Mac Speaks - People Listen

Parenting with Dignity comes to town

News Release: Sidney Montana, More than 1000 people from Sidney Montana, a town of 6000, turned out to hear the Parenting with Dignity Message from Mac Bledsoe in October of 2001. Mac's powerful message to parents about the Parenting with Dignity Formula for positive change has earned him one of the best reputations with PTA groups nationwide. Many towns, cities, and communities all across America are joining in on the goal of building a better world for kids by using effective teaching tools in the home.

America is ready for a change and Parenting with Dignity provides a great starting point. The visit to Sidney was planned and put on by two dedicated Special Education professionals. They tirelessly worked to fill the gym and make the evening a success both on the night of the event but also as the beginning of a community wide beginning of 6 Parenting with Dignity classes!

This was not an event that took tons of money and a huge commitment of school district funds. This event was a smashing success due to hard work and dedicated volunteer effort on behalf of the kids in the community.

To see how this event was planned and executed read the plan as written by Tammy Leland and Kathi Roberts, the volunteer leaders in Sidney Montana:


You wanted us to write down what we did to get the turn out - well..........

  1. April 2001: After listening to you at the Life Long Learning Conference in Missoula, we brainstormed ways to get parents to attend. We came up with the idea that students could earn grade increases through parents/adult attendance at your presentation. In our school, you can loose from 2% to 5% in all classes if you mess up. Why not give students a way to earn that back and to reward everyone for their participation? For each parent attending, his/her child will earn a 2% grade increase in all classes, K through 12. If anyone else in the community attends on behalf of a child, the child receives a 1% grade increase per person registered for him/her. Ultimately, students can earn a maximum of a 5% increase for all their classes. We also proposed "closing down Sidney" for 1 1/2 hours that night to get every adult in town to the meeting. We returned home and talked to our principal about bringing you to Sidney.

  2. April: We looked at the dates that would impact the most people. We chose the day before Teacher's Convention because you could talk to students during the day, parents at night, and educators who came here for Teacher's Convention the next morning.

  3. April: Kathi Roberts spoke to your assistant, Kathleen about seeing if the dates worked.

  4. April: Kathi Roberts filled out your request for speaking dates and received confirmation.

  5. August 2001: We spoke to our high school principal and superintendent about incentives to get parents involved and received the go ahead. One of the reasons the superintendent was happy about this is because we weren't just bringing in a speaker, we were also following up with parenting classes.

  6. August: Our principal took the idea to the other school principals and got their support also.

  7. September 2001: We talked to two clergy organizations about supporting this presentation. The churches were hesitant at first because in our community Wednesday night is "church" night. Since we were proposing the adults attend that evening - not students - the churches were okay with the idea. Various churches ran information in their weekly and monthly bulletins. They also encouraged their adult Wednesday night groups to attend the presentation rather than holding adult classes.

  8. September: We spoke with the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber sent faxes out to all chamber businesses encouraging their support. They also interviewed us for the local noon television show to help promote it. This aired Wednesday, October 10th, a week before you presented.

  9. September: We made up fliers to place in businesses. Kathy downloaded the graphics from your website and added our information (see attached).

  10. September: Tammy spoke to the Kiwanis Club and received their encouragement and support to help hand out information and help with registration the night of the presentation.

  11. September: We compiled a list of all businesses in the community and sent out letters to each explaining our proposal.

  12. October 2001: We met with local newspaper reporters and gave them information to run in their papers.

  13. October: We went to every business in town - NOT just Main Street - and hung up fliers, encouraged adults to attend, and asked the 42 night businesses to consider closing for 1 1/2 hours. For those corporate businesses that said they absolutely could not close, we suggested they look at their employee scheduling and try to schedule any adult with kids in school to have the night off. We also went to any nighttime community organization and asked them to reschedule/close for that time (Hockey, Gymnastics & the Public Library all closed for us)! Going to all businesses took us 2 full days and 3 more half days.

  14. October: We got on the morning announcements at school and explained the idea to the students so they could encourage their parents, neighbors, employers, friends, and relatives to attend.

  15. October: We made registration forms (postcard size) to speed registration. An example is attached. We included registration for the parenting classes right on the forms.

  16. October: We went to the local grocery stores and got 52 paper bags. We double bagged them and wrote a capital letter of the alphabet on each.

  17. October: We contacted the secretaries at all school and asked for alphabetical by grade lists of all students.

  18. October 16: You flew in and we gave you a Driver's Ed. car to use. We put you up in a motel, had dinner and visited with you.

  19. October 17: That afternoon you presented to the middle school and high school kids (750) and they LISTENED! They are still saying great things about you. That night, we set the bags out along the gym hallway and put 4 clipboards out for Parenting Class registration. We had registrations forms, hundreds of sharpened pencils, and copies of handouts for everyone. You presented and the parents (1,000) loved your message. We set up and video taped your presentation for interested parents who were unable to attend. Parents dropped their registrations into the paper bag beginning with the first letter of their last name. They also signed up for parenting classes then.

  20. October 18: You presented to the approximately 300 educators that morning; we gave each educator handouts too. They were impressed! Several asked how they could get you to present to their school. We've passed your website on!!!

  21. October 18-19: We had 4-5 people going through all the registrations to credit the students for adult participation.

  22. October 21: Tammy and a student counted up all the registration forms and pulled any that were marked for parenting classes. 801 registration forms were turned in, many with two parents on one sheet. All parenting class registration was checked and counted (102 families)!!! We are still getting phone calls for parenting class registration and to view the videotape we made.

  23. October 22-25: Tammy compiled and submitted to each teacher a roster with their students and their participation points. At the elementary level, every student had a minimum of 3 points and at the middle school and high school every student had at least 1 point. Most had 4-5 points.

  24. Suggestions: At the elementary level, the percentage points weren't necessarily applicable. Several teachers had pizza parties, special treats, etc. Some gave out free homework passes for each point. Make sure the administration talks to their teachers before universally announcing something.

Hope this helps. Thanks for everything!

Tammy Leland

For more ideas about things that will work for getting classes going in your community, please go to our Web page for Tape 10 Facilitator's Tape at: Tape 10 Facilitators Guide  


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