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PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
Girl on horseback with many ribbons

Family Engagement Continues to Shift

The overall goal for supporting families, with all of their complexity and diversity, is to maximize their capacity, strengths and unique abilities. We do this so they can best support, nurture, love and facilitate opportunities for the achievement of their children. All families want children who exhibit signs of self-determination, interdependence and productivity. This will greater the chances of integration and inclusion in all facets of community life.

PEATC believes that engaging the family engages the child and positively impacts our schools and communities. We consider Family Engagement the foundation for all of the activities we provide. This document outlines the initiatives we provide at no cost to schools to fortify your parent engagement initiatives. Traditional family engagement activities are being replaced with more out-of-the box strategies.

Family Engagement Initiatives

Solid Foundation Program

The Solid Foundations Program is PEATC’s flagship family engagement program. This program looks at the connections between the school and the families it serves and makes recommendations for strengthening family-school connections. This program can even be used to systematically review school improvement plan family engagement efforts. The program builds a school community, uniting the efforts of parents, teachers, and students so that all children establish a solid foundation of reading, studying and responsible behavior. PEATC staff helps to facilitate the activities using this program.

Families Engaging Families Networking Call

Families Engaging Families networking calls are hosted monthly for parents throughout Virginia. Family engagement looks different for some of our families. Sometimes jumping on the telephone for 30 minutes is what parents can manage in there busy lives. These interactive calls will provide parents with new techniques and strategies to strengthen their collaborative relationships with their child’s school. Workshops and information sessions are held on the calls. These calls give families a chance to engage with other families regularly around the common goal to strengthen family engagement. PEATC staff can facilitate and customize family engagement calls for your school around subjects that are of interest to your school community.

VTSS Workshops

PEATC is a partner in the DOE’s Virginia Tiered Systems of Support effort. PEATC’s role is to develop and disseminate information to parents as it relates to the schools VTSS work. It is our mission to promote understanding and support of the school’s efforts to implement evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. PEATC is looking forward to the opportunity to customize a workshop that details the VTSS efforts in parent friendly-easy to understand language. These workshops can be provided in English and in Spanish.

PEATC Workshops (for parents and professionals)

The Power of Engaging Families

Creating a synergy between parents and schools around authentic family engagement initiatives can lead to better outcomes for students. During this interactive workshop, parents and professionals will explore their personal definition of family engagement and examine how their individual participation contributes to the partnership of shared responsibility for the success of all children. Participants will consider strategies that move from random and isolated family engagement efforts to more systemic, integrated, responsive and sustainable approaches to family engagement. Local and state level examples of these strategies will be shared.

Understanding Diversity

Diversity exists in places we don’t always think to look. A community itself is a grouping of pieces which delightfully interlock to create a unique landscape. In this workshop, through activities and discussion, we will authentically dive into issues of race, class, gender and other forms of bias that affect teaching, student learning and achievement. Welcoming people of diverse backgrounds into our lives helps develop a population that will not only share mutual respect but allows us to find joy in the different threads which make each of us unique.

Understanding Conflict

What are some causes and triggers to conflict specifically for IEP meetings? Lack of knowledge about the topic, preprogrammed opposition, misunderstanding of the message of the other, pressure to have the conclusion before the meeting, personal trauma or history… we could go on and on. This workshop will review overlooked and promising practices identified in recent research about parent-school conflict in education. Participants will walk away with knowledge about the research and steps for implementation to address conflict.

PEATC Workshops (for professionals)

Bullying Prevention for Administrators and Teachers

This workshop is designed to help safeguard schools against bullying. The objective of the workshop is to arm attendees with research based information on best practices in bullying prevention. Attendees will leave with the ability to distinguish accurately between bullying and other forms of aggression. Attendees will also leave with strategies that will help foster a school culture that averts the development and reduces the occurrence of bullying.

PEATC Workshops (for parents)

Is Your Child a Target of Bullying?

This free workshop offers intervention strategies for parents of children with disabilities who may be the target of bullying at school. Participants will learn how to: identify types of bullying, develop strategies to prevent bullying, identify responses to bullying, talk to their child about bullying, obtain help from professionals and find out about disability harassment laws. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish.

The Journey to Adulthood: Puberty and Sexuality

A candid and practical discussion that offers parental strategies for assisting young adults with disabilities to (1) successfully navigate puberty, and (2) meet the emerging expectations of adult life. This research-based curriculum was developed in response to interviews with 1200 families from a variety of cultural perspectives. This workshop is offered in both English and Spanish.

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2017 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

Celebrating 30 Years of Building Better Futures for Virginia's Children

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