Partnering with Parents

A research review titled, “A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement,” found that every family has the capacity to contribute to their child’s success, regardless of race, ethnicity, economic standing or the parents’ level of education.  But how do we leverage this capacity and create genuine partnerships with parents?  Reading Rockets emphasizes the importance of positive news as a great way to form the partnership.  They write:

Parents are not accustomed to hearing unsolicited positive comments from teachers about their children, especially in a phone call from the school. 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.

Later, if concerns arise, discuss as a team how to leverage the child’s strengths to support areas of growth.  Ask parents if there are strategies that work at home or strategies that other teachers have found to be successful. Supporting the child together as partners is more likely to occur when parents know that you see have noticed the child’s strengths and will share positive news.