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Preparing for Back to School Night

Back to school night is an opportunity to start the year off right, and this article offers tips and conversation starters to help parents make the most of it.
Published: July 14, 2020

Nothing says another school year is upon us quite like Back to School Night.

Literally it’s in the name, yes, but also in the opportunity to meet your child’s educators and their classmates’ parents.

And you can use this opportunity to start the year off right, building close ties with educators and getting better involved in your child’s education. Here are some conversation starters to help you make the most out of the night:

  • Share your story. Talk about more than just your role as a parent. What’s your background? Culture? Job? Having a better understanding of who you are can help your child’s educator understand your child better and help you establish a real connection.
  • Uncover opportunities to get involved. Is your child’s educator looking for parent volunteers in the classroom, or extra hands for an upcoming field trip or special event? Sign up to help out during the school year and ask for a list of duties and responsibilities so you can best understand expectations. This is a great way to show your commitment and investment to your child’s education.
  • Express any early concerns. Do you have anxiety about your child starting a new grade or school? This is the perfect time to share these worries with your child’s educators so you can discuss them productively and proactively, and address problem areas.
  • Figure out classroom priorities. Show a willingness to help achieve classroom goals and objectives. Can you support your child’s educator by creating a similar home experience? Ask for tools and resources to get you started.
  • Identify ways to engage further. Offer to create non-traditional opportunities for you to engage with your child’s educator, especially if you have a busy schedule. Set up time to grab a bite with your child’s educator during your work lunch hour, for example. Be open to the option of using various technology resources to partner with educators, like apps, social networks or video sharing platforms.

Throughout the year, you and your child’s educators can forge strong partnerships so that your child continues on a successful academic journey. That is, if you work at it.

Discuss using e-mail, notes or phone calls to communicate regularly with your child’s educators. And stay attuned to your child’s relationship with their teacher so they can also learn the best ways to work together.

For more information about how to continue the conversation beyond Back to School Night, check out another article here.


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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.