Initiative Description: Innovative collaborative initiative designed to reach out to and engage parents in their children’s education, with a special emphasis on the underserved. Parent University offers unique course offerings , symposia, and workshops aimed at increasing parents’ involvement in schools and empowering them to raise children who are successful in school and in life. Program activities consist primarily of structured classes and workshops designed both to share information with parents and to build skills to better equip them to participate in their child’s education. Individual workshops are offered in four areas or “strands”: Strand I: Parenting Awareness, Strand II: Helping Your Child Learn in the 21st Century, Strand III: Health and Wellness, and Strand IV: Personal Growth and Development
Study Results: Results indicated that Parent University is successful in engaging parents, particularly those who traditionally have been underserved, and highlighted some of the factors contributing to this success. Some positive trends in students’ school performance, especially among those whose parents attended a course designed to link directly to academic outcomes, indicated that this may be a promising intervention for improving school performance and illustrate the potential for integrated data approaches to support outcome evaluation and to advance research regarding mechanisms of effective parent engagement.
Reference: Portwood, S. G., Brooks-Nelson, E., & Schoeneberger, J. (2015). Data and Evaluation Strategies to Support Parent Engagement Programs: Learnings from an Evaluation of Parent University. Children & Schools, 37(3), 145–153. https://doi.org/10.1093/cs/cdv018
Level of Evidence: Very Good