WUFT News

Bradford teen parents, students offered parenting course

By on April 8th, 2013

Bradford County educators may have discovered a way to counteract the high dropout rate of teen parents in the area.

Cindy DeValerio, coordinator of early childhood education at The Rainbow Center preschool facility, said she and a number of other teachers saw a need to address the issue in the community.

In 1990, DeValerio headed a teen-parenting program allowing teen moms to attend school with their children in one location. She found the classroom model worked best when teens attended regular high school while their children attended daycare across the street.

At Bradford High School or Bradford Middle School, teen mothers can visit their children while learning parenting skills during the afternoon after their academic courses have finished. The students earn elective credit for the Parenting 1 and Parenting 2 courses that last one full academic year.

“It’s not easy (being a parent), at all,” said Lacey Jewell, a 17-year-old teen mother in the program. “But I wouldn’t change it for nothing in the world.”

Qiana Jackson, a former teen mother in the program and current nursery teacher at The Rainbow Center, encourages teen parents to strive for success.

“If you are in school and your child is in school, you want to go,” said Jackson. “It’s like your child pushes you to go. So don’t ever give up. Just always reach for your goals because that’s just what people want to see, they want to see you fail. And that’s the main thing you can’t give people.”

Eight teen mothers are enrolled in the courses this year. DeValerio said mothers who participate in the program have a 100 percent high school graduation rate.

The course is open to pregnant teens, teens who already have children, teen fathers and students who don’t have children who want to learn parenting skills.

According to a Florida KIDS COUNT 2009 report, births to unwed mothers under age 20 in Bradford County total to 11.5 percent.  In 2011, there were about 52 births per 1,000 female teenagers ages 15 to 19 in the county.

In 2010, Florida ranked 29 out of 51 states and the District of Columbia in teen births among females ages 15 to 19 (1 being the highest rate and 51 being the lowest rate), according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health.

“Sadly enough, I can tell you that our rates are usually higher than many other counties in the state,” DeValerio said. “I attribute some of that to us being a rural, very low-income community with not a lot of extra things for our students to do. We have a wonderful high school. We have a wonderful vocational center. We have lots of churches, but we don’t really have a lot of other extracurricular things for high school ages of children.”

The program is affiliated with the Bradford County School Board.  The daycare center then allocates funds for the teen-parenting program. Private donations and church groups also provide funding and items such as diapers,  DeValerio said.


This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • suppo

    Great story. Much needed in today’s society so that young folk can be successful in this world and provide for their children.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BCTelegraph Mark Crawford

    52,000 is more than twice the county’s population. Perhaps that is the total number of births for the state?

  • Jack Ross

    Obama reminds me of a crazed lunatic.

 

More Stories in Education

Waiting for author to email caption w/ names

Eastside High School Culinary Team Wins Sixth Place In National Competition

Students of Eastside High School’s Institute of Culinary Arts competed in the National Prostart Invitational in Anaheim, California, hosted by the National Restaurant Association. The team came in sixth place.


**Tenley was emailed to verify that she made this. Credit it accordingly once she responds.**

Two Years After Grant Ends, Alachua County Schools See Little Improvement

Alachua County schools received a $2 million grant five years ago. Three of the schools that benefited greatly from the money haven’t seen much improvement in their school grades.


Students at Stephen Foster Elementary School learn the basics of nutrition education from retired University of Florida dietetics professor Dr. Pam McMahon. Kids in the Kitchen is a county wide program sponsored by the Department of Children and Families, UF and the USDA. Photo courtesy of Bailey Bruce / Foster Elementary Afterschool Coordinator.

New Program Hopes To Bring Nutritional Education To Elementary Schools

Stephen Foster Elementary School is the first elementary school to participate in Kids in the Kitchen, a program that teaches students about nutritional food options and food preparation. The program was started by Pamela McMahon, Ph.D., a retired University of Florida faculty member and registered dietician.


Screen Shot

UF Students Welcome Bill Proposing Tax-Free Textbooks

A new law in Florida could help students save money on expensive textbooks. The bill looks to eliminate the sales tax from textbooks to give students a break on the hundreds they already spend on required texts.


Students at Sante Fe College have opportunities to seek baccalaureate degrees in many areas of study. Santa Fe is one of 28 state colleges in Florida, which offer a combined 175 baccalaureate degree programs.

Four-Year Degree Limitation Proposed By State Senator Sparks Debate

Senator Joe Negron proposed to limit baccalaureate programs in Florida community colleges in a recent Senate Higher Education Committee. Santa Fe provost Ed Bonahue argues that the attention should be placed on enrollment, not the programs.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments