Maintaining parent-teacher communication throughout the school year is the key to student success. Research has shown that students do better in school when their parent or guardian is involved. Here is a list of ways to keep parents informed with their child's education and encourage them to get involved.
Keeping Parents Informed
To help open the lines of communication, keep parents involved in everything their child is doing in school. Keep them informed about school events, classroom procedures, educational strategies, assignment dates, behavior, academic progress, or anything school related.
Utilize Technology - Technology is a great way to keep parents informed because it allows you to get information out quickly. With a class website you can post assignments, project due dates, events, extended learning opportunities, and explain what educational strategies you are using in the classroom. Providing your email is another quick way to communicate any information about your students progress or behavior issues.
Parent Conferences - Face-to-face contact is the best way to communicate with parents and a lot of teachers choose this option as their main way to communicate. It's important to be flexible when scheduling conferences because some parents can only attend before or after school. During the conference it's important to discuss academic progress and goals, what the student needs work on, and any concerns the parent has with their child or the education that they are being provided with.
Open House - Open house or "Back to School Night" is another way to keep parents informed and make them feel welcome. Provide each parent with a packet of essential information they will need throughout the school year. Within the packet you can include: contact information, school or class website information, educational objectives for the year, classroom rules, etc. This is also a great time to encourage parents to become classroom volunteers, and share information about parent-teacher organizations that they can participate in.
Progress Reports - Progress reports can be sent home weekly, monthly or a few times a year. This way of connecting gives parents tangible evidence of their child's academic progress. It's best to include your contact information in the progress report, just in case parents have any questions or comments about their child's progress.
Monthly Newsletter - A newsletter is a simple way to keep parents informed with important information. Within in the newsletter you can include: monthly goals, school events, assignment due dates, extension activities, volunteer opportunities, etc.
Getting Parents Involved
A great way for parents to get involved in their child's education is to give them the opportunity to volunteer and become involved in school organizations. Some parents may say they are too busy, so make it easy and provide them with a variety of ways to get involved. When you give parents a list of choices, they can decide what works for them and their schedules.
Create an Open-Door Policy - For working parents it can be hard to find the time to get involved in their child's education. By creating an open-door policy in your classroom it will give parents the opportunity to help out, or observe their child whenever it is convenient for them.
Classroom Volunteers - In the beginning of the school year when you send home your welcome letter to students and parents, add a volunteer sign-up sheet to the packet. Also add it to the weekly or monthly newsletter to give parents the option to volunteer anytime throughout the school year.
School Volunteers - There can never be enough eyes and ears to watch over the students. Schools would gladly accept any parent or guardian that would like to volunteer. Give parents the option to choose from any of the following: lunchroom monitor, crossing guard, tutor, library aid, concession stand worker for school events. The opportunities are endless.
Parent-Teacher Organizations - A great way for parents to interact with the teacher and school outside of the classroom is to become involved in parent-teacher organizations. This is for the more dedicated parent who has the some extra time to spare. The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is a national organization that is composed of parents and teachers who are dedicated to help maintain and improve student success.