Starting the Year Off Strong: Establishing Communication Procedures with Parents
The bulletin boards are up, your lesson plans are done, and you’ve completed your in-service days. This can only mean one thing…it’s time for a new school year! There are some sayings that seasoned staff are sure to hear and repeat year after year. Some they will say for novice staff, and some they will say to remind themselves. But there is one rule that is tried and true that can’t be repeated too much: Teach procedures at the beginning of the year to set yourself up for success. When people say this, they are frequently referring to the students; however, this rule should be applied to teaching parents procedures as well! Below are some common practices that you will want to share with your students’ parents and get them used to from the beginning of the school year!
How should parents contact you if they have a question? Send a note, call the office to schedule a meeting, or message you on Snap! Connect? Make sure you share your expectations to set you both up for success.
How can parents expect to hear from you? Do you publish a newsletter, post on Snap! Connect, call home? And how often? They may also want to know how they can expect to hear from you if there is a problem. Make sure that they not only know but help parents get in the habit of checking the correct source of communication by using it from Day 1.
How often does HW come home, how should it be submitted, when is it due? The answers to these questions will be (mostly) consistent across the school year, so you might as well get parents used to them now!
Forms and Signatures
As the year progresses, you will certainly send home papers that need to be returned to school. Where should parents be looking for these and how will they know when they’re coming home? There is usually a lot of paperwork at the beginning of the year, so make sure you treat them as you would any other form to get parents used to your routines.
Some parents are eager to volunteer and/or chaperone trips! How will they know when these are coming and how do they sign up? Do they send you a Snap! Connect message, fill out a form? Make sure to tell them what to expect so they aren’t worried that they’re missing out!
You will certainly create a classroom community and form strong relationships with your students as the school year begins and over the coming months. However, the power in the potential relationships between you and your students’ parents can’t be overstated! Setting predictable procedures can help you in forming and maintaining these relationships. A program such as Snap! Connect can not only help you establish these relationships but can help the parents reach out to any staff and best support their child’s education.
Emily Williams, Snap! Connect (formerlySchoolCNXT) Editorial Team and former teacher