“[T]hose pre-parent meetings kind of gave the opportunity to build a relationship before school even started. So, … even before we even started school, [the teacher] was already sharing different information and calling to make sure everything was good to go, and that we had everything we needed to start the first day of school.” – DC Parent
The 2020-2021 School Year presents unique challenges for students’ intellectual, social-emotional, and physical development. COVID-19 aggravated long-standing inequities in our school system, and educators are saturated with strategies about how to support students this year. The reality—that what works for one student might not work for another—lives within this sea of ideas. What should educators do in the face of this uncertainty? Turn to the experts: their students’ families.
To partner with families, educators must first cultivate connections with them. No matter the format of schooling in your area, one thing is clear: building strong relationships with families at the beginning of the year is more critical than ever. Just as each student is unique, so is each family, and educators can apply many methods to connect with families. Flamboyan designed the Beginning of the Year Relationship Building Toolkit to help educators do just that.
In the Beginning of the Year Relationship Building Toolkit, educators can find:
- Guidance on making authentic Welcome Calls in any format;
- Reasons to use Partnered Communications for beginning of the year relationship building;
- Example prompts to create Student + Family Questionnaires;
- Considerations and ideas for hosting Community Building Meetings, such as Back to School Nights; and
- School Leader Moves to create the necessary conditions for family engagement to thrive.
Educators and families are facing immense stress around what the upcoming school year will hold. In the face of this pressure, we must center the fact that when educators and families are partners, students succeed. Now is the time for educators to double down on building strong relationships with families and collaborating to ensure this school year is a success.
As we continue to navigate life during COVID-19, keep in touch with Flamboyan for more tips, resources, and success stories here on the blog, or via our e-mail list, Twitter, DC Facebook, PR Facebook, and website.