This strategy will support teachers to learn about the importance of making time to connect with families to form a partnership in support of their children. This approach can help teachers to form positive connections with students and their families, and maintain a holistic/asset-based perspective about each student.
Create a schedule for calling your students' families to share positive news (i.e. one student per day each month). Alternatively/additionally, create a Google Doc where you will share positive news about each of your students, and invite your students' families to access the Google Doc to enjoy the positive news.
As you gather academic information about each of your students, also note their strengths as members of the learning community (i.e. persistence, compassion, leadership, advocacy, curiosity, creativity, humor, empathy, resourcefulness, resilience, sense of wonder, courage). Refer to the articles linked in the resources section below to deepen your understanding of the importance of sharing positive news with families.
Create opportunities for students to give one another positive feedback, and share that information with your students' families as well (i.e. "During our community circle, your child's classmate shared how enjoyable it was to work with him/her on the group project because of how creative and responsible s/he is.")
Consult the Calling Parents: To Keep Kids in Line or Help Them Learn? article in EdWeek and the resource below to learn more about the power of the positive phone call home.
Google Docs is an online word processor (part of Google Apps) that allows you store, create and edit documents collaboratively in a web browser.
This tool provides teachers with a way to communicate positive news to families about their children.
Seesaw is a digital portfolio tool that students can use to track their progress and upload evidence of their learning throughout the year.
This tool provides a way for students and teachers to communicate positive news to families through the sharing and commenting feature. Parents and caregivers can provide immediate responses and support to their child in written or verbal form once the child uploads a new element or piece of evidence to their digital portfolio.
Bloomz is a tool that teachers and schools can use to share positive news with families about their children.
This tool provides teachers with a way to update families about their children's strengths and contributions to the learning community.
Using Positive Communication to Families to build relationships with students and families is a foundational tool teachers can use to support all students with disabilities. In particular, it is a crucial tool in supporting students with emotional and behavioral impairments as they often disproportionately struggle in traditional classroom settings and they and their parents often struggle to build positive relationships with educators. In order to effectively use Positive Communication to Families to support all students with disabilities, consider the following modifications:
Teacher knowledge and acknowledgement of students disabilities is a key tool to effectively communicating positive news to families for students with disabilities. Before communicating positive news, teachers should make sure they are familiar with IEP goals and/or previous progress a student has made. See “Six Tips for Communicating Student Progress to Parents” in the resource section below for more information.
This strategy reminds teachers of the importance of connecting with English learner families. English learner families may require special means of communication to ensure clear communication.
In order to support English learners consider the following modifications: