Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Communication essentials #SAVMP

For this post, George has asked us to consider our methods of communicating with parents.  As he stated, we have many methods of communicating and each has its place and purpose.  At Merton, I use seven methods of communicating and will explain each below in no particular order.

Smore-  I use this webtool to create a weekly newsletter for the parents.  I include interesting news about our school, classrooms, and activities as well as pictures and reminders of upcoming events.  Once it is created, I email it out to all parents, post it on my website, and post it on Twitter.  Here is my most recent parent smore.

Twitter-  I use Twitter to send out pictures and reminders to students, staff, and parents.  Although our school Twitter account only has 119 followers, and I am one of them, I do have the school Twitter account (@mertonint) linked to our school's webpage and to my webpage.  You can see it here.

Emails-  I use emails to communicate with parents, especially after a parent has emailed me.  I have begun to use a rule I saw on Twitter from John B. Osgood (@josgood1), however, that states "A2: our email rule is if a parent sends you an email over five sentences a phone call is required. The call saves time #satchat"  If a parent has spent time putting together a lengthy email, a phone call or meeting is probably in order.  It will save time and avoid back and forth emails.

Website-  I use my website to post a variety of important information- daily announcements, weekly parent smore, school board presentations, and Thematic Wednesday assemblies, to name a few.  Here is the link to my website.

Phone calls-  I make phone calls nearly every time that I speak with a student, especially if I speak with them in my office.  Most of the time I have the student remain in the office with me for these conversations.

In person meetings-  I have in person meetings whenever I think it is best to handle a situation with all parties in the room.  Phone calls have their place, but meeting in person allows for body language and facial expressions to become a part of the conversation.  Face to face meetings are especially important for me when dealing with behavioral issues.

Parent forums-  I have used parent forums to discuss changes that will be implemented in our school or district.  Some topics we have discussed are netbooks (We are a 1:1 school with both netbooks and Chromebooks), project based learning, and a new schedule.

What methods of communicating with parents would you suggest I use?