Classroom Update

Top 10 Best Ways to Involve Families via Classroom Updates

Dr. Kara Stern
3 min read
Mother and daughter doing homework together.

Busy? Here’s the TL;DR

Want to give students the best possible shot at success this year?

So, let’s ramp up classroom newsletters. Why? Research shows consistent, positive classroom communications have a significant and positive impact on student success. It leads to improved attendance, behavior, social-emotional functioning, and academic achievement. It does this by building trust at home.

With that said, here’s your countdown! 🥁

10. Best way to contact you

Of course, sharing your contact information is a no-brainer! Go a step further, and share preferences, so folks are clear. For example, “I typically read & respond to emails from 7:30 – 8am and 3 – 4pm. If you have an emergency and need an immediate response, do X, Y, Z.

8 & 9. Explain classroom procedures

Sharing how students enter and exit the classroom at the start and end of your class and/or the school day not only gives home adults a clear picture of what your methods are like, it helps them to prompt their learners about classroom expectations.

7. Provide a useful resource

Raising kids is challenging! Share a blog post, an article, a meme that will help home adults support, understand, or challenge their learners (or even just feel seen!)

6. “Look out for…”

Alert families to upcoming deadlines, projects, class trips, exams, in-school events. Anything they should know about, even if they’re unable to participate. Sharing is a means of supporting virtual participation.

5. A monthly check-in

Although an update seems one-directional, it’s actually a means of 2-way communication. If you make it that way! By sharing a regular survey (easy via Google forms) you’re encouraging family & caregiver input. By following up on it, you’re showing up for your families.

4. Homework heads up

“I don’t have any homework,” is the default response. Pre-empt that by explaining exactly when and what is going on with homework. Is it daily? Weekly? How is it turned in? Where can families check?

3. “Ask your child about…”

Raise your hand if you’ve ever asked a child what’s happened in school and they answered, “Nothing.” Sharing some prompts will make it easier for families & caregivers to have meaningful conversations with their learners.

2. What to do if their child is struggling

If we value supporting our students’ social, emotional, and academic success, we need to put it front and center. Spell it out for families: here’s what resources are available for your child at school, and here’s how to access those resources.


🎉 1. Attendance props

The number one predictor of student success: coming to school. Create a positive, cheerleading attendance feature as part of your regular updates. Award virtual trophies, emojify it up. Do what you need to do to celebrate daily attendance and students who are showing up.

If we consider classroom updates as integral to instruction, it eventually begins to reduce teachers’ burden. And the very last tip? If you have students regularly not attending or families/caregivers regularly not engaging, reach out. Students need to know someone cares whether or not they’re attending school.

Duplicate this template to get started!

Want to get everyone communicating consistently?

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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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