George Lucas Educational Foundation

Balancing Communication....

Balancing Communication....

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I was wondering, and it could be just me, if anyone has mastered the art of communication being a special education teacher. I have yet to find the perfect balance of communication, or even communication tools that satisfy a parental community. For example, if I send home some weekly work of students progression, I receive some comments such as, "We'd like to see more coming home". If I call them on the phone, I might get a parent that says, "While it's nice to talk to you on the phone, I am an email person." I know I can't please everyone, but can anyone offer a smoothe communication system that works with: phone calls, emails, work being sent home, progress notes or logs etc.? I really am looking for a great communication system to start off the new year coming up because I am someone who started right in the middle of a school year last year and it was chaotic!

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Lori P.'s picture
Lori P.
Elementary Special Education Teacher, Life Skills Support,

I would suggest that you create a letter/form to be sent home the first week of school with a listing of all the possible forms of communication - and aren't there many forms available today?! Have the parents check off the form(s) that they prefer, and do your best to tailor your communication to each parent's style. All the best to you!

Shane Mosley's picture

As a middle school ED teacher, I give parents my cell phone number, class number, and email address. Throughout the first couple months, I try to call at least once a month with 'good news'. This sets parents at ease and makes way for a year where the 'usual calls' of the past that were about suspensions and problems are now likely just a follow up or something simple- maybe even good news. Nothing like sitting in IEP's and having parents mention how they were texting you or that they have talked with you multiple times. That always goes a long ways with admin. Additionally, we send home a DBR or daily behavior report. Parents are responsible for signing it- thus hopefully seeing what kind of day their kid had. Just a couple thoughts- Good luck!


Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

You could try Communication Folders. I just use a 2-pocket folder with fasteners so I can put in some loose leaf paper. On one pocket I put "For Home" and the other "For School". That way, important papers can go home and things that need to be returned can be up in the other side.

When something's going on - good or bad - I jot a note. Parents can do the same. They can also write "call me" or "send me an email", "I'd like to meet", etc.

I find it also helps keep kids organized and teaches them responsibility. It's their job to make sure that the parents see the folder and comes back to school.

Hope this helps! I'm sure you'll find something that works; it can just take some trial and error.

Amy Norrington's picture
Amy Norrington
Junior High Resource Teacher

Thanks for the idea on how to communicate with parents. I am also a middle school special education teacher and I usually communicate with my parents through email, phone, or conferences. Do the parents respond well to this method?

Elementary Special Ed teacher

I too am wondering the same thing, being a new teacher whose parents would like communication at least 2x a week. I was thinking of sending home a spiral notebook for communication, to go back and forth between home and classroom. The only problem is writing in 12 notebooks before the kids go home. Who has THAT kind of time, and our district discourages the paras from writing notes to home. I like the idea of the folder going home. Do you send a note home DAILY? One of out teachers who has a child with ASD says it's the only way she can find out how her daughter's day went and what she did in school, since her daughter is non=verbal for the most part.

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