Course Details

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.

Because the course content is so extensive, participants will have access to the course and all materials for an additional two months beyond the course end date. A three-month trial Literacy Leadership membership is included in the course fee, enabling participants to receive new and updated resources delivered weekly to their inboxes through the Big Fresh newsletter.

Course Curriculum

1
All About Conferring with Parents

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2
Bonus Segments
3
Curriculum Night and Open Houses
4
Family Literacy Nights and Schoolwide Celebrations
5
Language: Does Yours Open Doors or Put Up Walls?
6
Special Considerations: Connecting with Struggling Learners, English Language Learners, and Nontraditional Families
7
What I Know Now and Wish I’d Known Then: Foundation for Good Family Relations

Meet Your Instructor

Instructor
Jennifer Schwanke

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 competition!

Enrollment Options

Denotes discounted member pricing

Course Only

This purchase includes all course materials with access for two months, as well as a three-month trial Literacy Leadership subscription.

$179.00 Add to Cart
We Are Family + Annual Membership

Access to course for two months plus a one-year Literacy Leadership membership, a savings of $50 over individual purchases.

$279.00 Add to Cart