A video-based parenting education
program by Active Parenting Publishers.
During the 1997-98 school year, Cobb Community Parents in Action (Cobb County, Georgia) selected the Parents on Board program as the primary resource for a new initiative. This new initiative involved the twin goals of school readiness and parent involvement. The primary goal of the organization is to give parents the opportunity to network with professionals in the community to improve the lives of their children.
The Parents on Board program was chosen for the new initiative because it mirrored the group’s own goals of establishing connections between home and school by focusing on parent involvement. The group was already using two Active Parenting Publishers sister programs, Active Parenting Today and Active Parenting of Teens.
The Active Parenting programs are based on the Adlerian parent-education model, which emphasizes the child’s psychological and behavioral goals, logical and natural consequences, mutual respect, and encouragement techniques. This model was developed from concepts originated by Alfred Adler, and was applied to child rearing by Dreikurs and Soltz (1964), Dinkmeyer and McKay (1976) and Michael Popkin, Ph.D. (1983), who developed the Active Parenting programs.
Parents will demonstrate increased knowledge of, and capacity for, building their children’s academic success through parent involvement.
The program was initiated at eight elementary schools throughout Cobb County (See Appendix A*). Cobb Community Parents In Action partnered with personnel at each school to give parents the opportunity to interact with staff members who would be able to assist them after the workshop ended. This included learner support specialists, guidance counselors and special instructional assistants to social workers, the PTA, and administrative personnel (Appendix B*).
The workshops were completed in three sessions (Appendix C*). A total of 141 parents of K-5 students were served. A total of 69 staff hours were required, including preparation time. A total of 774 man-hours were required, including participant time.
To address the issue of quality control among program facilitators, the organization has a two-day leadership institute which provides generic facilitation skills. The group selected Parents on Board because the materials were judged to be so well put together that the program would be particularly easy to lead.
Pre- and post-evaluation questionnaires were used; 136 were returned (Appendix D*). A 12-person focus group was conducted, and individual feedback was also captured.
In addition, a monthly staff activity summary was developed, along with multi-session attendance rosters.
Of the parents who participated, 89% have structured a “school-smart home.” “School-smart home” is defined as providing for:
Of the parents who participated, 87% learned to use encouragement to foster positive behavior in their children. Use of encouragement is defined as:
Of the parents who participated, 91% encourage school readiness and academic achievement. School readiness and achievement encouragement is defined as:
Staff Trainer Individual Observations:
Good attendance; registration and distribution of parent guidebooks went smoothly; slightly difficult to engage group (common at first sessions); ran late (miscommunication); great to have principal and staff well-represented; nice handout with school personnel resources. Pre/post evaluation forms collected (15)-noticed some movement from “disagree” to “agree” and from “agree” to “strongly agree” in parents’ feelings or perception of change.
Drop in attendance; lots of good discussion/questions regarding encouragement and positive discipline; great group interaction; seemed to like using guidebook; several people struggled with the concept of encouragement and positive discipline. Pre/post evaluation forms collected (10)-noticed almost no movement; most responded “neither” or “agree” and only a few perceived a change to “strongly agree”.
Folks responded particularly well to “parents as coach” model presented; lots of questions; folks did not seem to be reading parent guidebook between sessions; parents liked getting points for attendance. Pre/post evaluation forms collected (7)-not much movement from across the board on this one.
Focus Group Findings:
Based on the evaluation summary, the Parents on Board program overwhelmingly met its goals. Cobb Community Parents In Action has evaluated the program as a “great success in a relatively short time.” The eight schools where the program was implemented continue to facilitate the program on their own, and other schools in the system are considering using it as well.
* Call 800-825-0060 or send an e-mail for appendix charts