Around Campus

Parent University

Parent University, which was started by Dr. Abram in 2016, is an annual parent and guardian education series for the entire Seattle community to come together around relevant topics about raising children in today’s society. This year’s conference, held on April 30, took place in person on Bush’s campus for the first time since 2019.
Kelly Cundiff can tell you from personal experience the emotions behind seeing a child struggle and not knowing exactly how to help. A parent of a recent Bush graduate of the Class of 2022, Kelly witnessed firsthand the role the pandemic has played in youths’ mental health the past few years. 

“Our kids were really hit hard by the pandemic and all the social-emotional challenges they have faced during this time,” Kelly said. “And I know there are hundreds of reasons that it is hard to find help: our systems are stressed, there is more need than there are services, and not everyone has fair access.”

So when Bush Head of School Percy L. Abram approached Kelly about organizing the annual Parent University Conference, dedicated to the topic of youth mental health, she didn’t hesitate to say yes. 
“I thought it would be a great way to express my gratitude for the truly amazing help we were eventually able to get, and I knew it would be a timely forum for sharing some of the things we’ve learned with you, our wonderful community,” said Kelly, who served as the Chair of the event. 

Parent University, which was started by Dr. Abram in 2016, is an annual parent and guardian education series for the entire Seattle community to come together around relevant topics about raising children in today’s society. This year’s conference, held on April 30, took place in person on Bush’s campus for the first time since 2019, with seven speakers addressing issues and topics ranging from gender diversity, tools and strategies parents/ guardians can use when their kids and teens are experiencing anxiety, the importance of culturally responsive mental health services for youth of color, and many more. 

“Parent University’s focus on adolescent mental health came at a critical time in our students’ lives,” Dr. Abram said. “As they slowly emerge from the pandemic and weigh such pressing and germane issues like climate change, the war in Ukraine, and the increases in anxiety and substance abuse among their peers, we were honored that so many local experts in the area of adolescent development partnered with The Bush School to help uncover some of the issues our children are dealing with and to work to provide solutions.”
Parent U was headlined by keynote speaker documentary filmmaker, speaker, and physician Dr. Delaney Ruston, MD, while Rainier Scholars Child and Family Therapist Roy Fisher, MA LMFT, served as the closing speaker for the audience. More than one hundred individuals attended the event and had the opportunity to gain insight and gather critical information from professionals in the field of mental health and also hear from other peers dealing with similar struggles. 

While mental health is a continuous battle and has intensified during the pandemic, Kelly explained she hopes Parent U served, and continues to serve, as a resource for parent/guardians to learn more so they may be able to support their children’s needs as they grow and evolve.

“For most of our speakers and audience members, this was the first opportunity they’d had to participate in an in-person conference since the beginning of the pandemic, and the results were powerful,” Kelly said. “There is value in being able to lean into these conversations and connect with the community. We deeply appreciate The Bush School leadership for organizing, sponsoring, and hosting such a meaningful Parent University.”
The Bush School is an independent, coeducational day school located in Seattle, WA enrolling 710 students in grades K–12. The mission of The Bush School is to spark in students of diverse backgrounds and talents a passion for learning, accomplishment, and contribution to their communities.

3400 East Harrison Street, Seattle WA 98112    (206) 322-7978
The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment, recruitment, admissions, or administration of any of its programs on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. In addition, The Bush School does not discriminate in matters of employment on the basis of age or marital status.
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