U-High Home Page


Parent Support Network

The Parent Support Network is a committee which facilitates and communicates educational events for parents on a variety of topics on issues parents of teens face.  They host a parent social at the beginning of the year, as well as sponsor assemblies for students and parents each spring.

The Parent Support Network is hosting an event at the U-High Library on Wednesday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. featuring guest speaker Amie Majernik

"Never pursue an emotional distancer". This is a fundamental concept in couples counseling.  I have been a therapist for 24 years and learned that this concept also holds true for the parent/teenager relationship, as well. My presentation will focus on ways to improve communication and emotional connection in families. In addition, we will talk about the concept of emotional intelligence and how both parents and teens can increase their own and better understand each other.
Amie Majernik

Amie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor of Balanced LLC in Normal, Illinois.  She earned a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Illinois State University and is certified through the Department of Children and Family Services as a Child Welfare Specialist.

Amie has experience helping individuals, families and groups to develop strategies to cope with and overcome issues including:

  • Behavior disorders
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety, depressing and mood disorders
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Family and parenting
  • Balancing professional and personal responsibilities
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Stress
  • Negative thoughts affecting self-esteem and well-being

Come, join us for this informative event. By connecting, we learn from each other to help our kids succeed.

The Parent Support Network hosted a session in the U-High Library on October 25 with guest speakers John Davenport, Dean of Students - ISU and Karla Carney-Hall - IWU .


John Davenport

  • Some days your students will be more independent than others
  • Parents know their children best and are the best mentor.
  • Believe it or not, kids really care what their parents think of them. Parents have a great deal of influence.
  • Although they don't act like they care, your values and conversations with your student does sink in, but they don’t like to admit it.
  • Everybody has a plan until they are faced with a difficult decision. There is not a plan for everything.
  • There is a cottage industry that is marketing the top ten things you’ve got to do to prepare for college. You need to focus on who you are and what you bring to the table. Choose the things they are passionate about. Where do my skills meet the world’s needs?
  • Encourage students to be involved in activities that allow them to be inter-dependent. Give and take in a group environment. The emphasis is collaborative working environments. At first, groups working on a project will create a type of "Franken-paper" were each students just do two of ten pages. With experience, students need to learn to work collaborative, structured environment. Easy to take orders, but when they are peers and have to priorities, and assign, figure out a plan to solve. Strong leaders are people who work toward a common goal. It’s frustrating, but important. Problem solving as a team sets the students apart and help them get the internships.
  • Teach them the difference between problem solving and avoidance. Avoidance means no dialogue or creating a shared experience. Problem solving strengthens relationships and creates success.
  • For example, conflicts might occur when students go to college and have to share a small room. It's a little easier today since kids have the ability to use social media to learn about their future roommates.
  • Role model for the kids. How much are you as a parent on social media? How do you handle conflict? Do you avoid or do you problem solve?
  • Employers understand what activities are in college and students need to be able to articulate what they have done. Kids need to talk about people and who they know, making friends. They are not engaging. We as parents need to set the example and not be on our phones all the time.
  • Students need to grow accustomed to asking questions. They need to practice asking questions on a regular basis until it becomes muscle memory. Don’t wait. Be willing to go to the tutor or advisor.
  • Failure is a growth opportunity. Students cannot be afraid to fail. It is how they are going to grow. Don't overly protect your student because you are afraid of what will happen to their GPA or self esteem. Take risks (obviously reasonable risks) and when you fail, learn and grow.
  • Use the parent support network to get to know how the college application process!

Karla Carney-Hall

  • Tagging on to what John was discussing, you (parents) are the most influential person in the student’s life
  • When they are going to school, what have you done as a parent to make sure they are ready to be independent?
  • Inter-dependence with other people is the goal after a time of independence
  • When it comes to things like good health and spiritual / mental wellbeing; parents are the greatest influencer
  • As you send your children off to college and greater independence, have you talked to them about the basics such as; how to do laundry; financial literacy; consent with sexual assault?
  • When applying for college or a job, gather the experiences that let you tell a story. Tell a story about what you love, not just what you did. A resume with action verbs, but no story is not appealing.(work ethic, committed to customer service); telling the story with a passion makes the difference
  • Internships is becoming a must-do for employers in order to get a full time employment. Employers are hiring interns. Work ethic,, experience in the corporate environment.
  • On the topic of problem solving, practice at home so the students can apply what they learn when they go to college / get a job. The family is a group just like the classroom or workplace. Parents can help kids see how group problem solving can occur. Coach the kids on how they negotiate.
  • Conflict management. Most kids have their own rooms. When they get to college, they have to learn to share a room with another student. Learn how to ask your roommate to change their habits. Persuade, problem solve, and conflict resolution.
  • The ability to ask for help. Just because you are high-achieving, that does not mean you should not ask for help.
  • B students who move to A’s are the students who ask for help.
  • Resilience and grit and persistence. Dig deep and slog through the challenge. Students have been protected from overcoming loses. Kids are buffered from set-backs. When you stumble, get back up. Everybody stumbles, it’s about getting back up. How do they rebound from failure and are they getting the skills to rebound. The first really bad grade, how do they respond? The student’s identity has been destroyed. Let them fail, it is a valuable life lesson. Don’t fix it for them, just understand how to get through it and adjust. Ok to put them in positions where they will fail.
  • Most students go to pre-med because they are good at science. But do you love it event when it’s hard.
  • Students believe their parents are wrapped in their goals. Students are worried that we will make the parent look bad if they change their goal.
  • Begin with the end in mind. What does success look like? How do they define success? Giving back to the community? Raising a family comfortably? Sometimes it’s good to have the kids tell you what they believe success should look like.

Join us for the next Parent Support Network Event on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the U-High Library featuring Jim Yarbrough and Ryan Case to discuss "Safe & Secure Online - for Parents".

Social media, online transactions, electronically stored financial information, virtual payments from mobile phones, web-based home protection systems, etc.; all have become a natural part of our lives. We don't give these activities much thought until we hear about someone who has had their identity stolen or kids who have been bullied on the latest app. Join us for this event where Jim and Ryan will discuss tips and insights to protect you and your family from threats.

Jim Yarbrough has been working in the information systems and technology industry for 35 years, with 25 of those years being focused on Information Security. He holds several credentials including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC).

Ryan Case is an IT Architect with a several professional designations (MBA, CISSP, CRISC, CISMS) and also has a number year of experience working in the information security field. Ryan has led large teams for various organizations specifically focused on Information Security Risk. Ryan has spoken at international and domestic conferences as a subject matter expert on a variety of topics. He participates actively in youth mentoring on the topic through the STEM programs made available locally.

Review handouts for the following:
· Cyberbullying
· Social Media
· Passwords
· Parent Top Tips
· Online Gaming
· Glossary

ISC2 Safe and Secure Online – Parents:

PC Magazine: The Best Parental Control Software of 2017:,2817,2346997,00.asp

Techradar: The best free parental control software 2017:

Cerberus (mentioned by Ashish):

The Parent Support Network reminds you to mark your calendars for a special event on Wednesday, April 12 at 8:00 p.m., Illinois State University is sponsoring guest speaker John Trautwein, Found of The Will to Live Foundation, Inc. He is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who lost his son Will to suicide in 2010. John will focus on what he learned as a grieving parent who was unaware of eth issues that faced his child and still burden millions of teens today. The event is open to the public and all are welcome.

2/15/2017 - "Communicating with Your Teenager"with Amie Majernik
Download presentation: Presentation

The Parent Support Network hosted a Student Athlete Information Night on November 2, 2016 featuring Richard and Wilma Bates, parents of The Ohio State University basketball player Keita Bates-Diop; Dr. Bob Fitzgerald head coach during Keita's University High School basketball career and Cindy Harris from the Illinois State University Compliance / Student Services.

Highlights from the discussion are as follows;

  • There is no secret formula to achieve Division I, II, or III level athletic ability. The player's level will find them.
  • Your relationship with the coach is key. Richard and Wilma understood this objective and focused on Keita becoming a part of the U-High family, not that the team or coach needed to work around his talent.

Coach Fitzgerald offered this advice when preparing a student for athletics;

  • Work with your coach regardless of what level your son or daughter is playing. Having a good relationship between the school coach and travel team coach is key as well.
  • Be realistic in assessing the athlete's level of talent. Be objective and not emotional about their potential.
  • Be open and honest with the coach. Talk to the coach about your hopes and dreams. Work with the coach to figure out plans to be recruited. Trust is the key.
  • Stay in control of the attention the player is receiving.

It is very competitive to achieve Division I or II level athletics. Richard offered that the recruiting coaches look at;

  • How hard do they play?
  • What positions do they play?
  • What kind of individual are they (character)?
  • Parents must be engaged and help the child develop fundamental skills and build a strong relationship with the coach.

- Cindy Harris discussed the academic requirements for Division I and II athletics. (Note: Division III does not offer athletic scholarships, so no requirements needed)
- All of the requirements discussed in the meeting can be found at the following website:

Depression and Suicide Awareness for Parents
Notes and Handouts from discussion

Social Media and Cyber-Security Awareness on February 18th, 2016
Notes and Handouts from discussion

How to get your High School Student into College in 4 years or less on March 21, 2016
Notes and Handouts from discussion

April 19, 2016 Presentation Links
Notes and Handouts from discussion

Car Pool Exchange Form

University High School
500 W Gregory St
Normal, Il 61790-7100

Tel: 309-438-8346
Fax: 438-5198
Contact Us