The 21st century offers a lot of challenges for young people.
And sometimes they just need a little help to navigate through the challenges.
Seeing this, the Millsap School District has brought in some help in the form of renowned speaker/trainer Dr. Eric Cupp.
And he’s not just making a one-time visit. In fact, they’re getting to know him pretty well around the district’s campuses.
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"The Millsap ISD Mission Statement and Values convey that we are committed to developing the whole child," said assistant superintendent Deann Lee. "We place a priority on bringing people to Millsap ISD with specific expertise to help our students while in school and to equip our kids to make good lifelong decisions."
In other words, there’s more to learning than cracking books and taking tests. Cupp, in his eight visits this year, helps stress this to students, while at the same time working with them to relieve outside stress they might otherwise bring with them to school or other parts of life.
Cupp is known for working with children from all brackets for over three decades, honor students, athletes, scholars, at-risk. Name a student, and Cupp has worked with someone like him/her - if not him/her in person.
Millsap is the only school district in Parker County to currently employ the help of Cupp, said Lee.
Among the topics he works with students on are:
▪ Conducting yourself in a safe manner regarding online conduct.
▪ Dealing with peer pressure.
▪ Adressing bullying.
▪ Setting lifelong goals.
▪ Speaking up for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.
▪ Drug and alcohol prevention.
"Our children face a very different world than even just a generation ago, and we are committed to supporting them in making good choices," Lee said.
Lee said Cupp was brought to the campus through an interaction with Millsap Middle School Principal Jeff Clark. He remembered Cupp from training administrators received in the 2014-15 school year.
Cupp began working with students during the spring semester, coming out from is office in the Metroplex. He was so popular the district signed him on for eight visits this school year.
"We hear students discussing topics he has spoken about, students have approached staff after assemblies to receive help, and students feel comfortable approaching Dr. Cupp for guidance," Lee said.
"During Dr. Cupp’s last visit, middle school students were high-fiving, hugging, and greeting him with ‘Dr. Cupp! Dr. Cupp! You’re back!’ On nearly every occasion after he speaks, students ask him for further information and clarification."
Cupp speaks to students both in an assembly and small group format. Prior to each visit, the principals and Lee, who is his liaison to the campuses, discuss their current needs and Cupp makes his schedule based on their needs.
Each visit also includes a parent meeting and staff training.
“Dr. Cupp has a unique way of interacting, even in large assemblies,” Lee said.
"He asks questions, asks for input, has participation, and seeks commitments from students to make good choices,” she said. “There is much more interaction in the small group meetings as he discusses topics with students, asks for current examples, and so on.”
She said the parent meetings are such that [Cupp] speaks, but then asks for questions.
“If it can be answered in a group setting for the benefit of all, he does so,” Lee said. “If it needs to be more private, he speaks with them after the meeting."
Thus far, Cupp’s presentations have been for MISD. But Lee said during parent meetings anyone can attend.
And there is no charge.
Lee sees the relationship between Cupp and the district as one that could continue for years.
"Our desire is to continue our partnership with Dr. Cupp in order to continue to support our students as they grow into adulthood," she said.
"While funding and resources will always be a challenge, the district plans to continue our partnership as long as staff and Dr. Cupp himself feels we can continue to make a difference with this initiative."