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.


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. 


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



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.



Chosen text from Bibliography plus all handout materials, case study, and samples.
Text may be purchased directly from publishing companies.
List of all companies and phone numbers are located in the back of the student manual.

None. All reading is online.


Once you register, log onto the instructorʼs website at Click on Classes, then scroll down and click on Parents: Adversary or Ally? manual. The manual will download as a PDF file to your computer.



Assignment #1:  Read the Manual.

Read all materials enclosed in the manual.

Assignment #2:  Read Your Chosen Text.

Read a book from the Bibliography or one of your choice, with the instructorʼs approval.
If taking this course in a group, each person should read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary.
Write a 2-3 page summary of main ideas and key points.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #2.ʼ

Assignment #3:  Parent Involvement Form.

Read and answer questions on the “Parent Involvement Form”.
Scan or photocopy the form.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #3.ʼ

Assignment #4:  Student Candidate.

Choose a "focus” student for this class.  Read the file of student, interview teachers who have taught family members, and obtain additional information.
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. Call a minimum of 5 students or parents.
Log and send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #5.ʼ

Assignment #6:  Summary of Findings.

Write a 2-3 page summary of your findings during the phone call conferences you had with a parent.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #6.ʼ

Assignment #7:  Discussion with an Educator.

Discuss the phone call process or the home visit strategies with another educator.
Describe what aspects of existing practice pose a barrier to implementing desired practice. Describe any areas that need improvement and how you will make modifications. State any unanswered questions that may still exist.
Summarize your reflections in a 1-2 page paper.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #7.ʼ



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 are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #8:  Home Visits.

Thoroughly study the handout on home visits.
Set up a home visit with a family, preferably the family of the student chosen.
Analyze the family dynamics and styles and compare those to the styles found in the manual.
Write a 2-3 page summary. 
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #8.ʼ

Assignment #9:  Lesson Development.

Assignment #9:  You must choose either “A” or “B”  (Required for 400 and 500 Level) 
Assignment #A: (SEND commentary to Instructor)
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.
(The following is encouraged but not required):
Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by also contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library located at
Assignment #B:  (SEND lesson and summary to Instructor)
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.
 (The following is encouraged but not required):
Please refer to the guidelines on our blog prior to writing your article.
Please email a copy to Rebecca Blankinship ( THI blog curator and media specialist. 
Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
Subject line to read: (Course Name, Blog)
Send to instructor:, Subject Line to read ʻParents  #9 (A or B.)ʼ

Assignment #10:  (500 Level only)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options: 
Option A)  Get feedback from a parent regarding a home visit (comfort level, connection with you, likes and dislikes). Write a 2 page summary. 
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #10-A.ʼ
Option B)  Another assignment of your own design, with the instructorʼs prior approval.
Send to instructor: Subject line to read ʻParents #10-B.ʼ


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

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

  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?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Mike Sedler, D.Min., M.S.W. brings over 30 years of educational experience as an administrator, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.  

He provides consultation services and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses.  He has been teaching “adult learning classes” since the mid 1980’s and has had the privilege of working for The Heritage Institute for over 25 years. 

He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification (K-8).  His combination of classroom experience, behavior intervention approaches, and involvement in working with hundreds of families allows for an excellent blend in all his classes.

Mike is passionate about children and emphasizes the importance of avoiding power struggles, offering options/choices to children, setting clear boundaries and guidelines as well as finding a place of positive engagement and connection with each individual.  His heart for people and emphasis on positive communication are found throughout his seminars and classes.

All of Mike’s classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found ongoing success in implementing Mike’s clear and concise approaches.


PARENTS: ADVERSARY OR ALLY? A Cooperative Approach


Akabas. Meg and Bernstein, Fred.  52 Weeks Of Parenting Wisdom.  Parenting Solutions Press, 2012.  Once per week lessons to help on a variety of topics (grades P-12.) 

Canter, Lee.  Parents On Your Side.  Solution Tree, 2008.  Assisting teachers to gain parent support (grades K-12.)  800 733 6786.

Cline, Foster, and Fay, Jim. Parenting With Love And Logic. Love and Logic Institute. 2014. New approaches to working with children (grades K - 12.)    800 455 7557.

Criswell, Heather.  How To Raise A Happy Child. Everyday Genius Institute, 2013.  Helps you become stronger in parenting skills with positive approaches  (grades K-8)   415 524 7342.

Hutchins, Darcy and Epstein, Joyce, et al.  Family Reading Night.  Routledge press, 2014.  Guidelines for schools to host family reading nights (grades P-6.)   800 634 7064.

Kastner, Laura and Wyatt, Jennifer. Getting To Calm.  Parent Map, 2009.  Addresses emotional regulation for parents (grades P-12.)   206 709 9026.

Kyle, Diane and McIntyre, Ellen, et al. Bridging School and Home Through Family Nights. Skyhorse Publishing, 2015.  Guide for families to develop family nights (grades K-12.)    212 643 6816.

Le Messurier, Mark. Parenting Tough Kids. Skyhorse Publishing, 2015. Simple proven strategies to help kids succeed (grades K-9.)   212 643 6816.

Lott, Lynn.  Chores Without Wars. Taylor Trade Publishing, 2012. Helping families work together as a team (grades K-12; adult.)  800 462 6420.

Nelsen, Jane, et al. Positive Discipline Series. Empowering People Inc. 2011. Create cooperation and self-discipline in students (grades K - 12, series.)  800 456 7770. 

Payne, Ruby. A Framework For Understanding Poverty. Aha! Process, Inc, 2013. Understanding the link between poverty and learning (grades K -12; adult.)  800 424 9484.

Rudney, Gwen.  Every Teachers Guide To Working With Parents. Corwin Press, 2005. How to partner with parents (grades K-12.)    800 233 9936.

Tingley, Suzanne.  How To Handle Difficult Parents. Prufrock Press, 2012.  A variety of parenting styles explored and solutions to challenging behaviors discussed. (grade P-12)   800 998 2208.