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Explore the top reasons for good home-school communication. Review principles of effective communication and common challenges.

. Learn about some tools that can help increase communication between home & school. Increase home-school communication by : 1.identifying current practices 2.reviewing examples of best practices, and 3. developing goals for an action plan.

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Parents seek good communication skills in their childrens teachers, citing it as one of the most desirable characteristics a new teacher can have.

Home-school communication is among the most important factors in developing strong relationships between teachers and families (Epstein, 1996; Christensen & Sheridan, 2001). Information from school is the primary means parents have to understand their children's level of success or failure in school (Helling, 1996).

Home-School Communication is (Hint: What does it look & sounds like from the school & parent point of view?)
Think, Pair, Share

Parent involvement can be defined as: 1. Having an awareness of and involvement in their students schoolwork , in their classroom, in school organizations and events, 2. and a commitment to consistent communication with educators about student progress.

In general, parents' work schedules and lack of time, transportation, and economic resources interfere with their ability to communicate with teachers and school staff. Teachers also face time limitations and class schedules that may conflict with parents' availability for communicating. Fortress schools, or ones that do not welcome and conduct outreach with parents, may inhibit home-school communication (Scribner, 1999).

Involved families tend to agree that the level of their involvement depends on outreach from teachers and administrators (Urban Institute, 1999). Teacher preparation and knowledge may be lacking in how to partner and communicate with parents (Allexsaht-Snider, 1995; Shartrand, Weiss, Kreider & Lopez, 1997).

Increases trust between schools and families Encourages higher and realistic parental expectations Serves as the first step to other types of parent involvement to follow Leads to a higher degree of parents commitment to helping their students improve Puts everyone on the same page

How do we approach and view family involvement with our school? What are our attitudes and beliefs about building connections between families and school? What do we do to promote communication and partnerships with families?

School Office - face-to-face contact, telephone, written correspondence & notifications, and email.

Teacher - face-to-face, telephone, E-mail, notes, report cards, newsletters, etc.

Administrator - face-to-face contact (including IEPs, disciplinary meetings), telephone, E-mail, and other written correspondence.

School Events - Back to School Nights, Parent conferences, awards assemblies, sports events, field trips, Sand other events.
School Participation - Classroom, PTO, School Site Council, School Board,

School/Teacher websites - written information, calendars, online grade books, E-mail links, student work, pictures, blogs, RSS feeds. Direct Mail - written information that gets into the hands of parents/guardians. School Surveys - paper & electronic

How often do we assess the effectiveness of the methods were currently using? How do we train teachers and staff to be effective communicators with home?
(i.e. Do we ASSUME everyone has those skills?)

How do our methods encourage parents to greater involvement?

Considering ones audience. Choosing a communication approach Identifying the goal and reason for the communication. It opens rather than blocks a two-way conversation.

Ask yourself: Who is my audience? What methods do they prefer when sending & receiving communications? What style of communication am I comfortable with? (admin., office, teachers) Is that in sync with the cultural move to digital communication?

Good communication requires knowing not only what words to use and what messages to send, but also how to communicate in ways that open two-way communication helps provide timely, up-to-date relevant information and generate options for action/response. ***This means we need to look at HOW we communicate, as well as WHAT we communicate.

Active Listening


Informally Exchanging

Following up


Asking for help

Ask yourself:

What message do I want to convey? (Goal) What do I want to have happen as a result of this communication? (Response/action)

What are things we think are important to share that help foster interaction with our audience (parents/guardians) Does it take into account what our audience wants/needs to know?
Think, Pair, Share

Who we are our school & staff Student achievement CSTs, Progress reports, report cards Homework/Projects/Assessments Student work/successes Discipline/behavior School/class activities-events School closures/emergencies/urgent needs Surveys SARC, Tech Plans, Board agendas, other notifications

Print Media newsletters, notes home, report cards, etc. Online Media websites, online SIS (Aeries, Powerschool), other online grade books, surveys Face-to-Face: School visits, individual conferences, Back to School Night, etc. Phones Cell phones (voice/text), landlines, phone trees Email individual/group emails Web 2.0: Twitter, Facebook, Wikis, Blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc.

Websites SchoolLoop, Google sites, Weebly, other pay-for web design software, etc. Email (Group/Individual emails) Text messaging Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds Auto-notifications (Alerts!) Flickr (online photo sharing) Survey Monkey & Zoomerang!

Website resources: Online calendars Teacher web pages Email links Newsletters Student work Pictures of activities Survey links Links to resources for parents/students Password-protected blogs/wikis

School sites: Butteville, Grenada, Yreka UESD, Yreka UHSD, Zervas PTO Teacher sites:
7th grade project Classroom websites

Home-School Communications website Resources: SchoolLoop, Siskiyou Webdesign, School Rack, Google Sites, School Alerts!

Develop a standard for ALL teacher websites & train teachers to the standard.

*Curriculum map *Weekly newsletter *Links *Email address *Discipline policy *Grading policy *Daily/weekly assignments *Project resources *Student work

Evaluating current practices is the beginning to planning for change. Assess your current communication practices using the paper inventory. List at least three ways you would like to improve in your home-school communication practices. Write down the next steps to work toward those goals. List resources you would need to accomplish the task.

Ill send you a link to the seminar evaluation. Please make sure you complete it so that CTAP and I can get feedback on our time together.

Thank you for attending