Having a successful school year begins with building positive relationships with students, staff and parents.
- · Make a phone call or send a post card to introduce yourself! Make sure to attach your contact information to the note as well. This is not just for the student but for the parents! J
We all know back to school means numerous IEP rewrites and addendum changes and what not. I am not a fan of all the paperwork but I do like meeting with the parents. Throughout the school year it is difficult meeting with parents, which means I am usually on the phone trying to catch a parent during their (mainly my) lunch break or in some cases I give them a call in the evening from home.
Be careful when sending emails as they can become part of the student’s record. I often respond to concerned parents in email with a statement like “I will be able to address your concerns via phone conversation. Please let me know when you would be available to discuss this matter. ”
I know it is not always easy talking to parents but in the long run it is more beneficial and doesn't become part of the student’s written record.
Be sure to document your parent contacts in a communication log with date, time and topic. Keep these notes short and sweet. J
- · Be sure to ask for parent input
At the beginning of every school year I give parents a copy of my parent input form to fill out. I use this information to update the students’ IEPs. You can find it here at my TpT store for free.
Making the initial effort up front really shows parents that you care about their child and it makes them feel a part of the IEP team. I usually try to call parents once every 4.5 weeks. This gives parents a chance to voice concerns and hear about positive progress! It also gives them a chance to ask questions and to schedule conferences or meetings if needed.
I can remember a phone call with a parent who was shocked that I was calling because her child made good choices. This parent was tickled pink! It still brings tears to my eyes knowing that after 3+ years of being in school not one single teacher called home with goods news. All students have positives if you find them and harness them-You will have a great year! J
- · Get/Give teacher input call a staffing if you must
You must be sure that your classroom teachers and special/resource teachers (music, art, PE, etc) have an IEP snapshot of some sort. You must provide them with accommodations and other information that they need to know. They don’t need you to print a full copy of the IEP they can find that in each student’s cumulative file. here at my TpT store
One hour of effort now could save you HOURS of frustration in the future. So start in the beginning of the year, it will be more rewarding as the school year goes by. It is easier to build relationships at the start of the year then after a problem arises
Just Remember It's a Piece of Cake!