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Getting & Keeping Parent Support

This course presents proven and innovative methods to gain and keep parent support, a critical element of a student's education. The model discussed in this course emphasizes interventions through a cooperative team approach between teachers and parents. Based on research endorsed by the National PTA, the skills and procedures taught in this course will enable educators to maintain supportive involvement from parents in even the most challenging cases. 


Carlow University ED 621 • Madonna University EDU 5960.04 • Mercy University EDUT 549

The required text for this course is Parents on Your Side: A Teachers Guide to Creating Positive Relationships with Parents, 2nd Edition, by Lee Canter. 

ISBN: 978-1-934009-76-5

Graduate participants earn 3 semester hours of graduate credit and will receive a transcript from one of our partner institutions below. Professional development participants receive a certificate of completion for 45 hours of professional developments credit for face-to-face classes and 60 hours of professional development credit for online classes.

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Session/Module 1: Overview Of Parent-Teacher Cooperation Issues


  • Parent-Teacher Conferences as a Major Challenge
  • Frustrations of Both Sides About Conferences
  • A Look at the Current Situation
  • Avoidance is Not the Answer
  • The Necessity for Cooperation
  • If Not Us, Then Who?
  • Advantages of Reforming the Relationship Between Schools and Parents

Session/Module 2: Current Stressors Affecting Families And Schools


  • Changing Demographics in America
  • The Changing American Family
  • Stresses From Outside the Home
  • Lack of Support for Parents and Children
  • Pressures facing today's schools
  • Lack of Support for Teachers and Discipline
  • Bridging the gaps between home and school

Session/Module 3: Making the Most of Early Parent Contacts


  • Making First Impressions Count
  • What do Parents Want From Teachers?
  • Do's and Don'ts for "Back to School Nights"
  • What do Parents Need to Know?
  • What do We Need From Parents?
  • The First Phone Call and How to Make the Most of It
  • Planning for a Successful Start

Session/Module 4: Importance Of Parental Involvement


  • Parental Involvement and Student Achievement
  • Parental Involvement and Behavior
  • Cultural and Age Factors in Parental Involvement
  • Importance of Involvement at All Grade Levels
  • How Involvement Helps Students, Parents, and Families
  • How Involvement Helps Teachers, Schools, and Communities
  • How Involvement Improves School Quality
  • Involvement in form of "Reading to Children"

Session/Module 5: Methods for Involving Parents


  • Communications That Reach and Support Parents
  • Helping Parents be Successful in Their Difficulties
  • Ways Parents can Support Student Learning
  • Gaining Support Through Parent Volunteering
  • Involving Parents in School Improvement and Decision Making
  • Utilizing Community Resources
  • How cultural differences effect teacher/parent relationships

Session/Module 6: Parent Conference Issues and Approaches


  • Issues and Needs of Parents and Teachers
  • Setting the Stage for a Successful Conference
  • Ways of Remaining Positive and Constructive
  • Appreciating and Supporting Each Other
  • Keeping the Focus on Helping the Student
  • Setting Realistic Agendas and Goals
  • Sharing Fair and Reasonable Responsibilities

Session/Module 7: De-Escalating Conflict During Conferences


  • A Model for Understanding Emotional Reactions
  • Predicting Escalation and De-Escalation
  • You-Messages vs. I-Messages
  • The Power of Really Listening to the Other Person
  • The Necessity to be Proactively Professional
  • The Practical Advantage of Communication Skills
  • Achieving Your Goals in a Conference

Session/Module 8: Strategies for Reaching Consensus


  • What the Parties Want/Don't Want in Negotiations
  • The Importance of Fairness and Impartiality
  • Resistance to Pressure or Imposed Solutions
  • Resolution Methods and Cautions
  • The Importance of Identifying Each Party's Needs
  • The Power of Brainstorming
  • Methods of Reaching Consensus
  • Investing in a Long-Term Solution That Will "Stick"

Session/Module 9: Methods and Use of Documentation


  • Do's and Don'ts in Record-Keeping
  • What an Anecdotal Record is and What it is Not
  • Involving Parent Early and Continuously
  • Teacher Reticence and Parent Backlash
  • Working to Build a Cooperative Team Approach
  • Remain Open to Input from All Sides
  • Involving the Student and Parent in Improvement Plans

Session/Module 10: A Parent-Teacher Friendly Referral Process


  • Advantages and Disadvantages of a Team
  • Making a Team Approach Less Threatening
  • Genuinely Involving all Parties
  • Openness to Differing Input and Approaches
  • Being Honest About Concerns
  • Hearing and Supporting Feelings and Needs
  • Avoiding Jargon and Using Clear Explanations
  • Discuss the different types and the importance of parent involvement in education.
  • Explore research relating parent involvement and student achievement.
  • Explore the changing demographics in American families.
  • Discuss the barriers to parent involvement in education.
  • Recognize barriers for teachers involving parents.
  • Compare and contrast strategies for reducing barriers and roadblocks to partnerships between teachers and parents.
  • Label critical elements for early parent contacts.
  • Evaluate successful and recommended parent contact practices.
  • Justify successful points to consider in "back to school night" presentations.
  • Design a "first call" to targeted parents.
  • Define proven techniques for positive communication with parents.
  • Describe channels of communication appropriate for your setting.
  • Document the value of making positive phone calls home.
  • Create a homework policy.
  • Cite examples of specific suggestions that may be given to parents to involve them in the homework process.
  • Formulate strategies to help parents solve their children's most common homework problems.
  • Gain ideas for preparing for a parent conferences and meetings.
  • Identify methods for involving parents and students in planning individualized education plans.
  • Explore the pros and cons of having students at a conference.
  • Conduct and evaluate the success of a parent conference.
  • Identify strategies to maintain control during stressful contacts with parents.
  • Learn methods of de-escalating conflicts.
  • Gain techniques to use in difficult situations.
  • Identify risk factors that can lead to conflict in relationships between parents and teachers.
  • Understand the importance of mutual respect and trust in reaching agreements.
  • Explore methods of building trust with parents and families from nondominant cultures.
  • Identify factors that lead to successful negotiation.
  • Plan, arrange, and carry out a problem solving conference and/or a conference with a family member from a nondominant culture.
  • Recognize the importance of systematic record keeping especially when a student is experiencing academic or behavioral problems.
  • Write anecdotal records distinguishing between observations and inferences.
  • Explain the shift from punishment-focused discipline to teaching and supporting appropriate behavior in schools.
  • Explore methods for empowering parents in helping their students adopt academic and social behaviors required in school settings.
  • Apply research-based principles in writing a formal paper on parent-teacher relations OR prepare a parent handbook for the final project for this course.
Partner Universities

Our Partners are well-established regionally and nationally accredited colleges and universities, recognized for academic excellence and their commitment to teachers.

Important Information

Online 3-graduate credit courses are 13 weeks in length.

On-site weekend courses are held Friday evening from 6:00pm-9:00pm and Saturday/Sunday, 8:30am-5:30pm.

Weekday courses are Monday-Friday from 8:00am- 6:00pm.

It is the responsibility of the student to check with their state, county, district, or school to ensure that all requirements are being met by the course you're taking.  

Check the Partner Universities page for specific university information as well as course numbers which are specific to the university partner. 

Students are required to purchase their own textbook, the information for which can be found here. If no book is required it will be specified on the list. We have copies of many of the textbooks should you wish to purchase directly from TEI. 

Professional development (PD) participants receive a certificate of completion from TEI for 45 hours of PD credit for face to face classes and 60 hours of PD credit for online classes. These certificates are mailed within one week of the end of the class and reflect the course title, dates of attendance, and credit hour information. 

Student Academic Integrity
Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.