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A dietician from Centennial Medical Center discussed exercise and nutrition with FISD parents.

A new program is helping teens and their parents grow together as a family.

The Frisco ISD Student and Parent Empowerment Program is open to all FISD middle and high school students and their parents.

Participants meet one Saturday morning a month for sessions on leadership, responsibility, goal setting, success after graduation and more.

“I just wanted to expose him to different topics,” said Karen Shaffer, whose son is a junior in high school. “He spends so much time on algebra and physics. This is more life skills.”

Parent Sean Barron decided to attend with his eighth grade son, because he hasn’t been involved in Boy Scouts like his older brothers.

“He was missing out on a lot of the life lessons and my wife and I thought this would be a good chance for him to learn values and respect,” Barron said. “It’s been very worthwhile.”

The program, which kicked off in October, has already evolved based on student and parent feedback. It aims to enrich the lives of children and give parents a toolbox for helping their kids navigate middle school, high school and beyond.

“This is a free opportunity for students and parents to come together, learn something new and discuss real-life topics,” said Dr. Larry Lewis, FISD coordinator of student achievement and involvement. “We want to provide lifelong skills for our students and empower parents to be the best that they can be.”

Educators work with local businesses, community organizations and volunteers to develop and plan each session.

In January, an economics teacher from Lone Star High School shared information about personal finance and the importance of learning how to save money at a young age.

A dietician from Centennial Medical Center discussed exercise, nutrition and how to make smart choices. Families left with a fitness challenge: eat two healthy meals together as a family each week and work out together for 2.5 hours each week until May.

Each Saturday combines interactive activities with real-life experiences and open dialogue.

“It’s really an extra level of support for whatever you’re dealing with,” Shaffer said. “It’s more sharing than an instructional thing and it’s nice to know that there are other families out there going through some of the same things.”

Plus, parents say, it’s great for teens to get advice from adults who aren’t their parents.

“Sometimes mom and dad are the last ones they want to listen to,” Barron said. “It’s nice for someone with authority in a specific field or in education to deliver a certain message instead of mom and dad.”

Parent Paige Northen says one activity helped her eighth grade daughter earn her first-ever A on a math test.

“It was all about breaking through the things that are holding you back and having the ability to believe in what you can do,” she said. “If students apply what they’re learning here, I believe it’s going to be life changing for them, I really do.”

Frisco ISD hopes the benefits will pay off now and into the future.

“We hope to improve the relationships and communication within the family and help put students on the path to a happy and successful life,” Lewis said. “If we can make a difference for one student and one family, it’s all worth it.”

Get Involved

  • The FISD Student and Parent Empowerment Program will continue to be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Student Opportunity Center, 6928 Maple Street, on select Saturdays during the 2013-2014 school year. Make plans to attend on the following dates:
    • February 15 – Mobile App Development 
    • March 22 – Building Healthy Family Relationships at Camp Wisdom, Duncanville, Texas
    • April 26– Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Day
    • May 17 – Summer Learning through Summer Fun
  • For more information, contact FISD Coordinator of Student Achievement and Involvement Larry Lewis at or 469-633-6594.
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