General notices, job postings, questions and introductions.

Sage Advice: What's the best way to stay connected to parents?

Betty Ray Director of Programming and Innovation @Edutopia

Some of you may remember we had a column in the Edutopia magazine called Sage Advice. Now that we're going online-only, we wanted to reignite the spirit of Sage Advice here in the Edutopia community.

Anyone can post a Sage Advice question. All you have to do is put the words "Sage Advice" in front of your question. And Sage Advice questions can be posted in any of the groups.

And of course, anyone can answer a Sage Advice question.

So without further ado, here's the first one...

What's the best way to stay connected to parents?

Comments (49)

Comment RSS

Teacher

Was this helpful?
+2

Tanya....I have had your experience, but have parents who don't admit to having access to a computer because they do not want to be held accountable or want to receive communications from school. I often feel that I am working harder to get the parent involved than the student.

I understand your

Was this helpful?
0

I understand your frustration. My concern for you regarding texting is that I used my personal cell phone last year to call a parent from my classroom. Because of privacy issues and no phones available in front of a computer where I keep my grades, I used my cell phone. I had no problems until one mother used my phone number to reach me after her son had an altercation in my classroom. The mother called me to hear over the phone my take on it and who threw the first punch. I thought she was calling for her son to apologize to me (boy was I wrong). I do not think this year I will use my personal phone to make calls to parents and if parents do not have e-mail, unfortunately, they will be at a loss. The only other idea is to use snail mail (my school pays for the postage).

Was this helpful?
0

I agree that grades and

Was this helpful?
0

I agree that grades and communication is different. Grades are only one aspect of a student's progress. I use technology to put up a weekly webpage for general information - the student needs to be responsible for the day to day assignments and information or we have Learned Helplessness. I have parents go online and do the work, organize everything and the student drops out of the loop - he has learned that mom and dad will pick up the job. Why should they work?

teacher & math coach

I have been teaching for 18

Was this helpful?
0

I have been teaching for 18 years and I have found that a weekly newsletter goes a long way to keeping parents in the loop. For the past several years I have also been maintaining a class Shutterfly account. (This is free - and I create a password-protected site.) I take digital photos and post them on the site periodically. I try to make sure I've posted new pictures at least once a month, but it depends on what's going on in the classroom. Parents have LOVED this and expressed that they enjoy seeing their children in action, but the photos also give them a chance to have great jumping-off points for discussions with their children about what's going on in school.

Email is at the top of my

Was this helpful?
+1

Email is at the top of my list, since I don't have to count on a child remembering to dig a note out of their backpack to get information to the parents. Taking some time to head out to the parking lot before or after school also helps out. I can catch a parent with a quick conversation, and I make it a point to catch them for the good things as well as other issues.

Parents must be involved

Was this helpful?
0

I disagree with the parent. I have a Masters Degree in Education and have been working with middle and high school teachers for the past 7 years. Parents MUST know what's going on in each class with their child. They MUST take responsibility for teaching their child how to be responsible and hold their child accountable.

Having worked with over 100 teachers who teach 100's of students, over and over again I see that the students who have parent involvement are more successful. And by parent involvement I do not mean asking the child what's going on in school. Parents must take an active role in their child's education. The bigger picture of education is too important to have parents not take active roles and be MIA thinking and expecting that the schools will/should take care of it.

Work with your schools and teachers; not against them. Work as a team to give your child the best education possible. Each parent must have a role in educating their child!

Was this helpful?
0

Worrying about stressing kids with grade pressure is such a refreshing way to look at things but I must say, as a high school teacher, that students and parents have come to rely so heavily on those up-to-the-minute postings that I can't imagine the majority ever agreeing to slow down the info flow.  My biggest concern is that once a grade is posted, too many parents and kids worry about arguing the score/making up minor missing assignments rather than focusing on what is current and not yet due.  No perfect system, but at least parents are in the loop and many follow-up with emails to get the specific feedback.    I have had great success with positive post cards but like the idea of trying to text those without email.  So much better than phone tag and if there is a language barrier, they can get help translating rather than be timid about getting in touch.  Thanks.

I like your many ideas.

Was this helpful?
0

I often send out emails about upcoming work to shift the emphasis on "keeping up" rather than just "making up" which happens AFTER the grade is posted online. A heads-up to parents of a big due date approaching and link to the posted assignment on my website has been successful rather than waiting until the project is late.

Please post any suggestions

Was this helpful?
0

Please post any suggestions for communicating with high school parents who do not want to take responsibility for their kids, then want to fight for their kids when they fail the class. High school kids, generally, do not give newsletters to their parents, nor do they share progress reports with them. Parents do not check e-mail, kids intercept phone messages left for their parents, etc... Any suggestions in dealing with this would be greatly appreciated.

I did try a facebook page for students to post their homework, test reminders, etc. This is used only for school purposes. I figured a facebook page may help me to reach the kids at a place where they spend so much of their time. A reminder from their teacher of homework or studying popping up on their Home page may help students become better students.

see more see less