Make the Home-School Connection
at the Beginning of the Year Lisa Kihn
It is very important to let parents know that you are an advocate
for their child and that you want to work with them throughout the
year to ensure that their child (your student) has the best possible
I like to give students a questionnaire to take home on the first
day of school that allows parents to share with me as much as they
want to about their child. Most parents have a very good sense of
their children as learners and appreciate your soliciting feedback
The following are some questions that I generally include:
- What does your child like best about school?
- What would you like me to know about your child as a learner?
- What are your goals for your child this school year?
- What are your child's goals for this school year?
- Have there been any recent changes in your child's life that
you would like me to know about? (a move, a divorce, etc?)
- Would you be willing to volunteer some time in the classroom
or share an expertise?
Depending on your comfort level, you may also ask about parents'
careers, who the child lives with if the parents are divorced, if
their child has experienced any learning or social problems in the
past that they would like you to know about, etc.
The main idea is to let parents know that you are concerned about
their child as a person and a learner in your Class, and that you
are interested in getting to know each child well enough to provide
the best possible learning atmosphere. I have found that parents
respond enthusiastically and sometimes attach extra sheets!
It is a good idea to file this in an accessible spot (though you
should be sure to keep it confidential) and bring it out during
parent-teacher conferences. It gives you a good starting place for
Sending weekly updates home on Fridays is a good way to keep parents
informed of their child's progress during the week. I have found
the benefits of this consistent communication to be worth the extra
time it takes to fill these out. See attached A
Note From the Sixth Grade Team.
Each teacher writes any assignments that a student is missing
at the end of the week. Students take home this sheet as well as
the missing work and turn them both in on Monday. I also use this
sheet to write specific comments, complements, concerns, etc. that
may have arisen during the week. Parents expect to see this sheet
every Friday and sign and return it with any comments on the following
Monday. I send it home every Friday with all the students in my
homeroom, whether or not they are missing assignments.
This system prevents students from having a backlog of overdue
assignments and keeps parents apprised of their student's progress.
Many parents respond with a question or comment and this ongoing
dialog is a great way to keep the lines of communication open. It
also prevents any 'surprises' at parent-teacher conferences or with
report card grades.