It’s no secret that when there is strong, healthy parent-teacher communication, students reap the rewards. In fact, studies show that parental involvement can lead to students earning higher grades, attending school more regularly, and participating regularly. Studies have also confirmed that strong parent-teacher partnerships foster higher educational aspirations and give rise to more motivated students (Barton, 2003).*
While communicating with parents can feel daunting on top of everything else you have on your plate, these relationships are invaluable for parents, teachers, and students. To help, we asked Teacher-Authors from the TpT community to share their tried-and-true strategies for communicating with parents and caregivers.
How to Connect with Parents and Caregivers
Use this checklist to help you communicate with parents.
1. Have you made contact with every caregiver?
Make sure you try to communicate with all caregivers. Keep a contact log with updated address, emails, and phone number to track your outreach.
2. Have you done a general check-in?
Use a Google form to get an overview of the child’s learning environment at home, if they have internet access during the day, and how their children are coping. For families without reliable internet, this can be accomplished by a snail mail, text messaging — or better, a phone call.
3. Have you kept it simple?
Parents might be feeling overwhelmed by the many changes. As much as possible, keep your communication simple, organized, and encouraging — and on a regular schedule.
4. Are you accessible for families?
Let families know upfront that you’re ready for feedback and communication. If English is not the first language of your students’ caregivers, try to ensure they receive translated instructions.
5. Have your set your office hours?
You can’t be available 24/7 — nor should you try to be. Make it clear to parents when you have “office hours” and are readily available. Don’t feel guilty about establishing healthy boundaries for yourself.
6. Have you shared an “about me” video or letter?
Film a short “about you” introduction video to send to families and caregivers to watch as a nice face-to-face touch. Keep videos short and sweet. For families without internet access, you can share a little bit about yourself in a letter home.
7. Are you ready to get creative?
Once you’ve tackled a basic foundation of communication, get creative. Maybe you can create a quick, fun weekly newsletter or an online “meet the teacher” call.
* Barton, P. E. (2003). Parsing the Achievement Gap: Baselines for Tracking Progress. Princeton, NJ: Policy Information Report, Educational Testing Service.