PARENTS: ADVERSARY OR ALLY? A Cooperative Approach


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Michael Sedler



A cooperative approach to working with families is of the utmost importance to educators.  Depending upon the approach, the parent(s) can be a tremendous support or an actual stumbling block to education within the school. This class will explore positive ways to enlist the support of even the most "distant" parent. Utilization of home visitation strategies, parent groups, conferences, phone calls and notes will be examined. Specific communication strategies will be explained which are geared to enable educators in facilitating a cooperative atmosphere with parents.  At the completion of this course, each person will have a multitude of ideas to use immediately in the school and classroom. This course is designed to be effective for all P-12 educators, regardless of teaching level or job description. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Listed stresses and reasons concerning non-involved parents.
  2. Assessed family styles and stated effective strategies in communication for each one.
  3. Accurately listed the steps for home visitations, including follow-up strategies.
  4. Developed an action plan for a family and implemented it during the school year.
  5. Mediated a family conference from beginning to end and then analyzed key components.
  6. Described various ways to gain parental support within a week of implementation.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Each student will choose their own textbook for this course which allows for personal areas of focus within the course information.  At the end of the course manual is a bibliography of potential books.  However, feel free to pick one not on the the list that is compatible with this course. 

None. All reading is online.


A course manual may be downloaded, from the instructor’s website at There is no charge of the manual. Click on classes, from there scroll down the page and click on the orange lettering ‘Manual’ next to the class “Parent...". It will download as a PDF. While there is no fee for the manual, you may have to pay to order a book from the bibliography or one of your own choosing. Or, you may borrow one from a friend or check one out at the public library for free.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Read the Manual.

Read the entire manual and send a one page summary of what you hope to learn in this class. Everyone taking the class, including in groups, must complete this assignment. Download the current manual from my website.

Assignment #2: Read Your Chosen Text.

Read a book from the bibliography or one of student's choice. If taking this course in a group, each person should read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary. 

Critique the book based on personal experiences.  Write a 2-3 page paper.

Assignment #3: Complete Designated Worksheets in Manual

Read and answer questions on the following pages:

a)  Parent involvement form (p. 17).
b)  Lesson Plan Article, (pgs. 23-24) 

(Write a 1-2 page summary for each page)

Assignment #4: Student Candidate.

Choose a "focus" student for this class. Get as much information about the student as possible (Read the file of the student, interview teachers who have taught the student, talk to other staff members including office workers,  and obtain additional information). Write a 1-2 page summary of your findings.

To maintain privacy, please do not refer to students in your paper by their actual name, but rather use
an alias or designation such as "Student A."

Assignment #5: Phone Log.

Make phone calls to parents or students, as explained in the outline in the workbook (p. 18-19). Call a minimum of 5 students or parents. (Write out dates of phone call and a 2-3 sentence summary of each).

Assignment #6: Summary of Findings.

Write a 2 page paper sharing any parent contact ideas you have used, seen used, or would like to use in your setting.  How would they help with parent connections?  Why or why not?

Assignment #7: Discussion with an Educator.

Discuss the phone call process (p.18) or the home visit strategies (p. 37) with another educator.  Describe potential barriers to implementing the desired practice. Describe areas of modification you might use to increase the success of the chosen practice. State any unanswered questions that may still exist. Summarize your reflections in a 2 page paper.  



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #8: Review of Articles

Go online and read 3 articles on parent involvement in the schools.  Share the title of the articles and the authors.  Pick one article and write a 1-2 page summary including your own personal thoughts and ideas.

Assignment #9: Lesson Development.

Assignment #A:

Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
Write a 2 page commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
Include any student feedback on your lesson.


Assignment #B: 

Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.

Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
Write a 2 page summary concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.

Assignment #10: (500 Level only)

In addition to the 400 level assignments complete one (1) of the following options:

Option A)  Mentor another individual in the concepts of this class. Have them share two or three key concepts that they would like to implement within their work or social setting.  Develop a plan for the implementation of these ideas.  (1-2 pages).


Option B)  Create a PowerPoint presentation for your staff based on this course and focused on perspectives or strategies you feel would be beneficial for your school. Minimum of 15 slides.  Save this as a pdf.


Option C)  Another assignment of your own design, with instructor prior approval.


Assignment #11: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mike Sedler, M.S.W., D. Min., brings over 40 year of educational experience as a special education director, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.   He provides consultation and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses. He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification. Mike has worked with children of all ages, specifically with children exhibiting behavioral challenges, mental health concerns, and characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  In addition, he taught general education classes in the elementary school and middle school arenas.   All of Mikeʼs classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found success in implementing Mikeʼs clear and concise approaches. All of his course material may be immediately implemented into a school or a home.


PARENTS: ADVERSARY OR ALLY? A Cooperative Approach

Cherry and Pickle Publishing.  Parent Teacher Communication Book.  Independently Published, 2022.  Great book to help with communication (P-5).

Cline, Foster and Fay, Jim.  Parenting With Love And Logic.. Love and Logic Institute. 2020. New approaches to working with children (grades K – 12). 

Freeman, Cathie and Gates, Jenni.  We Need To Talk About Parents: A Teacher’s Guide To Working With Families.  Corwin, 2022.  A book that helps to know how to approach parents.

Frommert, Crystal.  When Calling Parents Isn’t Your Calling.  Road to Awesome, 2023.  A resource to teachers who may struggle with communicating with parents  ((P-12). 

Heineman, Mary Ellen.  Resolving Your Child’s Challenging Behavior.  Brookes Publishing, 2022.  Strategies to connect with children in the midst of difficulties. (P-8).

Iberlin, Jeanie and Ruyle, Mike.  Cultivating Mindfulness in the Classroom.  Marzano Research, 2017.  (P-12).

Kanold, Timothy & Tina Boogren. Emotional Wellness: A Guide for Sustaining Physical, Mental, Emotional and Social Well-Being. 2022. Solution Tree, Wellness Solutions.

Whitaker, Todd and Fiore, Doug.  A School Leader’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult Parents.  Routledge Press, 2015.  Helpful strategies to connect with challenging parents (P-12).

Wong, Harry K and Wong, Rosemary T. The First Days of School. Harry Wong Publishers. 2018. Book to help teachers set a successful tone for the year (grades K 12.)