About Parent U

PURPOSE: Parent University aims to support the Equity Goal laid out in our Portland Promise. We want to ensure that each child receives equal access to a challenging and relevant education that empowers them to make a difference in the world. By informing and engaging parents/guardians and building strong partnerships between them and their children’s school, we seek to build stronger relationships among families, teachers, and the community. We hope this effort will promote the healthy development of our students, and help them achieve academic excellence.

Our Guiding Principles:

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in the development of work habits, character traits, and academic success.

Parents’ voices, perspectives, and input are welcomed and highly valued.

Students’ physical and emotional health are directly linked to their academic success.

The diversity of our students and families makes our schools and communities stronger.

Learning is conducted in groups rather than individually, and is focused on building communities and networks for learning.

Preparing and empowering parents is a whole community effort that we can accomplish together.

Why be Involved: Research shows that parents can increase their child’s academic success by being involved in their child’s school and community. When parents engage with their child, we see improvements in student morale, attitude, motivation, and their grades. Families play a huge role in their child’s education. Supporting their learning, encouraging resilience, acting as models for lifelong learning, and advocating for the best placements for their child are all ways that families improve student achievement.


What We Do: Parent University is a partnership between The Portland Public Schools and Parents & Guardians. We provide workshops and events that we hope will help parents be more knowledgeable, confident, and active as advocates for their children. We want parents to play a huge part in the transformation of our schools and neighborhoods as we move forward together.

How does Parent U relate to student learning? Parent University is intentionally aligned with Portland Promise, our strategic plan for improving the way we teach and prepare our students. By partnering with parents/guardians, we hope to continue to support our students and families beyond the classroom. Parent University offers workshops that focus on our four priority areas:

ACHIEVEMENT: Workshops to help parents prepare their children for college and career readiness.

WHOLE STUDENT: Workshops related to children’s social and emotional development.

EQUITY: Workshops related to the role of family engagement in student achievement, and how we can help reduce the achievement gap between groups of students.

PEOPLE: Workshops, partnerships, and events that bring together families, schools, and our community in recognition of the strength of our diversity.

How does it work? Parent U begins each school year with a Kickoff event with a keynote speaker, parent workshops, and a survey of what topics, ideas, and future workshops that parents think would be helpful for them and the school community. Following this event, we will offer a series of workshop “classes” to community parents & guardians. The year will end with a celebration event and prizes will be raffled off to our biggest attendees.


All classes are free and will provide food and childcare. Interpreters will be available upon request.