Every day, kids bring home folders full of flyers, reminders, and newsletters. The work and resources that go into creating these documents are wasted when most of these documents end up in a stack of junk mail or the trashcan. Important parent information often disappears forever the moment it lands on the kitchen counter! At worst, parents have no idea what is going on. At best, parents are involved, but teachers are unaware of who is working to make things happen until the day things are due.
There are several action steps that you can take to prevent this. Try these parent-teacher communication ideas today.
1. Be Consistent, Short, & Organized
Problem: Long emails are skimmed and important information is missed.
Solution: Whether you are printing or publishing electronically, the rule of creating professional documents is to leave plenty of white space. Your parent announcements should be presented in a succinct, organized way so parents can easily find what they are looking for.
In this example of a printed weekly newsletter—the type that you are probably currently sending home to parents—there are clearly defined sections, and important areas like announcements, calendars, and spelling words are at the forefront while less significant information comes later.
Tip: Use the same format every week so parents know where to find certain information.
2. Transition to Technology
Problem: Parents need information at their fingertips for it not to be forgotten.
Solution: Teachers and schools should be making the leap from folder to phone. While the occasional flyer home is sometimes necessary, communication should be made convenient. Parents need to be able to read, respond, and receive reminders, all from the electronic devices that they carry with them daily.
3. Email Classroom or Individuals
Problem: Parent communication is oftentimes limited to written notes and phone calls during a minimal planning time.
Solution: With technology, traditional newsletters and other parent communication can be broken down into smaller, more frequent bursts of information.
ClassTag offers a handy option to “Email Classroom”. This is great for weekly announcements or other mass communication with parents. Parent email addresses are all conveniently located for you to access with one click. The ability to send individual messages could be used for individualized Daily Behavior Summaries, Weekly Wrap-Ups, or other reports with personalized information.
4. Add to Calendar
Problem: Life is busy.
Solution: From tests to parties to awards assemblies, creating an event is an easy way to help parents stay organized and prepared. Once you create an event, they can conveniently “Add to Calendar” and set personalized reminders so important things don’t get lost in the busyness.
5. Make Requests
Problem: As a teacher, it is difficult to see who is doing what in response to your communication.
Solution: Events and Requests in ClassTag are public and allow collaboration. Parents can commit to helping or fulfilling requests by clicking the “+” sign under each one. Then, they can add the responsibility to their calendar and set reminders for themselves. Whether or not the requests are linked to an upcoming event, ClassTag makes it easy to create, organize, and remind people of your classroom needs and see their participation.
While you should not completely abandon the traditional methods of school-home announcements, most parents are beginning to expect more up-to-date and convenient forms of communication.
If you are using ClassTag, you can be sure that your information is easy to access and respond to which helps parents be more active participants in your classroom community. Thanks to Events and Requests, you can communicate in a clear, efficient and personable manner — and finally get the response you’ve been hoping for.
Did you find these parent-teacher communication ideas helpful? Comment below and let us know what changes are you planning to implement in your classroom.