Another great school year has begun… We are busily working to create relationships with a ton of students who are new to our school, as well as to reconnect with all the students who were with us last year.
The other group of stakeholders that we must focus on right now are our parents. We have a wonderful community of parents who care deeply about their students and send their best child to school every day. Not all parents, though, have had good experiences with schools, teachers or principals. How do we develop relationships with parents, many of whom are reticent to even come into their community school at times?
Hopefully, our first connections with parents are in a positive form. Asking about their child, sharing about the school or classroom, sharing something positive the child did, meeting with them just to get to know them, finding out their thoughts about how best to support their child, or opening communication between the school and the family need to be the majority of early interactions. A great start was our Welcome Back Barbecue which most families were able to attend. They “broke bread” with the staff and other families, as well as heard about the wonderful things happening at Keeler School. It was a low stress, low anxiety event where staff served up hot dogs and snacks and drinks, met with parents informally, and were welcomed to the families to the school for the new school year.
Right now is about setting the tone for the year. I think about some of the favorite parents I have worked with over my career, and I look at how that developed. There was a lot of discussion, focus on the learning of the children, as well as the growth of trust that I care about their child and I will do everything I can to help them learn and advance as a person.
A fellow blogger, Justin Tarte, wrote about how we can continue to develop the growth of a community school. We are already doing many of his ideas, but it is great food for thought… http://www.justintarte.com/2013/08/10-ways-to-build-community-school.html?m=1
I heard from a number of parents after the Welcome Back Barbecue about how they were so impressed with Keeler School and how we welcomed them into the Keeler School community. This is a huge start. This will be work we continue to develop, and we will have great discussions about especially as we continue to move forward in assessment and engaged learning.
Keep building that trust! Work hard, learn tons!