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SED 322

Creating Connection
In the School and the Home

Introduction

Family and the home life of a student have a significant impact on the student’s behavior,

values, and ethics. It sets the tone for how the child will behave in social and academic

situations and has the most influence in a student’s life. There is a strong correlation

between between a student’s success and the support they receive from home. This

module will introduce the problem that teachers, parents, administrators, and the

community face with communication in the education system, and provide remedies to

eliminate academic and behavioral issues, particularly chronic absences.

Next
Parent-Teacher Relationships

Connection
Teachers have a large role in building connection. When a student is having difficulty in

class, one of the first steps—before any severe disciple plan—is to conference with

guardians to gain context and information about the student’s home life, and to create an

action plan to resolve an issue. However, there can be obstacles in creating a strong

parent-teacher relationship. This can be caused by a plethora of reasons, whether it be

busy schedules, personality disconnect, cultural differences, lack of technology, and either

teacher or parent disinterest. With these obstacles in the way, it can be difficult to

implement an academic or behavioral plan that is supported by both the teacher and the

parents. Despite these difficulties, it is important for teachers to establish a collaborative

and cooperative relationship with their students’ parents in order to maximize student and

teacher success.
Watch this video!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqG2AkXkdJ4

The above video shows the importance of communicating with families in school.
Consider: What would a strong teacher-parent connection look like in your classroom?

Why it Matters
Connection is very difficult in the 21st century. There is an increased business of teachers

and parents and a drop in the level of response to traditional forms of written and oral

communication, such as flyers and announcements given to students to give to their

parents. Often, these never get to the parents’ hands. When these traditional methods are

the only mediums used to communicate, the initiative to communicate falls to the teacher,

not the parents. Teachers are the ones communicating with parents, not the parents

communicating with the teacher. It’s not two-way communication. With increased
expectations of the CCSS and the classroom, it’s imperative that we open up a two-way

conversation between parents and teachers.

What We Can Do
Teachers, parents, and students are busy,

balancing the different responsibilities they

have in their lives. Therefore, parent-teacher

communication needs to be practical and

efficient. The easier the communication

strategy, the more willing participants will

engage in the collaboration.

1) Create an open line of communication

at the beginning of the school year

a) Encouraging communication in

the syllabus

b) Beginning of the year newsletter

2) Encourage feedback and input

a) Send out surveys

b) Ask for feedback throughout the year via email

When a teacher shows authentic interest in what parents have to say, there will be less of a
barrier between the “expert” teacher and parents who feel like they don’t have a role in their
student’s education

Tools

Remind app: A popular app that allows teachers to text students and parents through an

app, where teachers can send texts (privately or whole-class) to parents and students while
students and parents cannot text back (or know your number). If there any questions, they

can follow up in an email.

Google Classroom: A free Google web service that allows students and teachers to post

announcements/resources, turn-in assignments, and grade work. Parents can have a

guardian view so they can see what is posted.

Newsletters: Creating a beginning of the year newsletter—and perhaps one every unit or

month—can help parents know what’s going on in the classroom. It’s also a great way to

communicate expectations, policies, and events.

Emails: Simply sending out biweekly mass emails about upcoming units and assignments

can be beneficial. Be sure to contact your parents directly to let me them know when new

material and projects are upcoming

p://www.nea.org/tools/63615.
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Teacher-Administration Relationship (Scott)

Admin and Essential Communication

When thinking of various problems that may come up in the course of a student’s

academic career, some may put blame on the student, or the parent, or even the teacher.

While this can be true in some circumstances, it is usually a lack of interactivity between the

groups listed above and the administration of the school, or district, the students attend

that allow such complications to take place.

A Complex Role
A school administration has a myriad of responsibilities that must be organized and

executed in a manner that will satisfy not only those above them, like the district, but also

those who attend and work with the school on a daily basis.

Activity

Here are just a few general examples of what an administration needs to do in order to

ensure success for all groups involved in the education process. In small groups, try to flush

these out more, what would two specific examples look like under each category?

1. Making sure a proper education is provided for students.

a.

b.

2. Ensure there is adequate utilization of resources.

a.

b.

3. See that professional ethics and development is taking place among teachers and

staff.

a.

b.

4. Organizing educational programs and events.

a.

b.

Would you say these tasks are essential helping bring together, and support parents,

teachers, and students? Why or why not?

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The School and Community (Mirina)

https://youtu.be/30oAIh5y3gE

This video demonstrates how the community can make an impact on student

learning. Parents, families, friends, business leaders, local businesses, and anyone

else in the community should be invited and welcomed in the classroom.

The community’s role

Incorporating the community into schools can enhance parent and teacher

relationships. The classroom can sometimes be an obstacle for teachers wanting to

demonstrate to parents their true, welcoming personalities. Events like fundraisers,

class field trips, and service projects are just a few of many opportunities for

parents and teachers to get to know one another outside of school. Furthermore,

like parents and teachers, the community plays a critical role in student
achievement. When the community is invited into the classroom, like shown above

in the video, students are being exposed to real-world situations as well as

developing communication, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Read about it

https://lancaster.unl.edu/community/articles/communityschools.shtml Building

community-schools relationships are essential for the community to have an impact on

students’ academic success. Find out the community resources that could partner with

schools as well as the community activities that can be done for parents and teachers to

participate in.

https://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/399-involvement-matters-what-to-tell-

parents It is essential parents are involved in their child’s academic careers. However, when

their own busy lives and other obstacles get in the way of parent involvement, there needs

to be other opportunities available outside of the classroom that are flexible with parents’

schedules.

Take a Minute!
With a partner, discuss why is it so important for teachers to encourage parents to

volunteer in the community.

❖ How will this enhance parent and teacher relationships?

❖ How will this enhance parent involvement?

❖ How you would incorporate the community in your own classroom.

❖ What are some activities outside of school that you think would enhance the

relationships between parents and teachers?

Next
What it Affects: Absences (Jesus)

Click here to watch a video where Karen Brainstorm: Mapp states that many
Mapp, a Senior Lecturer on Education from teachers often do not consider parent
Harvard Graduate School of Education, involvement at home, and instead think
briefly discusses why family engagement is about how to bring parents into the school.
important (including improved attendance), What measures could you incorporate in
what types of family involvement is your classes to have parents engage their
beneficial, and how to engage families. children in education while at home?

Why attendance matters + the issues


Attendance is highly critical in determining how successful students are in their classes and

school in general. If students miss several days of class, the instruction provided to them

becomes very inconsistent, and it can be a struggle for both teachers and students to help
them catch up. Within many school districts, per their policy, once a certain number of

absences has been reached by a student, they must automatically be failed by their

teacher(s). Even missing two days each month can add up to a total of twenty absences

(August to May). There are reasons for student absences that may be difficult to resolve,

such as health issues, or housing and/or transportation issues, and there may be issues

within school that cause truancy, such as bullying, lack of motivation within classes,

whether it is related to no interest in what is taught or to poor grades leading to

discouragement to continue.

READ: Why School Attendance Matters Discuss: How can we as teachers work to
and Strategies to Improve It understand the causes/issues that cause
frequent absences and what can we do, if
anything, to address those causes?

How collaboration with parents can help

As it is now, parents are generally only brought into the school domain to discuss absences

when students have reached that critical point where they are right at the point of failure. If

teachers/schools and parents feel more open and comfortable communicating earlier on,

even before issues arise, absences (among other academic components) can be better

moderated and guided towards a successful path. Many times, teachers often place the

causes of frequent absences on the parents/household, and on the opposite end, parents

often place the cause on the teachers/school. Establishing a stronger line of

communication between the home and educational domains can benefit everyone

involved, as teachers can learn about why students may be absent, parents can learn about

what is going on in the classroom and in school, or what the school’s attendance policy is,

and students can have efficient, connected support from both their teachers and parents.
READ: Parental Involvement from K-12 Discuss: Think about the students in your
Parental Involvement is Key to Student own classes. What are some problems that
Success could be resolved or eased by having
parents in the picture?

READ: 5 Ways to Increase Parent-


Teacher Communication in the
Secondary Classroom

What can teachers do?

First, teachers should attempt to establish some contact with as many parents as they can

at the beginning of the school year. This can be as simple as sending out a letter with your

students that they must bring back signed, to ensure that the letter made its way to their

parents (of course, have them sign a sheet with little to not important information so

parents can keep the main part of the letter). The letter can discuss topics such as what the

school’s/district’s attendance policy is, how you deal with absences specifically in your class,

how to get in contact with you and/or the school’s attendance liaison to report an absence

(or how to get in contact with you for any reason), asking how and when you can best get in

contact with them, and what and when specific topics will be covered in your class and why.

You want to make parents feel comfortable approaching you with any concerns they may

have, and you also need to feel comfortable approaching parents to discuss how

attendance is affecting a student’s performance in your class. If parents have concerns or

certain issues that could impact their child’s attendance, work with them to determine

potential plans or discover resources that could target and improve/fix the issue. Keep

parents regularly updated on class/individual student updates to let them know that you

value their involvement and awareness as well as how successful their child is in your class.

Create assignments that involve parents in more meaningful ways so that they can further

develop the role they play in ensuring their child’s participation and success in your class.
Also, make parents aware of ways they can track their child’s attendance and how to access

them, such as online systems like StudentVUE.

READ: Top 10 Things to Consider When Discuss: How does the language we use
Talking to Parents About Attendance when talking with parents affect the way
they perceive us/how we perceive them?
What strategies would you use to make
sure that parents feel heard and
supported?

Check for Understanding

When communication with parents about their child’s issues about attendance, you
should…

A. scold the parents for being irresponsible and negligent


B. NOT discuss what is being taught in your class; only discuss the consequences of
too many absences
C. emphasize that it is now solely their responsibility to fix the problem and that you
have done your part by simply talking to them
D. help them understand the attendance policy and how it relates to their child’’s
situation

Highlight the entire box below to select the text and reveal the answer

Correct answer: D. With the other answers, you should: make sure parents (and their
child) feel supported by you and that you want to understand their situation/background,
explain what is being taught in your class and why you feel it is important that their
student is present to learn it, and work with them to help them explore improvement
strategies and discuss how you can both utilize and monitor that strategy.

Resources

Attendance Works - Toolkit Resources A decently-sized compilation of resources


related to attendance including some that
teachers can use with parents, such as
handouts for parents and how to make the
best of a parent-teacher conference.

The Key - Absence, attendance and Links to examples of attendance policies


punctuality: letters to parents that include poor attendance letters within
them.

Read More

CDC - Parents for Healthy Schools:


A Guide for Getting Parents Involved from K–12

Victoria State Government (AUS) - Working with parents on school attendance

Reflect: As a teacher, what are some realistic ways that we can effectively target a
student’s attendance issues? How can we work with parents to discuss and improve their
child’s attendance and overall performance in our class/all their classes? What strategies
could you use to communicate with parents and/or involve them in your class to help
students maintain good attendance?

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