The Friday Institute Launches Parents Guide to Support Student Learning

Raleigh, NC — The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation in the College of Education at NC State University launched a guide for parents, guardians, mentors and other adults to support student learning. Letting Students LEAD is an accompaniment to the recently launched, first-of-its-kind online course that helps students understand their own learning.

Letting Students LEAD is a guide that helps adults work with children who are taking the course Students LEAD (Learn, Explore, & Advocate Differently). Adults will learn alongside their students, engage in meaningful conversation and identify strategies that will support learning in and outside the classroom. The guide also includes activities to do with students; discussion starters; resources, such as videos; and websites and apps.

Since the recent launch, more than 600 students have completed the Students LEAD course. The course was developed to help students, especially those who may struggle with attention, time management, memory, or expressing ideas, understand that they are not alone and that specific strategies can support their learning.

The Letting Students LEAD parent guide thoughtfully steps through each part of the course, including:

  • Focusing on strengths: Completion of a “Learner Sketch” will highlight a child’s strengths and challenges and begin to provide strategies and tools to support the child holistically.
  • Exploring strategies at home: Adults and students will select and dig deeply into two focus areas, choosing from among attention, memory, expressing ideas and organization and time management.
  • Advocating at school: Students will be encouraged to take ownership of their learning experience by utilizing strategies, tools and their strengths to support their weaknesses and advocate for themselves when necessary.

Upon completion of the Students LEAD course, students receive a personalized Advocacy Plan, which outlines their strengths and challenges and makes recommendations to consider. Students are encouraged to share this with their teachers or others who support their learning.

“My high school sophomore struggles with his time management and homework,” said Darren Hudgins, parent. “As a parent, I want to support my child in every way that I can, but I constantly felt like I was being a nag. Working alongside my son as he developed his own personalized Advocacy Plan gave both of us a sense of agency and hope for future success. The Letting Students LEAD parent guide was tremendously helpful in opening up a constructive dialogue about the challenges my son was facing and how I can help him thrive.”

“The response to Students LEAD has been overwhelming,” said Mary Ann Wolf, director of digital learning programs at the Friday Institute. “We realized that we had an opportunity to help parents share in the journey of their child’s learning. The course is not like anything else out there, taking a unique, research-based approach. As parents open up conversations with their children about their strengths and weaknesses and better understand the ways to address certain areas, I believe everyone will see the benefits.”

Students LEAD was developed in partnership with the Oak Foundation in coordination with middle and high school students from across the country, as well as with like-minded organizations, including Eye to Eye, AVID, East Wake Academy (N.C.), Project Tomorrow and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (NC). The students were instrumental in sharing ideas about the value and impact through videos, particularly the real-life stories of four different Eye to Eye students’ experiences with learning differences and leveraging their strengths in and outside of school.

To learn more about Students LEAD, visit


About The PLLC at the Friday Institute

Since 2007, the Professional Learning and Leading Collaborative (PLLC) at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation has emphasized leadership in and promoted pedagogical shifts to personalized and digital learning in order to inspire, innovate and coach. We engage educators at all levels to provide research based, job-embedded models and approaches for strategic planning and professional development with the belief that all students deserve access to equitable, personalized learning experiences. For more information visit

Media Contact: Stacey Finkel