have applied for a new parenting program offered by the Lafayette Parish school system, according to school administrators.
The program provides parenting classes and on-campus child care as a way to prevent teen parents from dropping out of school, said June Inhern, the school system’s assistant director of early child education.
Classes for the program, housed at Northside High School, start Jan. 13.
Inhern said 10 of the 12 students enrolled already attend Northside, while the two others are zoned for Acadiana and Carencro.
The program has a spot for 16 students and 16 children, however, one of the mothers has twins, so student enrollment for this year may be capped at 15 pending delivery dates for some of the expectant mothers, Inhern said.
Inhern said 17 teen girls expressed strong interest in the program, but as of this week, only 12 had turned in the necessary application to start classes next month. The district is still accepting applications.
“I think the interest is there and it will grow once we open and they can come to visit,” Inhern said.
The goal of the program is to promote education, Inhern said.
She said at least one of the 12 students in the program had dropped out of school when she was pregnant, and decided to re-enroll because of the program.
Students in the program take their academic coursework at Northside, and the parenting classes serve as electives that can lead to certification and jobs in child care.
The district had pitched the program to the School Board with 32 spots for students and their children. That was cut to 16 spots after School Board members rejected the $205,000 needed to renovate two portable buildings for the program.
The board later approved about $100,000 to renovate one portable building for the program.
Inhern said renovations to set up the child-care center are still underway. Following those preparations, the center faces a child-care center licensing visit from the state.
“We hope to start offering child care by the end of January,” Inhern said.