Get To Know Your Students

Parents can ask their child to write a back to school introduction letter to their teacher. Teachers can ask students to fill out these letters to get to know them in the early days of the school year.   Involving your child can help him build self-awareness, too. Tell him, “Your new teacher may not know the same things about you as last year’s teacher. Let’s write a letter to give her an idea of what you like to do, what you do well and where you may need some extra help.” (Filling out a self-awareness worksheet can get your child thinking about it.)

Grade Schoolers Letter

Middle Schoolers Letter

Family-School Partnership

Cultivate Partnerships

   1."All families have dreams for their children and want the best for them."

It is vital for educators to understand that families who send their children to them each day want their children to succeed in school and in life. Yes, families might say or do things that lead you, educators to think otherwise. But these actions and behaviors are often triggered by stressful factors in their lives and do not reflect their innermost feelings about the importance of education and their desire for their children to become happy and successful adults. 

  2."All families have the capacity to support their children's learning." 

Regardless of how little or how much formal education they may have or what languages they may speak, all families contribute to their children's learning. Families' knowledge, talents, and life experiences give them plenty of capacity for assisting their children with school skills, and practitioners need all that information to design the best learning opportunities for those children. Families have knowledge that should be respected, utilized, and developed by school staff. The expression, parents are their children's first teachers, is so widely used it's almost a cliche. If we believe it, we need to view and treat parents as the experts that they are.

  3. "Parents and school staff should be equal partners."

All stakeholders supporting childrens' development should have equal status, value, and responsibility. That means starting from the premise that everyone has something to offer and that everyone should get something positive out of the relationship.

  4."Responsibility for building and sustaining partnerships between school, home, and the community rests primarily with school staff, especially school leaders."

Now, you might see a contradiction between this and the belief in equal partners. If we're equal partners, why does this responsibility rest with school staff? Well, many families see schools as powerful and forbidding institutions. The school leader and staff must take the first step, especially when families already feel intimidated. Certainly, there is a responsibility on both sides, and families must connect with teachers and other school staff on behalf of their children. Everyone who works in the school, especially the school leader, must walk the walk, not just talk the talk, of mutual partnership.

This means exhibiting a real passion for partnership.