Parent College with Unity Alliance
Parent College was created as the primary strategy to build the capacity of parents/families to be actively engaged in their child’s education. The goal of the program is to “educate and empower parents as partners, advocates, and lifelong teachers in their child’s education through educational courses and leadership opportunities.”
Parent College is a program designed to create a positive culture and predictable climate by collaborating with parents and providing parents personal enrichment courses that enhance effective interaction, strategies for how to promote social, emotional, health and wellness, and academic achievement, and connects parents to community resources.
The goal of Parent College is to work collaboratively with parents in a safe, supportive, and non-judgmental environment to establish the best possible outcomes for students while strengthening the relationships between parents, students, school staff, and community.
Theory of Change
Parents are Teachers:
Provides a clearer understanding of how children grow and learn and the teaching and learning approaches used in Idaho Public Schools.
Parents are Advocates:
Builds capacity to advocate for children, understand the standards and expectations for learning, and support learning at home.
Parents are Leaders:
Helps parents build the skills necessary to assume leadership roles in schools and the community.
Parents are Learners:
Provides parents with the opportunity to build upon their own skills for personal professional growth.
Some examples of topics that parent college can offer:
Skills for Life
- Social & Emotional Learning Series
- Serving as Role Models for our Children
- Basic Emergency Response & First Aid
Health and Wellness
- Mental Health Recovery from Crisis
- Mental Health Recovery from Daily Stress
- Physical Recovery from Stress
- Financial Recovery
- Bulling Prevention and Intervention
- Suicide Prevention and Intervention
- What Your Child Should Learn by Grade Level
- Strengthening Study Skills at Home
- Code of Conduct
- Special Education and the IEP Process
- Accessing quality adult/career readiness programming
Parents as Leaders
- Family Engagement 101
- Engaging Families in Shared Decision Making
- How to Run an Effective Parent Council
- Understanding our Implicit Bias and Its Effects on Our Children
ADVANTAGES OF PARENT/FAMILY ENGAGEMENT
Parental/Family Engagement is essential for student development and offers many benefits. Many studies explore how parental engagement can improve students’ success and teachers’ work. Some of the advantages are:
- When there is good communication between parents and teachers, absenteeism decreases. According to a report by Johns Hopkins University (JHU), this helps reduce student absenteeism by 24 percent.
- Academic performance increases. According to JHU, aspects such as comprehension and reading fluency improve when there is parental engagement, even more so if parents spend time reading with their children. The student feels more motivated to learn, and their grades improve.
- It also helps improve student behavior in the classroom. Having parents and teachers communicate more helps students feel more motivated in their classes; their self-esteem and attitudes in class improve.
- The benefit extends to all ages. Although the benefits are usually discussed in the context of preschool or elementary school students, there are other studies focused on high school students. Parental engagement is something that makes a difference at all educational levels, although its influence decreases as the student progresses in age. Still, in high school, for example, having the parents engaged can affect the decision of whether the student wants to continue studying or not.
- Parental engagement improves teacher performance. When parents have better communication with teachers, they learn to value the work and the challenges that teachers face, which makes the teachers feel appreciated. It also helps the teachers to get to know the students more, allowing them to teach in a more personalized and effective way.
- It helps when the parents feel happier and more engaged with their children’s education. A good connection with the school lets parents understand the curriculum better and the advancement of their children. It also helps them feel more comfortable and happier with the quality of education. It can even motivate those who did not finish their education to continue it.
Parental engagement can have a significant impact on the school culture. As parents engage, they become equal partners in education together with schools and the community. Working as a unified force, schools, parents, and the community can provide the necessary support, and resources to provide the best education for all our students.