Graduate School of Education students meet with a Willamette Academy parent to discuss parent-teacher relationships.Graduate School of Education students meet with a Willamette Academy parent to discuss parent-teacher relationships.

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Graduate School of Education partners with Willamette Academy

Willamette University's Graduate School of Education partnered with families from Willamette Academy this month to develop tactics for improving the parent-teacher relationship, connecting homes and schools to improve children's learning.

Students in Willamette Academy, the university's college-access supplemental education program for underrepresented youths, frequently come from families in which no one has attended college. Associated socioeconomic factors can complicate communication with teachers.

The partnership with the Graduate School of Education helps families address these challenges and provide practice experience for students seeking their master's in teaching.

Parents outlined their questions and concerns in a survey, which students reviewed. Students formulated their own questions based on the surveys, readings and classroom experiences.

This week, parents and students met in small groups for related discussions, and students will use those discussions to create guidelines for developing effective parent-teacher relationships.

"We see this as an excellent opportunity to expose students to issues they will face as teachers," interim dean Rita Moore said. "How parents reinforce school lessons affects children's academic success and the rest of their lives. We hope that the lessons shared through these discussions will improve communication between parents and teachers."

The Graduate School of Education offers two degree programs, the master of arts in teaching (MAT) and master's in education (MEd). Specialty endorsement programs and an administrative licensure are also offered for licensed teachers. Through its Center for Excellence in Teaching, Willamette also provides continuing education courses for teachers and administrators. 

Willamette Academy is committed to empowering youth who have the desire and potential to advance to higher education, targeting those who are historically underrepresented at U.S. colleges and universities.