This week I had the honor to share all the ways #WoodsonK creates partnerships with families. Leading at a Kindergarten Campus means I only have 174 days to establish relationships with families and provide students with the foundation of success for their K-12 career before they leave our school for 1st grade.
In 2016-17 we had over 350 students and over 25 different languages spoken by our families (check this video out below to see how we honored all our families at our Holiday Concert):
This unique situation provides us with opportunities to seek out the very best ways to ensure parents feel like partners and not participants in their child’s education.
When thinking about partnering with parents we first think of what is the goal of that communication and then find the tools and techniques that work for what we are trying to say or convey.
Sharing Information Working Together Seeking Feedback
Kindergarten Registration, First Day of School, Special Events coming up? With the everything going on in parent’s lives and all the different languages that we have in our school Facebook has been a great tool in sharing information with families. We have an open school account as well as many of our teachers have private groups specifically for the families of the student in their class for that school year. We also started using Facebook live to broadcast special events occurring during the school day so families can still participate in the celebrations from work or home. Check out our Facebook page here.
Remind has also been a great option to share information that goes directly into families’ cell phones as text based messaging. Teachers set up classroom accounts and then push out pictures, updates and conversation starters to families. Parents can text the teacher back questions or updates as well, and in their own languages.
Our Blog: Packers in Training has opened up a way to house and share information around all topics related to school. This is also where we post our Kid Principal and Video newsletters and link to our Facebook page. Other ideas that we have shared include ideas about K readiness, healthy treats, conversation starters at home, what 1st grade will be like, and everyone’s favorite…the annual Woodson all school lip sync.
Thanks to partnership with Search Institute, each year we have a Woodson #150WKC challenge. Each fall every family receives a copy of “150 Ways to Show Kids You Care flier” and then we asked families to do the following: read through the poster, choose one or two ways that your family shows they care, take a picture of yourselves showing that you care, and post to our Facebook page with the hashtag #150WKC. Staff and community members also participate in the challenge as a way to broaden relationships and support each other.
Overwhelmed? Not sure where to start? My last piece of advice-pick one tool that works for your school, learn it, and do it well. The hardest things for families is to push out something, and then use it inconsistently or not at all. Have your school office or district communications person help you be accountable to updating and creating content that is meaningful and relevant to who you serve.
Keep dreaming BIG for our littlest learners,
For more videos check these out: