Electronic Parent Contacts
August 25, 2009
I use my mobile device in the classroom for various purpsoes. I can sync to my computer, so I can type in notes. It fits in my bag, so I can always carry it with me. At the beginning of the year, I list all my students, with all of their parent names and phone numbers in the contacts file organized by class.
Each student has a notes page associated with his/her contact information, and it is of unlimited size. So, I keep track of every single parent contact. I even made notes of who showed up at open house (9/23 OH), which I then copy and paste onto the notes field for each student who had a parent show up. My notes can be short or long. An example is, “9/15 LM” which means September 15, left message, or “10/22 NA,” which means no answer. If I start to stack up several “No Answers,” then I know I need to check and make sure I have the best current phone numbers. I also keep track of whom I talked to, Mom or Dad or sibling.
I teach math, and I find that a lot of parent contact makes parents and administration happier, so I make good calls as well as bad. I can check that by the end of the first quarter, I have called every student’s home at least once (generally good calls). I also can document that I have called home several times about missing assignments. For students with 504s or IEPs, I keep track of conversations with parents and details about what accommodations I am making or what we have said we will try. Before meetings I will print the notes page for myself.
At the end of the year, I can archive the information so I don’t have to see it, but I don’t lose it; or, if I get repeat students, I can keep the logs going. I found using my mobile device was much easier than only doing the contacts on the computer, as I don’t always have it with me, and when I used paper I accumulated scraps and post-its and ran out of room for some students.