Keeping Parents "In the Loop"

As a new teacher last year, I knew that one of keys to a successful year was partnering with the parents. And while it can be quite a bit of work keeping the parents informed and involved, it is worth every minute! Throughout the year, I do 3 things to build and keep a good rapport with the parents of my students.

1. Back to school night: the first Monday after school starts, we have an annual "Back to School" night where the parents can come, see the classroom, meet the teacher, and hear important information about the upcoming year.
You can read more about my plans, procedures, and "5th grade survival guide" on this older post here.

2. Weekly newsletters: Every Monday I send home a newsletter, "The Weekly Scoop," that highlights key information for the week, such as class news, upcoming important dates, classroom jobs, and the weekly Bible verse and spelling words.  The parents are to read it, hang it somewhere it can be easily seen, and refer to it as a talking point with their child throughout the week.

You can download the template here.

*One of my students, Samuel, pulled his newsletter out of his mailbox today and exclaimed, "Again?!? I've gotten like 5 of these - what does the office want of me?!?" I don't think he's quite grasped the concept of a weekly newsletter... 

3. Good E-mails

One of the most important classroom management strategies is sending home GOOD e-mails! The kids go nuts if their name gets written on my white board under the "Good E-mail" list. They can earn a "Good E-mail" for working diligently, turning in a particularly good assignment, being exceptionally kind or helpful, etc. I love to see the students so motivated to do something praise-worthy and have me "brag to their parents." It beats a visit to the prize box any day! :)
Parents are just as excited to see these "good e-mails" in their inbox. Many have said they print them out, read them at the dinner table, and hang them on the fridge or in their child's bedroom. What a great way to celebrate a successful day!

How do you keep your parents involved? What have you tried that kept them informed and "in the loop"?

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