Expanded Access

Parent University

Conceived and co-designed to help parents become confident advocates of their children’s success, Parent University offers online and in-person courses, helpful resources, and volunteer opportunities in English and Spanish.

Become a Power Parent

Parent University - Making HistoryExplore all that Parent University has to offer at parents.grps.org.
Watch the graduation credits video
Take an attendance and achievement course
Learn about teaming with teachers
Discover the B-GRAD secrets of school success

As a Power Parent, you will be better equipped to be a confident advocate of your child’s success. The more you learn and participate, the higher the level of Power Parent recognition.

Important Insights

All parents want to help their children achieve academic success.

In order to do that, parents need three things:

  • Information about their child’s attendance and performance in school
  • Access to school buildings, leaders, and teachers
  • Opportunities to volunteer, contribute, and become part of a supportive school community

Some parents also need information in the language they speak and write. The more significant the language barrier, the more important it is to make sure parents have access to critical information about their child.

When parents have reasonable access, actionable information, and engagement opportunities, they can be 96% as effective in their child’s academic achievement as a highly effective teacher.

To help parents help their children, educators can begin by removing any systemic or structural barriers to their schools. This may include:

  • putting explicit information online, where it can be translated by browsers
  • offering flexibility in how-when-where parent-teacher conferences happen, accommodating families with non-traditional work schedules
  • eliminating language and conventions that suggest judicial and penal systems rather than supportive educational environments
  • enlisting parent volunteers to welcome new parents to the school community

Expert Resources

Parents from Grand Rapids Public Schools and the broader community are the experts behind Parent University. It was created by and for the parents of GRPS, with a community-centered design process supported by Believe 2 Become.

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 from B2B neighborhood engagement, led by LINC Revitalization 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 of Michigan’s first ever Parent University.

As articulated by the parents, the Parent University vision is to “Help parents be strong advocates of their children’s success.”

Evolve Consulting provided expert facilitation of the parent engagement process behind Parent University.

Creative Change Mission designed and developed the online learning management system behind parents.grps.org.