Quick, Effective Parent Contact
By Phone or Email!!

By now I hope you've read my parent contact teaching strategies on parent teacher conferences, student agendas, classroom newsletters, report cards and report card comments.

If not click here to go back to my page on parent teacher communication. Here are some tips on two other forms of parent teacher communication; phone calls and email.

Contact Parents By Phone

* It's important NOT to wait until the next parent teacher conference to discuss with a student's parents any personal or academic problems that have arisen in the recent past - it's not fair to parents, the student and to you - it's your duty, part of the job that can't be ignored.

* If a problem has escalated to the point where speaking to the student is ineffective and writing in the student agenda has been ignored, whether its in the 2nd week of school or closer to the end of the term, parents MUST be notified.

* Prior to the phone call you can check with the student's teacher from the previous year to see if there's any previous history of this issue or look into OSR for any incidents that have been written up.

* Speaking from personal experience, some students will delete your phone message, so be sure to write a note in the student's agenda that you will be calling or call parents at work (if possible). If you're calling them at work make sure it's a good time for them to speak, apologize for calling them at work, state the importance and urgency of the phone call,and make it as brief as possible.

* You may want to have a script or some notes ready so that you don't forget anything.

* Begin the conversation by stating that the call is not an emergency, the child is fine and then add something positive about the student so that parents are not put on the defensive. Be warned many parents will blame you "What did you do to my son/daughter for them to do this? This has never happened before." Be sincere and specific.

* Don’t raise too many issues at once so as not to overwhelm the parents. Handle one issue at a time for example discipline or grades, especially if the parent contact is by phone message.

* Document the call, for example in a behavior log, stating the date, reason for the parent contact and action taken.

* Try not to call during your preparation time or lunch - a longer period of time may be necessary and preparation time is precious, use it wisely.

* If you're calling because of a homework issue or behavioral problem have the student beside you when you make the call. He or she will then know exactly what you said to the parents and parents may want to speak to their child afterwards.

* Be sure, that when you finish the phone call or before handing the phone over to the student, that you end the conversation on a peaceful and positive note by saying something to the effect of "We need to work together in a partnership because we both want (student's name) to succeed".

* Also end by arranging a parent teacher conference (with or without the child)or with a follow up call in a couple of weeks to review the progress. Be sure to make the call.

* If the issue is still not resolved, after speaking with the student, putting notes in the student's agenda, speaking with the parents, and documenting everything, it's time to escalate the issue to the administration, vice principal or principal and let them take it from there.

Parent Contact By Email

Email is a fast, easy and reliable way to reach parents (especially those that are working and not at home during the day) to convey a positive experience, a problem that has come up regarding their their child, or any other issues that need to be addressed quickly.

There's no confrontation and no one is put on the defensive.

Be cautioned though. When you do email parents - do it from school. - You don't want to provide them with your personal email address. - Believe me, they will be in your face all the time! I have heard too many horror stories.

Or, you can be like me. - I'm a "people person" - I face things head on. Remember "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly".

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