Email and school Web portals. Giving parents live online access to student grades, attendance, and assignments has been a great communication booster. They feel involved and can easily email with questions or suggestions. Playing phone tag is over.
Lake Orion High School
Lake Orion, Michigan
Sharing conferences with other teachers. By having another of a student's teachers with us, parents and students can get updated and teachers can talk about learning styles and behavior issues in more than one class. The group gets a more complete picture of how a student is doing academically and can work together on possible solutions.
Aviation High School
I keep a blog called The Principal's Office -- tagline: "Not as bad a place to be as you remember" -- linked from the school's home page. I talk about what's going on in school, upcoming events, school philosophy, adolescent health tips, and so on, while offering discussion forums, an image gallery, a calendar, and, in the near future, a link to an online bookstore.
Thornton Friends Upper School
Silver Spring, Maryland
Tell them they and their child control nearly 80 percent of what makes a learner successful; the school contributes only 20 percent. If they want success, they, as well as the school and its teachers, need to be accountable.
Adjunct professor of education
University of St. Thomas
A Web site, of course! But it must be an online portal that contains student work samples, learning objectives for the week and the school year, state standards, online/PDF resources, teacher-communication links, monthly classroom news, and polls and surveys for student and parent feedback.
Mill Creek Elementary School
We have established a parent listserv, which we use to send out a "Weekly Message." It is great for last-minute reminders of upcoming events in school as well as in the community.