Marietta College receives Parents as Partners grant from ODE

Education professor Bill Bauer

Marietta College’s Dr. Bill Bauer, McCoy Professor of Education, believes educators sometimes forget the importance of parents in the teaching process and he would like to include them more in the educating of children with disabilities.

The Ohio Department of Education Office of Exceptional Children agrees with Bauer and recently approved the Parents as Partners grant, which is designed to help engage parents of children with disabilities as partners in a co-teaching model in three education courses. The grant provides Marietta College with $23,979 in funding to support the program over the next two years.

Bauer said those courses will begin in the fall.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students to learn directly from parents of children with disabilities in our area,” Bauer said. “Parents often add a unique perspective regarding their child’s lives. We as educators, forget that parents are their child’s FIRST teachers and while we have them in our classrooms for less than six and a half hours a day, they have them the remaining time. The knowledge base that parents can provide our students will be immeasurable.”

He added that as faculty are teaching about specific disabilities (intellectual disability, learning disability, emotional disturbance, autism, health impairments, hearing and visual impairments), parents will come to class to present about their experiences to best learn about the specific disability. 

Parents will also make presentations, observe students to help students best understand from family members about specific disabilities and ways to navigate the learning environment and social and healthcare services to support a child’s education and their family.

“This is a chance to draw the parents into the classroom, and helps the educators to view the parents as expert consultants in the learning experience,” Bauer said.

The Fort Frye Beverly Center is a local partner and a location for onsite courses.