Parent Education Resources

The Indian Creek School Parent Teacher Organization partners with the School to provide a variety of resources for parents throughout the year. The group sponsors several Parent Education Sessions, and also maintains a library of helpful books, videos, articles, and websites about child development.

2016-17 Parent Education Sessions

A Special Night of Parent Education 

Thursday, April 27, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Crownsville Campus

Sponsored by the PTO Parent Education Committee in partnership with Indian Creek School’s Office of Equity and Inclusion

There will be two tracks, with two 40 minute sessions in each track:

6:30-7:10 p.m.:
Building Resilience with the Halcyon Wellness Center 

Preparing our students at home and in the classroom to be resilient as 21st century learners Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12.

Equity and Inclusion in the Classroom Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 with Indian Creek faculty members Barbara Oglesbee, Todd Kerr and Kate Fitzgerald 

How Equity and Inclusion is incorporated day-to-day into Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 classes.

7:20-8:00 p.m.:
Parenting and Courageous Conversations with the Halcyon Wellness Center and Indian Creek teacher Jamor Gaffney

How to parent the 21st century learner and have courageous conversations to keep the doors of communication open. A courageous conversation is defined by those having the conversation depending on the issues they find difficult to discuss. A courageous conversation can create an atmosphere of patient listening that blends the elements of empathy and truth thus facilitating a deeper communication. For example, what do I do when my child and her friend compare test scores or talk about how small someone’s house is? Do I shut it down or listen? How do I get my student to do their homework when they get home without promising a reward?

Is It Kind? Is it True? Is it Necessary? Neuroscience and Diversity with Lorraine Martinez Hanley 

Neuroscientists (like John Medina and Carol Dweck) have found that a student’s environment can significantly impact their academic growth. Come learn how ICS uses innovative neuroscientific research to help our educators and students maximize learning and how we include institutional best practices, teach empathy, build self-confidence and affirm student identities in our community every day.

Please RSVP to

Coffee & Conversation Series: 

Social Thinking

Wednesday, May 3, 8:15 - 9:00 a.m.
Evergreen Campus Research Center

Presenter: Lynn Moran-Grap, Speech Language Pathologist

Lynn Moran-Grap will be sharing how she uses the Social Thinking program to teach children to share space effectively with others, take another’s perspective, strengthen self-regulation, and improve relationships with peers and adults.
Lynn received her master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Towson University in 1984. She has worked with students from the ages of 18 months through 21 years with a variety of receptive, expressive, social language and/or reading weaknesses in public and private schools. Currently, Lynn is in her 21st year at Indian Creek School as a private contractor.

Previous Coffee & Conversation Sessions:

Mindfulness at ICS

Friday, February 3, 8:15-9:00 a.m.
Presenter: Cindy Maxted

Raising Resilient Children: A compassionate and practical approach to prompting a healthy mindset

Thursday, March 2, 8:15 - 9:00 a.m.
Presenter: Dr. Duane Isava

Parent Education Saturday Symposium

Saturday, November 5, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

The PTO Parent Education Committee cordially invites you to a day of parent education workshops on Saturday, November 5, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Both our own Indian Creek experts and outside guest speakers will present on topics including brain development, social media, the power of parent to prevent substance abuse, and others. This is an all school event, with some topics begin split to provide age appropriate conversations. Look for more information to follow.

2015-16 Parent Education Sessions

How Children Succeed

Dr. Rick Branson led a parent discussion on Thursday, May 19, based on Paul Tough’s book, How Children Succeed, which explores research that reveals some interesting and surprising reasons for success. Before the meeting, parents were encouraged to read Tough’s book, described as:

Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.”

The parent group, led by Dr. Branson, discussed topics such as optimism, the pros and cons of “grit,” the positive side of failure, and transference of character traits across disciplines (such as, “Can grit learned through athletics transfer to the classroom?”) A good portion of the discussion centered on the need to let our kids fail in positive ways. As Tough describes in his book, failure should not be viewed as an end, but rather a beginning. One of the hardest jobs of a parent is walking the line between successful failure and permanent failure -letting kids fail enough that they learn perseverance and helping them learn how to recover from failure. The way in which a setback is handled can also impact the level of optimism when faced with future challenges. Parents were advised to consider what traits we would like our children to embody at the age of 35, then take that end goal, and plan for how to get them there through the years that we have with them.

Dr. Branson’s initial question, however, might be one of the most important to ask ourselves as parents:“What do you do that is a passion of yours? Where do you spend your time that shows your grit and drive?” We, as parents, often get wrapped up on work and the lives of our kids and forget about our own development. When we model for our kids the benefits of a passion well followed, they learn invaluable tools that will help them develop their own grit.

For more information on actionable ways to instill grit, check out these two articles:

What Is Grit, Why Kids Need It, and How You Can Foster It,” by Jenny Williams

The Power of Defeat: How to Raise a Kid With Grit,” by Jennifer Fink


Social Media

The ICS Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) Education Committee invites you to a Social Media discussion on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

  • Focusing on students in Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grades:Evergreen Campus Cafeteria, 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m. 
  • Focusing on students in Ninth through Twelfth Grades: Upper School Auditorium, 5:00 p.m.

Are you the parent of teens who know more than you about the hows and whys of social media? Are you the parent of preteens or young children and are interested in learning more about which social media forums are age appropriate (or inappropriate)?

If you answered yes to either of these questions or you find Social Media a parental challenge, then please join us.

At the Evergreen campus, ICS Parent and National Non-Profit Social Media Director LaShaun Martin will be our main presenter. Middle School Computer Science faculty member Aubrey Matulevich and Director of Communications Tiffany McCormick will be on hand to help guide the conversation.

At the Upper School Campus, Wes Adams, State’s Attorney for Anne Arundel County will educate us on the dangers that lurk online including cyber bullying, the permanency of information posted online, sexting, and appropriate and inappropriate online relationships. Associate Head and Dean of Students Matt McCormick will also be on hand to answer questions.

The Power of Parents in Preventing Substance Abuse

Amanda Larkins, Prevention Education Coordinator from Pathways Treatment Center, presented information on current drug trends, prevention strategies, and progression from teenage partying to teenage addict. The presentation and open discussion with the audience gave parents many insights into helping to prevent substance abuse, ways to recognize risky behaviors, and tips for parents to empower themselves.

Some of the key takeaways from the presentation include:

•    Educate yourself. Do you know the “nicknames” of popular teen drugs? Do you know the signs of addiction or risky behavior? Do you have all passwords to social media accounts and/or devices and check in on their texts and accounts regularly? Without staying current on the latest trends, you are less likely to help prevent problems. If you see a word in a text or hear them say one that you don’t recognize, use Urban Dictionary to see if it is a code word for a drug. (Click here to view a list of resources recommended by Ms. Larkins)

•      Be your children’s parent, not their friend. While we strive to be there for our children and have open lines of communication, the key to keeping them safe is to set ground rules and boundaries and follow through on consequences when your child violates the rules. They may hate you in the moment, but it is critical for their safety. Also, be aware that stress and academic or athletic pressure can often lead to addiction in teens. Focus on helping your child develop coping strategies before there are issues so that they have a way to cope other than turning to drugs and alcohol. General counseling, even before any issues begin, is often a good idea for busy teens so that they have a safe place to talk and learn coping skills.

•      Communicate effectively. Start conversations early and have them frequently! 93% of teens say that their parents are their greatest influence. You have the power to help your kids stay away from risky behavior, but not without frequent and open dialogue. Look for teachable moments when your kids are young and discuss more details as they get older. This is not a “one and done” conversation. Share facts and make sure your child understands the dangers. It is almost as important, however, to do role playing and prepare your child for situations. They should have a clear plan of what to do if they are offered drugs or alcohol. Help them develop a script of what to say—excuses to have at the ready so that they don’t have to think of one in the moment. You should also develop a code word that they can text you if they are in trouble and need help—use texting to your advantage! The code word should be a “no questions asked” ticket to get home safely, but follow up with a conversation the next day about what happened. If they were part of a bad situation, they still need consequences, but allow them to choose the consequence—they are likely to be harder on themselves than you would be and it empowers them to be a part of the conversation.

•      Be a positive role model and promote positive behaviors. Kids are likely to follow the modeling set by their parents, so make sure your actions match your words.

•      Create a network of parents. Get to know the parents of your child’s friends. Work with them to create an environment where all of the children are safe. The more you and other parents communicate, the less likely it will be that unsupervised parties or risky behaviors will take place.

•      If you have family history of addiction, it is much more likely that your child will develop one. Be open and honest with them about this, because it may take only ONE time to flip on addiction in your child’s brain and then they are battling it for life!

•      Heroin and Opiate addiction have risen dramatically in recent years. They often happen following the use of recreational drugs such as alcohol and marijuana or following injuries that require prescription pain medication. Click here for a detailed look at how to prevent heroin addiction and click here for the symptoms and signs to identify opiate use.

•      Marijuana legalization has created additional addiction concerns. Click here for a summary of a report on the effects of legalization, click here for the report itself, and visit for more information on the health effects and legal issues of marijuana.

•      Finally, if you have family members who are struggling with addiction, the main thing you need to do is learn how to care for yourself. Pathways offers a Family Wellness Workshop for family members of adults or adolescents with substance use disorders. It is a therapeutic and educational program that equips family members with communication skills, relapse prevention strategies, and coping mechanisms. Click here for a flyer with more information and session dates.


Conscious Discipline

Conscious Discipline integrates social-emotional learning, discipline, and self-regulation to enable parents and teachers to spend less time policing behaviors and more time teaching vital life skills. Conscious Discipline is a longtime leader in integrating classroom management and social-emotional learning through neuroscience. Indian Creek began using techniques from this program in classes several years ago and has since embraced Conscious Discipline in all Lower School classes.

Last year, we provided a parent workshop to teach additional information on these skills and techniques. This November, we offered another Conscious Discipline session on Choices and The Power of Free Will. For those of you interested in learning more about Conscious Discipline, there are two ways to get more information. First, click on the links below to get details on the science behind Conscious Discipline, access resources, and find links to purchase books. Secondly, the school has a complete set of videos that are used for training on Conscious Discipline, one of which was used in November to discuss choices and free will. The videos are available to view independently at the school during the school day using the Research Lab (when time allows) or your own laptop (must have a disk drive). While the CDs may not leave the school building, you may contact Head of Lower School Amy Benson to make an appointment to view them at the school.

Links for more information:

The Theoretical and Scientific basis of Conscious Discipline

Summary of Conscious Discipline Skills and Strategies

Link for Parent Resources on the Conscious Discipline website

Links to purchase book on Conscious Discipline

Viewing guides that go with the video series at the school

Fostering Independence,” Breakfast with Branson Education Session

Head of School Rick Branson met with parents on Thursday, October 22for a conversation about teaching student resiliency, perseverance, self-advocacy and self-management and the role Indian Creek School and parents play in fostering environments where students take academic responsibility.

Articles discussed at the “Fostering Independence” Education Session:

Former Stanford Dean Explains Why Helicopter Parenting is Ruining a Generation of Children,” by Emma Brown, The Washington Post

Six Ways for Parents to Teach Kids about Grit,” by Jessica Smock, The Huffington Post

Back To School: Why Grit is More Important Than Good Grades,” by Paul Tough, Time Magazine

Suicide on Campus and the Pressure of Perfection,” by Julie Scelfo, New York Times

Read more about this Breakfast with Branson session here.


2014-15 Parent Education Sessions

  •  Breakfast with Branson, “What is School For?”

Thursday, November 20, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. in the Evergreen Campus Cafeteria


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