Building Bridges

Taking time to get to know parents sends an important message: We’re a team with a shared goal of helping students have a successful school year. Plus, parents have invaluable insight that can help us better meet students’ learning needs. Forging strong connections with parents is an ongoing process—and it begins with the first days and weeks of school.
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How to Talk With Parents about Cliques and Exclusion

Early in the school year, share with parents school and class expectations related to exclusion. You could do this in a letter or at back-to-school night. Give them a broad understanding of…
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What to Say to Parents Now

I can't begin to describe how important the exchanges I've had with my children's teachers and principal have been to me this week. At various times, each of them reached out to…
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More Resources for Educators and Parents

Our appreciation for social media grew quite a bit when we asked "Educators, how was the day?" on the Responsive Classroom Facebook page on Monday afternoon, and over 100 people responded. We…
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Parent Outreach for Busy Leaders

Teachers are encouraged to reach out early and often to their students' parents and families, and with good reason. If children are to succeed at school, teachers need to get to know…
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Talking with Parents about Problems

Conversations about a child who is struggling in school are stressful for parents and teachers. Both parties may experience feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and confusion, along with a sense of inadequacy,…
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What Parents Wish Teachers Knew

Recently, I had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed by Katie Couric in the ABC studio in New York City for her weekly online video series, Katie's Take. The topic: "What Teachers…
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Ever Feel Misunderstood?

I've been thinking about the communication gap that sometimes exists between parents and teachers and how we can narrow it. For example, has this ever happened to you?A teacher offers advice on…
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Extraordinary Acts

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the amazing things teachers do, often almost without thinking. While working on my latest project, a book about behavior challenges, I've been interviewing some experienced…
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Communicating with Parents

To teach well, we must know children well, and parents can help us do that better than anyone. Parents can share knowledge of their child’s strengths and challenges, unique perspectives, and other…
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School-Home Communication Strategies

As educators, we know that communication between school and home is hugely important to a child’s success in school. When school leaders, teachers, and other school staff respect parents* and share infor­mation…
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Holiday Celebrations

Winter holiday celebrations! They’re such a big part of American school life. But as our schools grow more diverse, traditional celebrations can leave some children and families feeling excluded or uncomfortable. Also,…
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Parents and other Volunteers in the Classroom

Inviting parents and other adult family members into the classroom gives them a chance to experience some of their child’s school life. It can also be a way for you to get…
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Information for Parents (PDF printable)

We’ve created a printable PDF for you to share with your students’ families! Note: about the term “parent” Students come from a variety of homes and family structures. Many children are raised…
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PE Kudos! Forging connections with families

At University School of Nashville, where I was an administrator and teacher for 23 years, the physical education teachers have recently been trying a new way of engaging students' parents in the…
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Forging Connections with Families, Part 2: Reaching Out

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a thought-provoking series on the home-school connection that was recently published in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.  In the second article in the series, journalist Erin…
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Forging Connections with Families, Part 1: Removing Barriers

A recent series of articles published in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel have me thinking about one of my favorite topics—the importance of forging connections between schools and parents.
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Here’s an Idea! Class Books with Parents

Making a class version of a book is a community building activity used by lots of teachers at the beginning of the year. I used it with second graders, but it could…
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Keeping in Touch with Families All Year Long

Step out of your teacher shoes for a moment and imagine yourself as the parent of a child you teach. You're at home, and the phone rings. You pick it up and…
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Reaching Out to Parents

For many families at Sarasota Suncoast Academy, the school day begins in the parking lot with a friendly personal welcome from principal Steve Crump. He and the rest of the office staff…
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Welcoming Families of Different Cultures

An adapted excerpt from Parents & Teachers Working Together One of the enduring truths about teaching is that to teach children well, we have to know them: what they’re passionate about, what…
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Investing in Parents During the First Six Weeks of School

Teachers work hard during the first six weeks of school to get to know their students and to establish a safe and welcoming classroom environment. This early investment makes the whole school…
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Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences Keep the Focus on the Child

On a sunny October afternoon, kindergartner Chloe welcomes her mom into her classroom for a conference. Together they review a map Chloe had created with symbols representing the activities that the class…
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Wonderful Wednesdays

Morning Meeting is over and writing workshop is underway. The children are scattered around the room sketching and then writing about objects that “called out to them.” Erin's dad is leaning against…
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Bridging Home and School

Learning about patterns is one of the first things we do in math in my primary classroom. We create patterns with our bodies, sing them, build them, clap them. But I never…
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Keeping Connected

It’s sharing time during Morning Meeting in Ms. Roberts’s first grade classroom. Jarrod is enthusiastically telling his classmates about the photos they will see when they look at his “family album.” The…
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Child Development

Question:What are your goals in sharing knowledge about child development with students’ families, and how do you go about it?
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