There’s no doubt that parent engagement in a child’s education is vital to successful growth, but consistently engaging parents can be a source of frustration for teachers. Establishing a strategy that works by showing them that they are a team when it comes to their child is paramount, and cultivating the teacher-parent relationship is also considered vital to the development of schools as learning communities. Considering the strong correlation between student success and parent involvement in the educational process, vital connections made through various forms of communication can’t be overemphasized. In this article, you can find a range of communication tools to maximize the teacher-parent partnership.
Many teachers suggest sending out surveys to parents, especially in the first term of the school year. “Sending surveys to parents at the beginning of the year also helps with getting to know each family. Topics include how parents can contribute throughout the school year to what their child struggles with, to what they want most for their child this year. “Teachers plus parents equals successful students. I want to make sure that the parents understand that I recognize that from the very beginning of the school year,” says lead teacher Sarah Rich, from the online reading program Squiggle Park.
Whether paper or digital, newsletters keep parents updated on what’s happening your class. The Printing Press, sponsored by the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), is an excellent tool where students create all types of newspapers, brochures, flyers, and booklets. There are many templates to choose from, as well as a variety of publishing tools to add interest to the final product.
Give students ownership by having them create the list of topics covered in their newsletter. They can then work collaboratively in assigned roles of "writer," "editor," "researcher," and "graphic designer." Finally, have students share their newsletter with other classrooms and family members.
Gradelink Communication Tools
Did you know that there are several communication tools available in Gradelink? Do everything in one place with these helpful features:
Gradelink’s email blast feature allows for easy messaging to individuals or custom groups.
Under the assignments section, users have the option of utilizing the comments area for specific notes in addition to grades. Additionally, Gradelink offers full-featured commenting for report cards and progress reports.
Want to know how your child’s doing in science class? Parents can set alerts and get auto notifications for low grades or absences. Additionally, Gradelink’s Student/Parent Mobile App gives timely access to assignments, grades, attendance, upcoming homework and more.
Have easy access to your own class web page all inside of Gradelink with Teacher Pages, which lets teachers create personalized web pages to use as announcement boards, newsletters, class pages, and more. Additionally, there are School Pages, which let administrators communicate important events with the entire school. Such pages can also be embedded on your school website.
Gradelink’s calendar feature offers event tracking and planning for a variety of users. The faculty calendar only shows events to your staff, while the all-school calendar is visible to parents and can be embedded on your website. Teachers can have class-specific calendars showing assignments by due date.
An App for Communication
Need an app telling parents what their kids are doing all day? Bloomz has all the bases covered. This (FREE!) communication tool has a functionality that is similar to Facebook, which scores big with many parents who are very comfortable with that interface. Bloomz lets users share photos, links, and messages; select which parents they want to interact with; and schedule events and parent/teacher conferences, and notify parents of them. It also has a variety of comprehensive supports for teachers and parents to respond to messages.
Log Phone Calls
Keep track of phone conferences easily with this free downloadable parent-teacher communication log created by veteran teacher and blogger Angela Watson, who explains that “the log is also really useful if you have highly involved parents, as it will help you keep track of their requests and questions.”
The teacher has unique insight into a child that the parent wouldn’t have without communication. Sharing this insight helps all advocates assist students on a positive, progressive path. Effective strategies make communication with parents as informative and interactive as possible. Every communication exchange, regardless of platform, should reflect a thoughtful, planned approach and is an opportunity which, ultimately, supports students. With so many great tools at your disposal, you’ve got communication covered.