Many of you are getting ready to go back to school. Some have even started already. YIKES!
Communicating With Parents
I thought I would post some communication reminders to help get yourself ready to meet the parents. These are not in any particular order, but you really need to think about each one as you start making your plans for the year.
It is important to have a plan in place for how you will communicate the various types of information with parents.
Newsletters - I definitely recommend sending home classroom newsletters. Ideally, weekly is best, but you could also do them monthly or even quarterly. It's important to let parents know what is going on in the classroom and share photos if you are able. There are MANY different templates available that are easy to use. I have many themes that you can check out here.
Business Card / Magnet - When you first meet parents make sure to give them all your contact information. At least that way they can't say they were,'t sure how to get a hold of you. I usually give them business card magnets. I have my cards printed at VistaPrint and put the magnets on myself. It's cheaper that way. Ask parents to stick it on their fridge. That way they have easy access to your contact information.
Welcome Packet - Have welcome packets prepped (with 10-15 extras for any new students throughout the year) With all your back-to-school information and ALL those forms and papers from the school that you can easily hand out to parents at Meet the Teacher, or send home with kiddos the first day of school. I put mine together in large ziploc bags so I can easily add anything new that needs to go in.
Behavior Reports - Decide how you will communicate student behavior with parents. Will you send home weekly or daily reports? Will you just make phone calls when necessary? How will you communicate positive behaviors?
Email - Make sure you have a way to collect contact information from the parents from day 1 because we all know that what the office has is
often very often incorrect. I have forms like this out at Meet the Teacher (it's also a great way to remember who showed up for Meet the Teacher!) and on the first day of school. You can grab a copy of my form by clicking on the image.
Website - Will you have a class website or blog? How will parents be able to access it? What will you include on the site? Prepare an informational note about your website or blog to include in your welcome packet and have the site up for parents to see for Meet the Teacher.
Remind 101 - Does your district allow you to use site/app like Remind 101 to communicate with parents? If so, have all log-in information and details ready and available from the start.
Graded work - How will you ensure that parents receive the graded work that you return to students that often seems to disappear into the vast unknown that is a student's backpack? I have always sent home graded work in a folder on a particular day of the week in a specified folder. Think "Take Home Tuesday" or "Friday Folders." I have found that sending things home on Fridays though, papers tend to not get seen, especially for students who spend weekends with a different parent. Tuesdays have worked well for me. It gives me time to get the quizzes from Friday graded and recorded.
Phone Calls - How and when will you return parent phone calls? Before school, during prep periods, lunch time, after school? Let parent know when they can expect to hear from you should they call and let them know that you cannot take calls during class time. Do not give out your personal telephone information. Unfortunately there are some parents who will abuse it.
Homework - What is your homework policy? Will it be sent home daily, weekly, or not at all. When do you expect it returned to school? Will parents need to help students with homework or should the students be able to complete the work independently?