Communicating Positive News to Families

Families enjoy receiving good news about their children and opportunities to celebrate their strengths
32 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

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.

Implementation Steps

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Tech Tools to Support Teachers to Communicate Positive News to Caregivers

Google Docs

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Remind

  • Remind is a tool that teachers and schools can use to keep families informed about what's happening in the classroom and at the school (i.e., celebrations, projects, field trips, assessments, deadlines).
  • This tool provides an easy way to share celebratory news and examples with families.

Google Voice

  • Google Voice gives you a phone number for calling, text messaging, and voicemail.
  • Google Voice can be helpful if you'd prefer not to use your personal phone number to connect with students and their families. 

WhatsApp

  • WhatsApp allows you to send individual or group text messages. 
  • WhatsApp can allow you to communicate with students families over wifi and on a cellular device, so that families without a laptop or with limited data can still receive and communicate key information.

Special Education Modification

Nedra Massenburg
Special Education Specialist

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:

Modifications:

  1. 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.


 

EL Modification

Shannon Coyle
English Learner Specialist

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:

Modifications:

  1. Communicate with families in a language they can understand. Reach out to language and/or enrollment specialists in the school to ensure you know if families require translation services in order to communicate with them. Prepare in advance to access appropriate services and/or technologies for families and your own comprehension. See the “Communicating Important Information with ELL Families: Strategies for Success” and “Engaging Multilingual Families in Distance Learning and Beyond” resources in the resource section below for more information.