Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Parent Contact

One of the things I'm trying to work on this year is being better about parent contact.  If parents contact me first, I'm pretty good about getting back to them immediately with feedback or answers.  I haven't been great with initiating contact.  This year I decided that I would contact the parents of struggling students early in the school year to try and help those students

Our first quarter just ended last week.  As I was putting in grades, I made note of students who were having severe problems (D or E) and areas they were struggling in (homework, quizzes, etc.).  I got the e-mail addresses of those students' parents and contacted them, and CC'd the guidance counselors.

Here's a general outline of the email I sent out (though obviously it would need to be changed for the individual student!):

Dear [ parents ]
I wanted to contact you about your [ son/daughter ], who is taking [ German I ] with me this year.  I'm concerned about [ his/her ] performance so far.  He/she is struggling with [ list specific areas such as homework, participation, study habits, etc - put a specific example or reasons! (ex: student absences might be an issue) ].  While it's still early in the year, students who struggle in the first quarter often have more difficulties later on in the school year.   
I was hoping to get in contact with you while there's still lots of time to help [student's name] build a strong foundation to help [ him/her ] succeed this year in [ German ].  We'll be having conferences [ later this month ], and I'd love to see you then to discuss study and work strategies and come up with an action plan for the upcoming quarter.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon,  
[ teacher ] 
I had thought about contacting mid-way through first quarter, but when that point came, I found I didn't necessarily have enough information about student habits to know what areas they were struggling in.  Farther in, I feel like I know more about the students and their specific strengths/weaknesses, and I want to be able to be specific with parents.  There's also Fall Conferences during the week of Thanksgiving.  Parents were able to start signing up for conferences yesterday and they were contacted by me last week.  The timing lined up a bit better this way.

How do you initiate contact with parents?

- Frau Leonard

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