When you have 100+ students, parent communication is tricky! Some parents you might never hear from, some live with grandparents, some have helicopter parents, but the truth of the matter is the more you communicate with parents often the better results you will see in class. Parent communication can span the gamut of newsletters to emails to phone calls and often documentation is required. In previous schools, I have had to turn in my parent communication documentation for any student who was not passing and for any behavior consequences past a thirty minute detention.
If you are like me, you have a planner or to-do list that says, “call home – _________” and it is hard to keep track of when you left a message or when you were able to speak to someone. This post is only going to address how to keep this all organized, not necessarily when or if you should call home. We will save that hot topic for another day. 🙂
ORGANIZING PARENT COMMUNICATION
Note: This idea worked for me. If you are super techy, you might prefer a spreadsheet, Google doc, or Evernote. The same principles should apply. Personally, I liked making notes by hand.
1. Take the time to set up a binder before you actually have to call
I really liked having a 1.5” binder with a set of tabs for each class period. A binder kept everything together and made my life easier when I needed to call. It also made it easy to provide records when the time came. No more flipping through your planner or to-do list or looking for sticky notes when you need to submit documentation.
2. Print a one-page sheet for each student
I liked to include this form at the beginning of the year when I passed out my syllabus. I would create a simple form with the student’s information on the top. Be sure to include their full first and last name and even student ID number, if that applies. This will make looking them up in your school management system easier. I would ask students to jot down any extra-curriculars as well as how they got to and from school. You will appreciate knowing this when scheduling tutoring or making up work.
Students took this home and had their parent/guardian complete the bottom portion. This included their phone, email, etc. Likely, your student management system has this information, but I liked getting it from them because sometimes the system is out of date or has seventeen wrong numbers. Oh, just me?
On the back of the page, I include a blank table that is ready for my notes.
3. Info sheets are stored in parent communication binder
Simply collect the pages, hole punch them, and add them to the appropriate section based on their class period. This is perfect when they change class periods at semester or because of electives. Just grab their sheet and move it to the correct section.
4. Communicate and Document
Now you are set, the next time you need to make phone calls or send an email simply grab your binder. Find the student info page, contact, and make a quick note in the table on the back. Let’s say that the numbers are wrong or info has changed, just make a note on that page, so you can save a few minutes the next time.
Any time you are required to submit documentation or perhaps in the event of a meeting (parent, ARD, behavior, etc) just grab the page for that particular student and make a copy.
Before this system, I had a running list in a spiral and while it did the job, it was a huge pain to reference at a later date. This binder makes parent communication and documentation easier and more effective. What great ideas for you have for organizing parent communication?