Blogs on Home-to-School Connections

Blogs on Home-to-School ConnectionsRSS
David CutlerMarch 21, 2014

After seven years in the classroom, I feel I'm in a position to offer some advice for how teachers can build and sustain positive relationships with parents -- as well as appropriately handle difficult circumstances. Following are eight tips that I've learned from experience.

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Anne OBrienFebruary 27, 2014

Educators know the important role that parents (and other family members and guardians) play in academic success. And when it comes to advocating for education policies that benefit all students, they know that parents are important allies.

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Nicholas ProvenzanoFebruary 24, 2014

Too often, I've heard teachers talk about how helpless they feel when it comes to reaching out to their students. The days of being the person whose job it is to exclusively provide students with an education -- and nothing more -- are long over. Honestly, some will say those days never existed. I've never wavered in my belief that teachers are much more than people passing out curriculum. For some students, school is the best part of their day because it offers an escape from their life at home. As teachers, it's important for us to understand that there is so much more to students than the life they lead in class, and it is important to show interest in a student outside of the day's homework. Here are three simple things a teacher can do to connect with students and let them know there is more to school than just a report card.

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Suzie BossFebruary 7, 2014

International educator Scot Hoffman is a big believer in the power of curiosity to drive learning. After nearly two decades of teaching around the globe, he also realizes that school isn't always so hospitable to inquiring minds. (As Einstein said, "It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.") That's why Hoffman has developed The Curiosity Project, a self-directed learning experience that engages students, parents, and teachers as collaborators in inquiry.

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Matt LevinsonJanuary 23, 2014

It's hard work to parent a teen. In a recent New York Magazine article, Jennifer Senior writes, "It's dicey business, being someone's prefrontal cortex by proxy. Yet modern culture tells us that that's one of the primary responsibilities of being a parent of a teen."

Of course, it's no surprise that the last thing teens want is to have a parent looking too closely into their lives. It's a constant push-pull phenomenon for parents and for teens. One minute, a teenager can descend into grumpiness, isolation and solitude, and in the same breath, that teen wants a hug, affection and a laugh.

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Aine GreaneyNovember 27, 2013

Last spring, I saw one of the happiest and the saddest sights of my life.

Let's start with the happy. A social worker friend invited me to go with her to a youth performance at the Wang Theater, one of the aged performance venues in Boston's tiny theater district.

I'm not proud to admit this, but as we took our seats in the fourth row, I was expecting a kind of large-theater version of another school musical.

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Matt LevinsonOctober 3, 2013

A parent shared a wonderful story recently about his 24-year-old son letting him know that he was going to change his passwords and asking if it was OK with him. The father chuckled as he shared this story, but he was also in a state of bewilderment that his son was still honoring their agreement from ten years ago -- the one where his dad would have access to the 14-year-old's passwords. Sure, the son had stumbled and misstepped, sometimes without the father's knowledge, but the trust factor was sealed with a safe agreement between parent and child, and that bond had lasted in to early adulthood. Impressive.

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Dr. Joe MazzaSeptember 24, 2013

Earlier this year, I came across an article by Eric Sheninger entitled, "Seven Things Teachers Want You (Parents) to Know." As I read through the article written from the lens of a teacher and school leader, I became curious as to how our parents would respond if given the opportunity to speak up about what they want teachers to know. I decided to put out a short, one-question survey to my school families, and below I'm sharing the results and how we as educators might listen and respond.

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Mark PhillipsSeptember 23, 2013

It's school board election time in communities all across the country. Hopefully, most of these are contested elections. It isn't easy finding good people to run for what is usually an unpaid, time intensive and highly challenging job. And however good he or she may be, every incumbent running for reelection should have to stand the test of accountability that a contested election provides.

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Andrew MillerSeptember 19, 2013

Providing your students with a public audience is not only a critical part of the project-based learning process, but it's also a great strategy for building authenticity into assignments to create work that matters. We often leverage our students' parents and guardians in this process because 1) they are easily accessible, and 2) they are our partners in their children's learning plans. Why not then continue and build this partnership in PBL? John Larmer wrote a great blog about how to build parent support for PBL, and one of the best ways he mentions is to keep them involved in the PBL project you launch in your classroom. Here are some strategies to consider as you leverage parents for your next PBL project.

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