The Hero Focus

Heritage Staff Newsletter - January 24, 2017

Building Parent-Teacher Relationships

Parent Benefits

Positive parent-school communications benefit parents. The manner in which schools communicate and interact with parents affects the extent and quality of parents' home involvement with their children's learning. For example, schools that communicate bad news about student performance more often than recognizing students' excellence will discourage parent involvement by making parents feel they cannot effectively help their children.

Parents also benefit from being involved in their children's education by getting ideas from school on how to help and support their children, and by learning more about the school's academic program and how it works. Perhaps most important, parents benefit by becoming more confident about the value of their school involvement. Parents develop a greater appreciation for the important role they play in their children's education.

When communicating with parents, consider your remarks in relation to the three categories that influence how parents participate. For example, are you communicating about:

· Classroom learning activities?

· The child's accomplishments?

· How the parents can help at home with their child's learning?

Student Benefits

Substantial evidence exists showing that parent involvement benefits students, including raising their academic achievement. There are other advantages for children when parents become involved — namely, increased motivation for learning, improved behavior, more regular attendance, and a more positive attitude about homework and school in general.

Teacher Benefits

Research shows that parental involvement can free teachers to focus more on the task of teaching children. Also, by having more contact with parents, teachers learn more about students' needs and home environment, which is information they can apply toward better meeting those needs. Parents who are involved tend to have a more positive view of teachers, which results in improved teacher morale.

Good Two-Way Communication

Good two-way communication between families and schools is necessary for your students' success. Not surprisingly, research shows that the more parents and teachers share relevant information with each other about a student, the better equipped both will be to help that student achieve academically.

Opportunities for two-way communication include:

· Parent conferences

· Parent-teacher organizations or school community councils

· Weekly or monthly folders of student work sent home for parent review and comment

· Phone calls

· E-mail or school website

Communication Strategies

Personal contact, including conferences, home visits, telephone calls, and curriculum nights or open houses, seems to be the most effective form of communication and may be among the most familiar. However, the establishment of effective school-home communication has grown more complex as society has changed. The great diversity among families means that it is not possible to rely on a single method of communication that will reach all homes with a given message. It is essential that a variety of strategies, adapted to the needs of particular families and their schedules, be incorporated into an overall plan. Some strategies to consider include:

· Parent newsletters

· Annual open houses

· Curriculum nights

· Home visits (where applicable)

· Phone calls

· Annual school calendars

· Annual grandparents or "special persons" days

· Annual field days

· Website for the school

· Workshops for parents

· Communications that are focused on fathers as well as mothers

Effective communication strategies involve:

· Initiation: Teachers should initiate contact as soon as they know which students will be in their classroom for the school year. Contact can occur by means of an introductory phone call or a letter to the home introducing yourself to the parents and establishing expectations.

· Timeliness: Adults should make contact soon after a problem has been identified, so a timely solution can be found. Waiting too long can create new problems, possibly through the frustration of those involved.

· Consistency and frequency: Parents want frequent, ongoing feedback about how their children are performing.

· Follow-through: Parents and teachers each want to see that the other will actually do what they say they will do.

· Clarity and usefulness of communication: Parents and teachers should have the information they need to help students, in a form and language that makes sense to them.

Surprise a Parent

Parents are not accustomed to hearing unsolicited positive comments from teachers about their children, especially in a phone call from the school. Imagine how you would feel, as a parent, if you were contacted by a teacher or the school principal and told that your son or daughter was doing well in school, or that your child had overcome a learning or behavior problem. When you make calls to share positive information with parents, be prepared for them to sound surprised-pleasantly surprised.

Research shows that school-home communication is greatly increased through personalized positive telephone contact between teachers and parents. Remember, when a phone call from school conveys good news, the atmosphere between home and school improves. When you have good news to share, why wait? Make the call and start a positive relationship with a parent.

Phone Guidelines

Sometimes, as a new teacher, it's difficult to make the first call to a parent or guardian. Preparing for the call will make it easier. Before making a call, write down the reasons for the call. Here are several guidelines you can use as you prepare:

· Introduce yourself

· Tell the parents what their child is studying

· Invite the parents to an open house and/or other school functions

· Comment on their child's progress

· Inform them of their child's achievements (e.g., "Student of the Week")

· Inform them of their child's strengths or share an anecdote

To hear a sample teacher-parent phone call, visit

American Federation of Teachers, (2007). Building Parent-Teacher Relationships. Washington, D.C.: American Federation of Teachers.

Updates and FYI's

  • Jan. 23rd: After school meeting for tutors - Mallory's Room
  • Jan. 23rd - Feb. 3rd: Dyslexia Testing Window
  • Jan. 25th: It's My Body Program in Co-Curr
  • Jan. 27th: Lockdown Drill 2:00
  • Jan. 30th: Monday and Wedensday after school tutoring begins
  • Jan. 31st: Positive Proof ID pictures
  • Feb. 3rd: Progress Monitoring Meetings (you should have received an appointment)

Upcoming Events to have on your radar:

  • March 24th - 12 hours of EQ time due
  • Check to see how you are doing on getting your 6 hours of GT update
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Professional Development

  • Jan. 25th: PLC meetings - Data Analysis for Reading and Math CBA's

  • Jan. 26th: Team Leader Meeting

  • Jan. 30th: Kinder Collaboration Day

  • Jan. 31st: 1st Grade Collaboration Day

  • Feb. 1st: 2nd Grade Collaboration

  • Feb. 1st: PLC's (more information to come)

  • Feb. 2nd: 3rd Grade Collaboration

  • Feb. 2nd: Staff Meeting

  • Feb. 9th: Fourth Grade Collaboration Day

  • Feb. 9th and 10th: Amber Richards on campus. Be sure to touch base with her on problem solving and number talks. Have her model or observe you teaching.

It's Time for the Keller Film Festival Competition

  • This is the 9th year of the Film Festival, and we are accepting online entries NOW through March 20 (the day we return from Spring Break)
  • All the information can be found on the website
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From the Events Committee

February 10 – Valentine’s Dance

We will need half of each team to volunteer to help (round up 3 on a team of 5). A sign up will be placed on Henry /the white board by the staff restrooms soon. We will need volunteers to set up, take down, help make sure students are not dropped off, and monitoring inside. The Valentine’s Dance will be free to attend and snacks will also be free so we are expecting a good turnout.

March 2-Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

We will have a door decorating contest again this year with multiple award categories including: a winner in each grade level, Overall Campus Winner, Most Creative, Most Student Driven Door, Most Seusstastic. We will have a dress up day on that day and administration will be available to come and read to classes (sign up to come).

March 3-Career Day

More information is still to come about the schedule. We will have a college spirt day with jeans on Wednesday, March 1, as part of Career Week. Erin will have drawings all week to promote higher education (giving college stuff to students). Then a dress up day on Friday, March 3, where students and staff may dress up for the career they want to have. This year we are trying to reach out to the community more to get a larger variety of speakers, so if you know someone who would be interested please ask and pass their information on to Erin.

April 22 – Spring Carnival

Mark your calendar. All staff will be expected to volunteer. More information to come.


Telpas is right around the corner. The new Rater training window will open Jan 30 through February 17. We are looking at getting a half day floating sub to cover the new rater training.

  • Feb. 13 Writing collection begins
  • School wide calibration day will be on Feb. 20

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