Positive family–school–community relationships are associated with student success. Creating successful relationships with parents is an important but difficult task for teachers to master. Therefore, teacher candidates need opportunities to learn how to develop collaborative relationships with parents of all children, including children with disabilities. This paper describes the implementation of the Families as Faculty Program (FAF), jointly developed by a parent center and a special education program at a southwestern university.
The purpose of this program is to prepare teachers and other professionals in the community to work collaboratively with parents in an effort to improve services, develop partnerships, and to increase positive outcomes for students across the full range of disabilities. This program provides teacher candidates with a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from parents who agree to share their experiences and stories about the strengths, differences, and challenges of raising a child with disabilities. This article describes the way in which FAF was integrated into a graduate-level course in a special education master’s degree program. Information is given on how other teacher preparation programs can access materials created through FAF for their own programs. [article abstract]