Supporting & empowering parents to reclaim responsibility for raising healthy children
A Research Evaluation By Cobb Community
Parents In Action
Supporting & empowering parents to
reclaim responsibility for raising
healthy children through; education, advocacy & networking.
For: Parents on Board
Building Academic Success Through Parent Involvement
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
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.
II. Program Goal/Hypothesis
Parents will demonstrate increased knowledge of, and capacity
for, building their children's academic success through parent
III. Program Setup
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.
IV. Evaluation Process
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
1) Basic physical needs (health, nutrition, exercise and sleep);
2) Rules, routines, expectations and an organized environment
conducive to learning;
3) Supportive, family-friendly resources for child-rearing.
Of the parents who participated, 87% learned to use encouragement
to foster positive behavior in their children. Use of encouragement
is defined as:
1) Illustrating four ways parents can and will encourage children;
2) Development of three discipline tools for encouraging responsible
behavior in children;
3) Support of school discipline policies;
4) Building and utilizing family cultural strengths.
Of the parents who participated, 91% encourage school readiness
and academic achievement. School readiness and achievement encouragement
is defined as:
1) Limiting and monitoring TV exposure;
2) Learning seven ways to be a positive academic coach;
3) Using specific activities to enhance children's reading, spelling,
writing, math and science skills;
4) Active demonstration of parental involvement as children's
first and most important teacher.
See Appendix E for complete results.*
Staff Trainer Individual Observations:
» Local school partners having demonstrated commitment from
administrators were more likely to have highest attendance and
retention for all sessions-i.e., schools that had the greatest
response from parents throughout the course of the workshops were
those whose principals were in attendance at the sessions.
"At some schools the principal welcomed the parents and thanked
them for sending their children to the school. This set the tone
for the workshop. Parents felt like they belonged and that the
school considered them and their children to be important."
» Parent participants appreciated curriculum guidebooks.
Those schools purchasing books for parents vs. those schools passing
the cost of books on to participants had no higher attendance
or retention rates at sessions.
» Parents could readily identify with the Parents on Board
term "coach" vs. "teacher." They responded
positively to the distinction that helping their child means creating
good study habits and a productive study environment, not actually
doing homework for the child.
"I want to learn how to help my child with school work without
having to do it for him. I don't feel like a good teacher."
» Parents were particularly responsive to the sessions on
learning styles, health and safety.
"Parents liked reviewing the basic health skills we take
for granted. Many learned they were not paying enough attention
to the sleep patterns of their children."
Session Activity Summary:
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:
» 90% of focus group participants rated the learning styles
segment as "most helpful"
» 95% of focus group participants perceived the term "parents
as coach" considerably more comfortable than "parents
as teacher" for themselves and their parent peers
» 86% of focus group participants requested additional information
and support regarding necessary family homework/study structure
» 43% of focus group participants reported encouraging language
development and thinking through reading with their children
» 89% of focus group participants demonstrated three ways
to be a positive academic coach to their children
» 74% of focus group participants reported personal success
stories of how they had used encouragement to develop positive
behavior in their children.
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