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Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training

Mother and childWhat is PFAST?

The Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST) program is a fun training offered at no-cost to Durham County residents. The training explains how to navigate your child’s school. During the training we talk about different themes related to how to transform the educational experience for your child.

When is PFAST?

PFAST is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters each year. Contact Christa Gibson at for information on dates in the upcoming semester.

Where will PFAST Take Place?

In the Fall of 2021, PFAST will be offered virtually through a Zoom online meeting platform. You will be able to access the classes via telephone (audio only) or computer/smart phone/tablet (for full video and audio).

Family playing soccerWhat Does Each Session Cover?

Week One: What is parent engagement?

In this week’s session we’ll get to know one another and introduce the topic of parent engagement. We will focus on best practices for supporting your child’s overall physical and emotional well-being and how this leads to better student outcomes. We’ll discuss the top ten practices that parents can engage in to support their children during COVID-19 and when life gets back to normal. Parents will end the session by setting three goals to work on for the remainder of the course.

Week Two:  Navigating Our Public Schools

In this week’s session we will touch upon the organization and structure of Public Schools, with a specific focus on school choice including Durham Public School Options and charter schools. We will discuss ways to connect with your child’s school and practice school communication scenarios.

Week Three: Maximizing Parent-Teacher Conferences

This week will explore practices that make for successful parent-teacher conferences, with a focus on virtual communication skills.

Week Four: School Communication and Your Communication Style

In this week’s session, we will discuss communication styles and barriers with the goal of improving your ability to be assertive in the school setting.

Week Five: Your Student & Accountability

In week five, we’ll discuss all of the ways that your student is assessed in the public school systems, including academic standards and report cards. We’ll discuss high school graduation requirements. We’ll also brainstorm ways to support our children during virtual learning.

Week Six: School Accountability & Virtual Learning

This week we will discuss ways in which schools are kept accountable for student performance including End of Grade and End of Course Tests and Title I, TSI & CSI programs.

Week Seven: Support Programs

This week will provide a brief overview of support services for which your child may be eligible including exceptional children services, advanced or intellectually gifted services, and English as a second language support.

Week Eight: Moving to Action

In this session, we’ll revisit the goals established in session two, work on a longer-term family education action plan, and of course celebrate your graduation from the program!

Do I Have to Attend Every Session?Child reading

Although we understand that sometimes life interferes, we encourage parents to attend as many sessions as they can. To further incentive attendance, we’ll be raffling a gift to one parent each week. Parents who complete six of the eight sessions will also receive a certificate of completion and be eligible for enrolling in our Parents as Leaders (PAL) Leadership Academy.

I Want to Learn About an Educational Topic Not Included in This Curriculum

We will also be holding virtual stand-alone workshops throughout the academic year that are open to anyone in the community. If there are topics you’d like to recommend, please contact Christa Gibson at

How do I sign up?

While we are not enrolling for the next semester yet, you can complete this interest form to be notified of dates of the next class.

Children using computer

I Still Have Questions!

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Christa Gibson at or at 919-560-5438.