Four Ways to Include Families at the End of the Year
As the year comes to a close, you have likely considered activities and ways to bring the year to a joyful end with students. The end of the school year also provides the opportunity to recognize the other important stakeholders in the year’s success: families. Here are a few ways you can close the school year in a positive way with your students’ families.
- Notes of appreciation: This school year likely had some unexpected bumps and turns for students and families. Sending a message, whether it be handwritten or electronic, expressing gratitude for their support lets families know that you acknowledge that they had to navigate many of the year’s challenges, too. A short and simple note can go a long way.
- Morning Meetings and gatherings: Inviting families for a Morning Meeting or family gathering, either in person or virtually, allows families to join in on classroom or school community traditions to close the school year. Consider planning a low-risk Morning Meeting that gives students and families an opportunity to learn names, share successes, and celebrate the school year.
- Student letters (or videos) about their learning and growth: Support students in writing letters or creating video messages for their families in which they share highlights of their learning from the school year and detail the growth they have experienced. Creating student letters about learning and growth is also a great way for students to reflect on their hopes & dreams or SMART goals for the school year.
- Closing conversations: Extend invitations to families to meet in person or virtually to discuss the highlights of their student’s school year. This is a wonderful opportunity to share successes and areas of growth and answer any questions about the upcoming year.
The sixth guiding principle of the Responsive Classroom approach states that partnering with families—knowing them and valuing their contributions—is as important as knowing the children we teach. Just as we connect with families at the start of the school year and throughout the school year, we also want to include families as we bring the school year to a joyful and memorable close.
Jane Cofie is the director of curriculum and instruction for Center for Responsive Schools and the author of the book Strengthening the Parent-Teacher Partnership.