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Relationships: Staying Connected to Parents

Building relationships with parents and guardians have always been important in education. You’ve heard it preached: reach out to every parent at the beginning of the school year to make positive “deposits”. The reason we were given was not altruistic, though. The reason was somewhat selfish. The main goal was to have a enough positive deposits to be able to withdraw “safely” when you had to reach out about something negative.

Does this mean no one is out there trying to make meaningful relationships with parents? No. Many people are. I posted a survey. Here are the results.

Forms response chart. Question title: Did/do the teachers of your children attempt to create meaningful relationships with you as a parent?. Number of responses: 30 responses.

Forms response chart. Question title: Did/do the administration (principals, counselors, etc.) of your children attempt to create meaningful relationships with you as a parent?. Number of responses: 30 responses.

The very first response included no answers to the first two questions, but the comment “I think we put way too much pressure on teachers and administrators by asking them to create meaningful relationships with us. That’s not what they’re hired to do.”

I agree. Teachers and administrators are not hired to create meaningful relationships with parents, but maybe this falls under “other duties as assigned”. Does this reason alone mean we shouldn’t try to?

The majority of respondents would like teachers and administration to communicate at least once a week, with “newsletter” as the option given in the survey.

Forms response chart. Question title: How much communication do you prefer with your child's school? Choose all that apply.. Number of responses: 24 responses.

Here are some ideas for teachers to create a weekly newsletter without adding hours of work.

  1. As you write your lesson plans throughout the week, add pertinent information for the next week that will help parents and/or students
  2. Highlight one thing from the current week to celebrate (if you use pictures, check release forms first!)
  3. Provide links to the Principal newsletter, district calendar, and mention any important dates ahead
  4. Keep it short and simple!

For principals, the ideas are similar:

  1. As you plan out your next week/month, add pertinent information for the next week that will help parents and/or students
  2. Highlight one thing from the current week to celebrate (if you use pictures, check release forms first!)
  3. Provide links to the district calendar and mention any important date ahead
  4. Keep it short and simple!

Why should we do this? Schools and parents are in partnership and have the same goal: safety and growth of children. Getting connecting and staying connected helps keep communication open between the educator and the parents. A newsletter shows the parents you are thinking about them. A quick note or email that says, “Wow! Adrianna tried her best today!” is priceless. How can you improve your communication? I know I am working on mine!

I’m going to keep this link open to collect more responses. If you would like to take the survey, I would appreciate your feedback!

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