Having your first (or second, or third) child enter the K-12 system can be a milestone in so many ways for families…and for teachers and leaders. Setting the tone with when and how you communicate goes a long way in establishing trust and building relationships with the stakeholders you will be serving in this important journey.
- Finding the right platform(s). Families these days receive information in so many more ways than ever before. As educators we must work to find the right fit for each family to ensure they are receiving information in a timeline manner. A few years ago we created a blog that links directly with our Facebook Page. That way families can see an intro to a subject and if interested can click to go right out to the blog for further information. We also post pictures of the school day, go Facebook ‘live’ on events and push out reminders on this social platform. I utilized twitter and the hashtags: #WoodsonK, #PackinTrain and #wkcrounds so parents can see inside their child’s day. YouTube has been a great vehicle to push out monthly videos about events and to give families a view into instructional practices that occur everyday in kindergarten. When look for what to use-make sure you are surveying your stakeholders so that you are choosing the right tools to reach your families, and recognize that there maybe be more than one right answer.
- Make sure to teach the tool, and then use it! Teachers use tools like Seesaw, Remind, Facebook and Twitter to communicate with their families. Before posting they spend time at back to school conferences demonstrating the tool and helping families get signed up and logged into the tool. We want to our best to make communicate between home and school to be easy, accessible and supportive for families. I have even seen teachers highlight the tool during subsequent parent nights and conferences. But once families are signed up-use the tool to communicate early and often. The more you post, the more families get practice using it and the strong bridge you build between home and school.
- The old fashion way. One expectation I have for myself is to ensure families receive positive communication about their child within the first month of school. Starting the second week of school, armed with addressed postcards and classroom lists, I sit in classrooms and look for the good in everyone. Once I have done an observation of a class I take the time to write 3-5 postcards to specific students engaged in learning, positive social behaviors, and/or contributing the the class in a specific manner. I keep track on the class list of who I sent cards to and then move to the next room. This process takes almost the full 30 days but incredibly worth it! Parents and students are very proud to receive mail home from school from the Principal, and it helps me shift the defined role of what I principal is ‘supposed’ to do to what our vision of school leadership is and how I can help contribute to the success of our learners everyday.
What are you looking at to ensure you are leading in ways that build on your school mission and vision while becoming a visible leader?
What are you looking for in regards to ways to enhance your commitment to stakeholders by becoming more engaged and involved in the day to day aspects of your school?
Have a great start to the year and Keep Dreaming BIG for our Littlest Learners!