Principles and Practices of Parent High School Communication
Goal To develop effective forms of home to school and school to home communications that ensure that families and school personnel can converse about students and school life.
1. Two-way, easy-to-use, and varied communication systems will allow connections to be made and information to be shared between school and home.
(The word, "Parent" is used to signify any person who is a caregiver.)
I. Two-way, easy-to-use, and varied communication systems will allow connections to be made and information to be shared between school and home.
1. An email system will be established that will enable all teachers to be contacted by parents
2. Hold multiple parent meetings that are just in different languages when possible. Often time parents who do not feel comfortable in English, and may feel intimidated by an all-English forum, even if there are translators.
II. All forms of communications are clear and accessible for all families.
1. Establish and update the high school web site with a link to the school system's home page - there is a site for parents whereby information can be downloaded at home: http://www.somerville.k12.ma.us/ a. school information from the handbook
A. schedules of school activities
B. resources at school, in the community and on the Internet
C. parenting tips and guides
D. teacher bios
E. parent and teen hotlines
F. health and other related information pertaining to adolescents
G. when submitted by teachers, access to individual course syllabi, requirements, assignments, due dates, and expectations with contact information for teachers (There is a teacher at the high school who has a web site with this information)
2. In addition to establishing an ongoing translation process to ensure that all printed communications are in various languages, work with the Board of Aldermen's Youth Subcommittee that is developing job possibilities for youth. A job that has been discussed is for high school students to translate brief documents for parents. Of course, this must be supervised and all material must be produced accurately
3. Establish a telephone system that allows messages to be left at school.
III. Positive communications are just as important as communication about problems, and therefore staff, faculty and parents should be given opportunities to meet to build positive relationships.
1. Establish a mentoring program whereby high school students meet with families of students in middle school to discuss life at the school and help with the transition. Such mentors might continue meeting with the younger student once at the high school for a period of time.
2. Encourage teachers and parents to share positive updates on students, and not just during report card periods.
3. Publicize school events through a variety of means, not just through take home materials or through the Journal (this is where having ongoing contact with community organizations could be beneficial to pass along information.)
IV. Parents and teachers need to be in contact with one another as soon as problems or other issues begin.
1. Exploration with Title 1, Parent Information Center and other funding sources will be done to create a Family Liaison position at the high school. Such a position would be an important link between family and school.
2. Assign personnel to respond to parents when the teacher is unavailable. Messages from families are responded to within a reasonable amount of time.
V. Parents should be invited in a manner that is open and comfortable for them – which may mean initially holding some gatherings outside the high school.
1. Advertise more widely the seventh and eighth grade tour of the high school to learn about curriculum offerings. Letters are insufficient. Post reminders in public places and use various networks in the city to communicate this important event. Flyers need to be colorful, simple flyer and appealing. Communication through the book bag method is faulty. Enlist parents to help with the advertising. Have at least one teacher in the 7/8th grade of every elementary school serve as a contact in their school for publicizing the event. Get the PTA's, the bi-lingual groups, the Choice Council and others to advertise in the elementary schools.
VI. Parents should be notified of opportunities to participate in school operations and governance that includes membership on, and attending school councils.
1. Explore other avenues to reach parents such as contacting community-based organizations that have networks already established and who have good working relationships with parents the school is trying to reach