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5 Ways Teachers Can Improve the Home-School Connection

by Ellen Ullman, on Dec 12, 2023 2:34:00 PM

Developing positive relationships with students and their families has never been more important. In these post-COVID times, families want to see what their children are doing at school. And as any parent or caregiver will tell you, “stuff” or “nothing” is an unsatisfying but all-too-real answer to “What did you do at school today?”

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep families informed and involved. Here are a handful of strategies that work:

1. Communicate Frequently

In these post-COVID times, parents want to feel more connected; that happens only when they hear from you regularly. It shows them that you are open to feedback and that you want them to be in the loop. People are more likely to reach out to someone who shows that they value communication. Look for a parent communications app that’s easy to use. Might we suggest our favorite? Bloomz.

2. Start a Newsletter

Weekly is great, but if that’s too much, start with monthly. It doesn’t have to be in-depth:  descriptions of current units, assignments, and activities; ideas for how families can connect to the lessons at home; and reminders of upcoming events and days off is a perfect mix. Be sure to include photos; think of the newsletter as a “window into your classroom.” Pro tip: You can use Canva’s free templates to design the newsletter.

3. Be Proactive
Check in with families regularly, perhaps by reaching out to 10 families a week. Sending regular check-ins about a child’s progress can build a positive relationship and make it easier if you need to share less-positive news in the future.

4. Involve Families (When Appropriate)
Whenever possible, involve parents and guardians in the decision-making process. This helps to build trust and lets them know you value them. Invite parents into your classroom to read a story,  provide reading support, lead a craft, or share something from their culture.

5. Focus on Relationships
Families want to know that you care about their children—even after they’ve gone home. Find ways to learn about your student’s families, interests, and hobbies so that you can show parents you care about more than assignments. Let parents know that you know their child. If possible, host informational sessions on topics such as how to offer academic support or how to encourage a love of reading. 

An important note: Don’t let language barriers stop you from reaching out. Tools like Bloomz can help by offering automatic translation services in 133 different languages.

We all know that building strong relationships with families offers positive results and creates a more rewarding educational experience. Feel free to offer additional suggestions of your own; send them to Ellen Ullman for inclusion in an upcoming blog.