Parent/Family communication is always a huge push and there are 3 main ways that I communicated with families (and now teachers) that I have found helpful and my tips are below!
- Remind text messaging (remind.com): With so many people in the district already using it, this may be old news to you, but if not, check it out! You can instantly send out a reminder about homework, permission slips, upcoming events, or you can schedule it in advance. This is great for families and students alike! It can even be used in your building to communicate with your teachers about upcoming drills, meetings, etc. You can even attach documents! I had students get out their phones and sign up in class, had handouts for families to sign up at conferences and open house, and put the sign up information on my intro letter to families as well as in an email.
- Email: Not a new concept by any means, but consider sending out a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly communication to families that may include information about homework, projects, school events, help resources and videos, information about standards, extra practice, or my personal favorite "Questions to Ask Your Student" which can be general, or content specific. When content specific, I recommend providing potential answers to support the family member who might be asking the questions. One way I managed this was by having a spreadsheet of parent emails and you can use this to copy/paste each week, or make a group and just click that group each time. I highly recommend putting email addresses in "Bcc" category of your email so no one replies all.
- Website (weebly.com): There are many platforms on which you can make your own website for free. Obviously, I love weebly because it is very user-friendly and intuitive. You can post curriculum resources, homework, contact information, downloadable resources that families can print from home for that student that conveniently "forgot" or "lost" their work at school, and much more. The possibilities are endless. I always informed families and students of these resources that were available to them, but never forced anyone to sign up for anything. In my initial family survey in the beginning of the year, if they said they preferred email or text as their mode of communication, I added them to Remind myself, and was sure to send them emails. Usually, once families figured out they had not been receiving all of these fantastic resources, they were disappointed to have been missing out!