January 2 - 13, 2019 (self-paced)
Nothing is more gratifying than hearing from a parent that you have made all the difference in their child’s life.
And nothing is more discouraging than having a parent challenge or even actively undermine the work you’re doing.
Between these two extremes is a world of possibilities for opening up communication and collaboration with parents. With many communities reaching close to 100% web connectivity with families through smartphones and computers, the possibilities for reaching out and staying in touch multiple.
This course will help you navigate the many categories of families you’ll encounter in your work, from those eager to help to ones you never hear from. You’ll glean strategies for working with parents of struggling learners, families where English is not the native tongue, and parents who are uncomfortable in schools because they personally did not experience success there.
Along the way, we’ll help you rethink the most common touchstones for connecting with families--curriculum nights and open houses, parent/teacher conferences, and family literacy nights/schoolwide celebrations.
The course is divided into six sections:
Part 1: What I Know Now and Wish I’d Known Then: Foundation for Good Family Relations
Part 2: All About Conferring with Parents
Part 3: Curriculum Night and Open Houses
Part 4: Language: Does Yours Open Doors or Put Up Walls?
Part 5: Special Considerations: Connecting with Struggling Learners, English Language Learners, and Nontraditional Families
Part 6: Family Literacy Nights and Schoolwide Celebrations
Bonus segments on working with middle school families and helping parents talk with their children about school.
Resources include many examples of successful activities and programs, with the timelines, tools, and templates to replicate that success in your own classroom or school.
Your instructor for this course is Jennifer Schwanke, an elementary school principal in Dublin, Ohio, and author of the book You’re the Principal! Now What? Strategies and Solutions for New School Leaders (published by ASCD).
Contributors of print and/or video to the course include:Tara Barnett and Kate Mills, Max Brand, Andie Cunningham, Heather Fisher and Kathy Provost, Deb Gaby, Tony Keefer, Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan, Dana Murphy, Trish Prentice, Franki Sibberson, Katherine Sokolowski, Gretchen Taylor, Stella Villalba, and Jennifer Vincent.
*Please note: Early Bird Bonus ships only to United States -- international enrollees will receive an extra month on Choice and Lead Literacy memberships as their bonus.
I am an elementary school principal in Dublin, Ohio. I've been an administrator at middle and elementary levels for 13 years. Prior to that, I was a middle school language arts teacher. I am also a graduate instructor at Miami University of Ohio.
I have written for Principal Magazine, Principal Navigator, and ASCD Express, and I am a frequent contributor to Education Week. I am the author of the book, You’re the Principal! Now What? Strategies and Solutions for New School Leaders, published by ASCD.
My husband, Jay, is an athletic director. We have two children, Jack and Autumn, and a ridiculously beloved cat, Lucky, who was a dramatic rescue from my parents’ barn. I am also an avid yogi.
My fun fact? Back in my bartending days, my employer entered me in a
corporate competition, and I won the Bartender of the Year award. We were judged
on speed, accuracy, and creativity. I earned $500, which paid for two
months of living in the dilapidated mobile home I rented while working
through graduate school. I felt immeasurably wealthy after that
Frequently Asked Questions
Please Note: If you have a paid Choice Literacy or Lead Literacy subscription, you are eligible for a $40 discount off the $179 course price. Just sign up at this link from within your member account to receive your discount. If you wish to pay for this course offline with a check or purchase order, click here to download the order form.