30 Aug Building Bridges Between Home and School

August 30, 2016

Teacher Sitting at a School Desk Showing a Book to a Parent and Her Son

5 Tips for Effective Communication Between Home and School

By Naama Yefet, Account Manager,
Training and Support at Accelify

Strong communication between home and school is key to student success. When parents become involved in school, research shows that children are more likely to engage in positive behavior, to be more motivated to learn, to have more regular attendance, and to possess a more positive attitude about school all around. The same applies to teachers who make a point of targeting out of school factors. According to because students spend only 25% of their time in school, if teachers and schools work together to target out-of-school factors, they can help improve performance and lower student dropout numbers (Rogers and Kraft, 2014).

­So as the new school year commences, we have put together a list of a few key ways educators can open the lines of communication with parents to improve outcomes for students.

 

    1. Make a First Impression:

 

During your school’s open house, welcome parents with a smile, establishing a positive and friendly environment. Passing out a survey with questions about their child will help you get to know your students as people and learners and demonstrate your interest in your student to their parents. You can ask about their child’s strengths/weaknesses, hobbies, favorite or least favorite foods, and favorite places to visit. Children will not only like to hear what their parents have said about them but seeking advice from parents helps win their respect and gain their support. You can also outline expectations for the school year, tell them a little about your professional background, and share important contact numbers and rules for your classroom to further establish rapport.

 

    1. Take Advantage of School Events and Scheduled Meetings:

 

Parent/teacher conferences are a precious opportunity to communicate your student’s progress in the classroom. Take advantage of this opportunity and start by saying something positive about the student so that it sets the tone for the rest of the conversation and eases any anxieties the parents may have. Allow the parents to voice their concerns and comments after you share yours. Collaborate with the parent to discuss a plan for their child and establish measurable goals. Make sure to document your parent teacher conferences and keep a log of parent requests and questions.

 

    1. Establish Regular, Easy-to-access Channels of Communication:

 

Create a class newsletter, blog, or website that can keep parents up to date on what is happening in the classroom. You will need to obtain signed media release forms if you have students contribute to the blog or post photos of students. This is a great way to remind parents of upcoming events, due dates, homework, and project deadlines. In addition, you can display student projects to highlight their success and provide links to websites and additional resources.

 

    1. Use Technology:

 

Communication through technology is a key component of enhancing the way parents and teachers interact. A study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that student engagement in a summer school program increased when families received daily phone calls and written text messages from teachers. Another study concluded that emails between teachers and parents held a relationship to increased homework completion.

To this point, there are many apps and other technology solutions out there that can facilitate parent-teacher communication. Remind, Kaymbu, and Tadbolesall offer a free text-messaging service for schools. SchoolMessenger, a platform used by schools to more effectively communicate with families and improve community engagement, has recently been adopted by San Francisco Unified School District.

So as you head back to school this year, remember that communication between parents and teachers is critical to student success and exploring new –and old—technologies can help you find the best way to communicate with your students’ parents. There are countless communication opportunities currently available, ranging from phone calls to parent conferences to the use of various modes of technology, it’s just a matter of determining what works best for you and the families of your students.

Communication with parents should be a series of ongoing exchanges about your student throughout the year. In this way, parents will stay keyed into their child’s progress and feel comfortable discussing any concernts with you about their child, which can help you better differentiate.. Every communication exchange should be seen as an opportunity for you to promote parent partnerships, which will result in greater support, increase student motivation, and ensure all students are working towards their academic potential.

 

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