The school year is well underway, and you are settling into your new rhythm. You have had several weeks to get to know your students, assess which ones will need extra support, and begin to form relationships with your parents. The tone you set and the connections you make in the first couple of months are critical for the success of the year. Here are some best practices to consider implementing.
Send home a personal introduction. Where are you from? Who is in your family? What do you like to do in your free time? Create a one-page letter (with photos!) that briefly introduces who you are. Letting your students and their families know about your hobbies, interests, and personal life humanizes you and makes you more approachable.
Make contact information easily accessible. Parents should have the information they need to get a hold of you and the school administration. Give out your school email and phone number in multiple places, such as at the top of a welcome packet, in their child’s assignment book, and at the bottom of all your emails. Make it easy for them to connect with you.
Hold an Open House. Invite parents to the classroom to meet you, spend time in the space, ask any questions they have, and learn about your expectations for the school year. Have school and homework policies printed out—and translated—for them. This is a great way to set the tone and personally connect with parents.
Involve parents in homework assignments. Regularly include home discussions as part of homework completion. Provide parents with questions to ask, books to read, and topics to explore with their children. Send home folders of student work for parents to review. You can even include materials on typical developmental milestones and expectations for the child’s age.
Create volunteer opportunities. Send a quick survey to your parents to see what areas they would be interested in volunteering. Does a parent want to help you hang student work in the hallway or assist in an experiment in science class? Is anyone interested in being on the PTA? Provide parents with a list of volunteer opportunities and train them so they feel empowered to help fill the need.
Provide a directory of community resources and services. Busy parents are often unaware of some amazing resources your school and community offer. Create a master list of services so parents can find the support they need.
Regularly communicate with parents. More than anything, regular communication and touchpoints with parents will go a long way in establishing strong relationships. Consider sending a weekly or monthly newsletter. Even the busiest parents want to be involved in their child’s life.
Parents are an invaluable resource for both you and your students. Implementing simple practices consistently will set the foundation for a great year ahead.
HIPPY’s mission is to help parents prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Contact us today to learn more!