Two Easy Ways to Jumpstart Family Communication

Dr. Kara Stern
2 min read
Graphic webpage with a newsletter template and a button sayin Start using this template.

It’s Friday, 3pm, and all you want to do is teleport home.

You can’t send classroom updates on Friday afternoon when you’re fried. Sunday evening when you’re having your pre-Monday meltdown is also a bad idea.

“I’ll get to it next week. I swear.”

But next week is no good, because the more you communicate with families ➡️ the more they support your efforts ➡️ the more success your students achieve.

So let’s kick aside the mental barriers to communication.

  1. Don’t start from scratch. Duplicate this template (or this one if you’re an elementary teacher). Fill in your info. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  2. Keep your stash of photos replenished: (a) Look over your plan book for the week & make an actual — not mental — note of when to take candids of kids working, so that you don’t forget in the moment (b) When you put up a new display of student work, take pics!

See how simple? That was only two bullet points!

BONUS: Now let’s talk about forming a communication habit

We’re going to use a few simple productivity strategies:

  1. Schedule writing your update into your plan book or your digital calendar, every week, same time.
  2. Choose a time when you’re relatively fresh; meaning not after school. Choose a prep period that’s early in the day.
  3. Don’t start from scratch. Duplicate, duplicate, duplicate. In fact, if you duplicate the template as soon as you complete it, you’ve already got a head start on the next one.
  4. Choose something to enjoy while — and only while — you put the template together, a favorite snack or a special playlist. This is called temptation bundling. It will make it MUCH more pleasurable to communicate with families, I swear.

If you want more tips, you can find them here. Meantime, you got this! 👊🏽

Image of Smore Top Tips Template for how to communicate with families

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Dr. Kara Stern

Dr. Kara Stern began her career as an ELA teacher, then shifted into administration as a middle school principal. Dr. Stern is a fervent advocate for equitable communication and family engagement. She spent five years as Executive Director at Math for America, where she designed the professional learning community that exists to this day. An unexpected move to Tel Aviv launched her into the world of EdTech where she became the Director of Education Content for Smore and then the Head of Education Solutions at SchoolStatus. Outside of work, she indulges her love for reading, devouring two novels weekly, with a particular fondness for heists and spy stories.

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