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Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training FAQs

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. This year’s sessions will also include topics related to supporting your child’s education during virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When is PFAST?

The current English language training starting at the end of September is full. To be placed on a waiting list, please email Christa Gibson at

Where will PFAST Take Place?

In the Fall of 2020, 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). After you complete the registration form below, we will send you information about how to access the weekly meetings.

Family playing soccerWhat Does Each Session Cover?

Week One: What is parent engagement in the age of virtual learning

In this week’s session we’ll get to know one another and introduce the topic of parent engagement in the age of at-home learning. We’ll also share community resources that can be used to support your family in these times.

Week Two: Supporting our children’s well-being and academic success in the age of virtual learning

This week’s session 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 Three: Improving Parent-School Communication

In week three, we’ll explore school structures, including who’s who in the school system. This session is designed to help parents identify who can help them with specific issues or challenges their child is facing.

Week Four: Maximizing Parent-Teacher Conferences

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

Week Five: Your Student & Assessments

In week five, we’ll discuss all of the ways that your student is assessed in the public school systems, including academic standards, report cards, and end of class/end of grade exams.

Week Six: 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 Seven: 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 card to one parent each week. Parents who complete five of the seven sessions will also receive a certificate of completion and a ‘graduation package’ full of surprises to help you apply the lessons you learned during PFAST at home.

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. Right now, we have plans for workshops on Exceptional Children, Advanced & Intellectually Gifted children, English Language Learners, School Choice, and tutorials on using platforms and Apps such as Google Classroom and Power School.

If there are other topics you’d like to recommend, please contact Christa Gibson at

Children using computerI Still Have Questions!

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