It is a bit tedious but I call parents in the first two weeks of school to introduce myself and have a positive first phone call. This also helps me to know which contact information are working for future reference. If I do not get to all my parents, I usually get them all before the first Open House.
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I teach HS on a block schedule, 75 peeps per semester. I call 10 a night until I have made contact with all of them. I enter it as a grade in my gradebook as "Contact Home," so when the student sees a Z, they know there's a problem, and it usually gets fixed (bad phone number etc).
Then, I block off one hour weekly and I call as many as I can. When a student falls to a D, they are put on the Saturday Morning Call list (9am works well).
Finally, I reverse the process before the end of the semester. Leaving a message doesn't count. Because I teach high school, I place the responsibility on the student. They cannot earn the grade until I can make contact.
More than calling, though, I depend on and utilize email weekly. I send out an eletter, which, if a parent responds to the "Question of the Week" found in it, I give the student nominal points in my gradebook. The few parents who do not utilize email call or can write a note.
I have 100 students, so instead of calling parents when something positive happens, I host "Tea with Teachers" where all parents are invited for treats and conversations. This year our team hosted three teas and 46 families attended. We also send out a monthly newsletters that communicates positive things happening in class. In addition, we make phone calls whenever there is a student issue. Our team goal is to reach 100% of parents at some point during the year and we can do most of this by reaching out in positive ways. For example, we send out the newsletter via email and many parents respond to that.
Hope this helps!
I don't actually call parents unless I need their help, but I do send an e-mail to parents if the students don't mind sharing it. I basically send them a short note about any ideas they have for the class, they can share them with me at any time.
Finding the time to call and email parents is always a challenge. I have a parent contact email list. I put an email address for each parent on this. For most communication I will email and give each student a hard copy to take home.
I appreciate the parents who email me often. It is easy to get back to them frequently. For the others I don't usually call unless there is a behavior problem.
Our behavior chart is colored and if a child goes from green to red they lose recess and a phone call home is made. I will also call if something is going to change on the report card, such as demonstrates self-control was satisfactory and needs to be changed to needs improvement. I will call and explain why.
I like Maria's idea of calling each parent before open house to start a positive exchange of communication!
I did the same thing, Maria! It took some time, but it helped to establish that positive connection from the very beginning. I call parents to share positive news as well as concerns I have about a student (academic and behavior). I do not call parents for every little infraction because that speaks to classroom management. However, if I notice a student has slacked off in some way or I see a drastic change in them (i.e. falling asleep during class, extra moody), I always call the parent to investigate. This may seem like a common sense thing to do, but too often I've seen educators completely ignore warning signs in their students. I've gained a ton of insight into my student's behavior by simply picking up the phone.
I also rely heavily on postcards to send quick notes to parents. They LOVE it. Short and to the point.
Initially before school begins, just to establish rapport. If needed during the school year I try to email and ask them what time would be best OR wait until after "typical" dinner time.
I ask parents to give me a best time to call time when I first meet them. If I have not met them yet, I send a note on the bottom of my weekly information sheet asking parents to let me know the best time for me to call them. Sometimes, I do call and ask them then. Parents are pretty good about letting a teacher know when to call.
Once I receive my list of students in my class, I call the parents to introduce myself and tell them they have been accepted into the preK class. Then again on Meet the Teacher Morning I get to see them in person which is really cool because it gives me a feel of the parents and children, if they come.
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