Improving Communication

Improving Communication

This module emphasizes the value of communication between home and school that is ongoing, two-way and meaningful. It also points to communication as the foundation of solid partnerships and the fact that when parents and educators communicate effectively, positive relationships develop, problems are more easily solved and students make greater progress.

Click on the buttons below to begin with a self-assessment for communication practices in your school community. Each button is directly tied to practices, research, NM Teacher Competencies, videos and resources in English and Spanish.

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Positive Phone Calls Can Make a Difference

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Use these suggestions when making phone calls to families.

When a telephone call from school is a positive one, the atmosphere between home and school is improved and encourages the belief that all children can learn. Make positive phone calls at least two or three times during the school year to:

  • introduce yourself to the parent;
  • comment on the child's progress;
  • share particular strengths of the child and an anecdote about the child;
  • invite parents to open house, conferences, volunteer opportunities and other school functions; and
  • describe the school curriculum.
Making a positive phone call to parents is simple in concept, but requires:
  • time and effort;
  • strong support from school administrators to provide teachers with time, feedback and resources to maintain open lines of communication;
  • planning to ensure commitment; and
  • contacting parents in the evening or during the weekend since many work during the day.
Tips For Making Phone Calls
  • Establish rapport and an effective working relationship with parents by making positive calls early in the year and often.
  • Communicate about student growth, rather than student problems, to get parents on your side. If there is a problem later, you will have laid the foundation for their support in helping to solve it.
  • Contact parents at the first sign of a problem, but avoid making your first contact a problem-solving call.
Sample Worksheet for Phone Calls (Positive and Problem Solving) Use this worksheet to help plan your phone contact with families. Thinking ahead about what you want to discuss and why will help make your call more effective.
Student Name
Phone Number

Parent/Guardian Names

Reason for Calling
Hello, this is (your name & position). Is this a good time to talk?

Reason for calling (positive call)
I would like to let you know how well your child is doing in

Statement of Goal (problem solving call)
I need your help in

Statement of Objectives

Rationale
It is in the child's best interest that we work together to

Discuss how parent can support the goal

Solution and Follow-up (problem solving)
So, to review, we've decided to

Source: Preston, J. and Whipple, M. (1997)