July 28, 2010
Being proactive early on sets everyone up for success. My students’ first assignment is to have their parents email me with a greeting and their expectations for their students. I give out an invitation to create a free account to parents without email or ask them to contact me via my school classroom number. Once they email or phone me, I have easy access to contact them if and when their children need help. I try to do a personal email message to each and every parent as soon as I have those contact emails or numbers. A missed deadline means an immediate contact from me.
Conferences are set up without formal dates, since I teach high school and formal parent teacher conferences only happen when there is a problem. Using this model, parents use the informal communication option with me most often. I have an open door policy, and parents are extremely confident in contacting me when they have concerns.
It takes some time on my part in September, but by December we are all on the same page. Parents and teachers want the same thing for their students — success and engagement. I am on their side, and they know that right from the beginning. I attribute the fact that I seldom have failing students in my classes to this strategy.