In 2010, passionate parents attending a Believe 2 Become community meeting responded to the question, “How do we help our children reach their full potential?”
With the guidance of LINC Community Revitalization, one group of parents formed an action group called Parent University.
In 2012, several of the parent-leaders joined a more expansive design team to create the framework and a robust offering of classes for Parent University. This design team of parents, aided by Evolve!, Believe 2 Become, Grand Rapids Public Schools, LINC Community Revitalization, Kent School Services Network, and Creative Change Mission, spent more than 100 hours putting the details together for a 2013 fall launch.
As articulated by the parents, the Parent University vision is to “Help parents be strong advocates of their children’s success.” The parent and community steering committee of Parent University welcomes everyone to join the ranks of Power Parents, helping children succeed.
Want to submit a course proposal?
Are you a local organization, parent, teacher, school leader, or other community partner interested in contributing to Parent University in the future? Submit your course proposal online today.
Submissions are reviewed by the Parent University Curriculum Review Committee. The Committee convenes as needed for the purpose of reviewing and selecting courses for Parent University.
Criteria for course selection are as follows:
Course must address at least one of the four areas of focus:
- Effective Parenting
- Personal Growth and Development
- Navigating the Educational System
- Health and Wellness
- Course uses researched, evidence-based curriculum and information.
- Course defines a skill or enhances awareness students will take away from their experience.
- Course is culturally sensitive and content is inclusive.
- Course is relevant, current, interesting, and addresses the needs of families.
Frequently Asked Questions
We believe that parents are confident advocates of their children’s success.
We believe that all parents want their children to succeed
We believe all parents are capable of helping their child succeed.
Parent University is not a location. We travel. We bring the courses to the schools and parents at times convenient for all. Since 2013, Parent University has increased the number of offerings for our parents. Currently we offer over 60 different classes from over 40 community partners and GRPS district departments. We offer classes on Effective Parenting, Health and Wellness, Navigating the Educational System, and Personal Growth and Development.
Family: All adults who interact in support of their child, including biological, adoptive, and foster parents; grandparents; legal and informal guardians (e.g., friends of family); and siblings.
Parent: The child’s parent or guardian.
Whole Child Development: A holistic approach to education that generally encompasses the academic, social, emotional, and physical development of the student.
- Increase parental engagement and volunteerism
- Empower parents
- Interact with principal and staff
- Encourage classroom assistance
- Attend PAL and Parent Teacher Community Council (PTCC) meetings
- Provide the yearly family engagement schedule
- Help plan and participate in key events throughout the school year (conferences, orientations, open house, Parent University offerings, PTCC meetings, etc.)
The PTCC structure is inclusive of all other groups in the school such as Community School Leadership Team (CSLT), Parent Action Leaders (PAL), and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTSA, PTO, PTA). The PTCC meets monthly throughout the school year and is organized and run by the principal or designee. The PTCC should include members of each group including the principal, 3-5 parents, at least 2 staff members, the KSSN coordinator, and all community partners.
The goals of the PTCC are to strengthen parents’ ability to engage and support student’s academic success and the school improvement plan, to foster a climate where parents, teachers and community partners share ownership in school success and to provide a structure for parents to provide leadership in the schools.
Therefore, the PTCC should:
- Plan, organize, attend and run the monthly informational and educational parent meetings
- Help plan, write, review and implement the school improvement plan
- Plan and work with community partners to improve the academic and lives of the children and their families
- Support district by giving input, voice and action to their goals
- Promote and use Parent University offerings
- Promote and use the parents.grps.org as a resource for families and as a platform for school engagement activities
- Create a friendly and welcoming school atmosphere for parents and visitors
Please note that classes offered in English will have a Spanish translator if Spanish speaking parents are expected to attend. Likewise, if a Spanish class expects English speaking parents to attend, a translator will be provided. Parents are always welcome to bring along a personal translator, as well.