Starting off the school year with great parent communication is essential to continue to have a great school year. The home-to-school connection is necessary for the parents, the students, and the teachers.
“When parents are involved at school, the performance of all the children at school, not just their own, tends to improve. The more comprehensive and well-planned the partnership between school and home, the higher the student achievement.” Henderson, A.T., and Nancy Berla. 1995. A New Generation of Evidence: The Family Is Critical to Student Achievement.
By doing these few things, you will start the year off on the right foot, allowing for a great home-to-school connection all year long.
Send home a note or handbook telling parents exactly how and when to reach you. Set expectations, so there is never any problem when you don’t answer quickly enough or through the right channel. When it is set in stone it helps you to feel okay with the fact that you are not attached to your school email/communication service 24/7 and it lets the parents know when and how to reach you.
Examples of expectations:
1. The teacher checks their email before school starts, at planning, and again at the end of the day. The emails will be answered within twenty-four work hours. Do not expect replies on the weekends or evenings.
2. I send all of my classroom pictures and notes through (app of choice). Please sign up for that app to receive the updates.
3. If you need to schedule a conference or phone call please give me 24 hours notice.
One thing that is important at the beginning of the year is that you learn about the family structure that your students have. Parents will gain a TON of respect for you right out the gate if they see that you care about their family and what is happening in their home. This gives the parents a positive first impression of the teacher.
I send home a culture survey that asks about the holidays the family celebrates, what their family structure looks like in the home, and any other things they would like me to know. This is a great way for you to plan lessons that reach your students, but also to gain a positive rapport with the family.
You can get this survey for free by signing up below!
Y’all, the first weeks of school can be tough on parents too! Send lots of pictures of what their kiddos are doing! I love using the Remind App for this because it can be sent straight to the parent’s phone like a text and they don’t have to download or learn anything new! The more quick pics that you can send to your families, the more they will feel connected to you and to the school.
Positive Note Within the First Month
A goal that each teacher should have is to make a positive interaction with every family as soon as possible. Tell them something that you already see in their kiddo and how their year is starting out. You can just send quick emails or texts through your communication app! It doesn’t have to be fancy handwritten notes unless you have great penmanship and love to write, then you go for it! 😉
This helps the relationship you have with the parents and it makes sure the first interaction you have with them is not a negative one!
Well there you have it, four quick tips to make sure that you start your year off on a positive note with your families!