When families feel welcomed and are able to engage in what is happening at school the foundations of a fruitful partnership between the school and home are built. Traditionally, communication from schools to families has been mostly one-way. However, with both parents often working full-time, advancements in technology, and what we know about the effects of family engagement on a child’s educational success, there is a greater need for two-way communication that builds relationships between school staff and parents/families.
Families depend on school staff to report and inform them about their student’s progress or problems. The goal of family engagement staff is to ensure that you understand your child’s educational path, and that your child has access to the programs and services they need.
Parent/Teacher conferences are a direct way to receive information from the teacher, but these are not held often enough to address some of the challenges our students and their families face. How do we communicate more frequently to keep you informed?
There are several channels our schools use to keep you informed:
- Most elementary schools utilize weekly folders that go home every week, and include a school newsletter or flyers for upcoming events. Taking just a few moments each week to read everything that comes home with your child helps ensure that all families are informed of school events, new instructional practices, as well as critical programs and services.
- School principals and staff often post messages to the school etree, and it is usually very easy to subscribe by email. School etrees are the primary mode of regular communication from school to middle and high school families.
- Parent groups and the school often sponsor topical events that focus on understanding the curriculum, child development, or fun family and community building gatherings, all intended to offer access and support families.
- Another way parents stay involved is by attending school site committees. All schools have parent groups that can serve as both sources of information as well as support to parents and often include, Parent Teacher Association (PTA), English Learner Advisory Council (ELAC), Parent of Children with African American Decent (PCAD), and Student Governance Council (SGC).
If you feel out of the loop on what is happening at school or want to share more about your child, we encourage you to reach out to school and/or after school staff.
The best way to engage with your child’s education is by getting to know your child’s teacher(s). Ask them questions: Where did your child’s teacher grow up? Why did they start teaching? Share somethings about yourself. As humans, the more comfortable we are with each other the more we build trust.
Take a chance and get to know a new person at your child’s school and see what happens!