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Home-School Communication
Can You Hear Me Now?
Presented by
The Department of Family
and
Community Outreach
Prince George’s County Public
Schools
The Department of Family and
Community Outreach
Warm-up Activity
Intended and Perceived Meanings

1.
2.
3.
4.
Objective: To become aware that intended meanings may
not be the same as perceived meanings
Pair off into groups of two. Stand back-to-back.
One person will give verbal directions to the other person in
order to have that person complete a drawing. Only verbal
directions can be provided, questions cannot be asked or
answered.
Allow 5-10 minutes to complete the warm-up. Have pairs
turn face-to-face and share the results of their communication
exercise
Have the person giving directions show the “drawer” the
original document from which he/she was giving directions to
draw. Compare the duplicate to the original, how accurate is
the duplicate to the original? How clear were the directions
given by the director?
Communicating with Parents
Objectives

At the end of this workshop participants
will:




Be aware of different means of communication
Be able to utilize resources in the school to
enhance home-school communication
Recognize how different communication
approaches can strengthen or weaken teacherfamily relationships and impact student
achievement
Gain practice in using different communication
approaches under various circumstances
Communication


What does “communication” mean to
you?
As a classroom teacher, what comes to
mind when you think of communicating
with parents?
Communication
Defined





The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions,
or information by speech, writing, or signs –
(Webster’s College Dictionary)
Communication may involve impressions created or
words expressed
Communication involves one or two way exchanges
(Berger, 1991)
Communication is a message sent and a message
received
Communication is a process
One-way vs. Two-way
Communication
One-way
 Newsletters
 Bulletin boards
 School handbooks
 Progress notes
 Report cards
Two-way
 Surveys
 Focus groups
 Informal
conversations
 Progress reports
with request for
parent response
Resources to engage families in
home-school communication
Activities/Events
 First day of school
 Back to school night
 Parents observing classrooms
 Parents Assisting Teachers
 Parent/Family workshops
People
 Parent Liaisons
 P-Team
 Parent Organizations PTA/PTO
 Principal/Administrator
Research on Home-School Communication
Benefits of Home-School Communication




Parents and teachers consider communication the
number one factor in establishing and maintaining
trust
(Adams & Christenson, 2000)
Strong communication can encourage higher and
realistic parental expectations (Drake, 2000; James,
Jurich & Estes, 2001)
Communication serves as the first step to other types
of parent involvement (Elman,1999)
Parental insight can provide additional information to
help meet the needs of students (Kronowitz, 2008)
Home-School Communication Standards






Framework for Teaching: Domain 4- Professional
Responsibilities: Component 4C-Communicating with Families
National PTA- National Standards for Family-School
Partnerships: Standard 2: Communicating Effectively
PGCPS Master Plan-Goal 7: Strengthen relationships with family,
school, business, community, and institutions of higher
education to support improved student achievement
PGCPS Core Beliefs & Commitments: # 2 Parents are our
Partners We commit to increasing family engagement in the
education process through communication and outreach
MSDE Goal 5: School systems and schools will communicate
more frequently with families and communities
Joyce Epstein’s Framework of Six Types of Family Involvement:
Type 2-Communicating
Topics of Home-School Communications
Formal and Informal











Student Progress
Information about school & community events
Information about school’s overall performance
Goals & strategies of instructional programs
Teacher expectations
Parenting information
Needs & strengths of students
Needs & strengths of parents/families
Family issues that may impact learning
Expectations of parents/guardians
Family ability to volunteer and/or support school
Methods of Home-School Communications
Personal



Face-to-Face
Telephone
Home visits
Writing




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Notes
Letters
Report cards/Progress reports
Newsletters
Student portfolios
Student agenda books, logs
Methods of Home-School Communications
(Continued)
Electronic/Technological





Internet Websites
E-mail
School Communication System
School Information System
Video technology
Process for Communication



Identify the goal and reason for the
communication
Consider the audience
Choose a communication approach that
opens a two-way conversation
Six Approaches to Open Home-School
Communication
1.
Instructing
2.
Following up
3.
Asking for help
4.
Revealing
5.
Informally exchanging
6.
Active listening
Instructing

Definition
Explicating and
elaborating

Example
Providing an
explanation of how
to help a student
with a homework
assignment
Following up

Definition
Reminding and
monitoring

Example
Remind parent
about due date for a
project
Asking for Help

Definition
Looking for
assistance

Example
Asking parent to
share information
about their child
(strengths and
needs)
Revealing

Definition
Sharing information
openly

Example
Informing parents of
your class goals and
expectations
Informally Exchanging

Definition
Having a reciprocal
dialogue

Example
Taking time to sit
and chat with no
formal agenda
Active Listening


Definition
Listening and paying
attention

Examples
Actively listening to
a parent express
their concerns,
opinions, etc.
Challenges to Home-School
Communication

Pragmatic






Cultural


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Economic
Time
Transportation
Logistics
Technological
Language difference
Ethnic difference
Gender difference
Non-verbal cues
Institutional


School climate
Teacher/Staff attitude
8 Tips for Communicating with a
Person from a Different Culture
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Take personal responsibility to make the communication effective
Clarify the communication, seek feedback, ask questions
Recognize that some persons may not be comfortable discussing
certain issues. Try to empathize.
Avoid being judgmental. Respect differences and accept the person
as an individual.
Observe verbal and non verbal behaviors
Pay attention to personal space
Be aware of different uses of eye contact. Indirect eye contact is
the norm in many cultures, especially in male-female
communications
If the person is non-English speaking, try to learn the language
and/or use an interpreter
Strategies to Overcome Home-School
Communication Challenges

Challenges
1.
Language differences
2.
3.
4.
Time limitations of
teachers & parents
Perceptions of teachers &
parents
Teacher preparation & lack
of knowledge

Strategies
1A Use of interpreters
1B Correspond in the
language of families
2A Establish a schedule
2B Establish mutually agreed
upon times & venues
3A “Seek first to understand”
4A Pre-service training
4B Professional development
Case Study Activity
Tim Kelly: A Teacher Responds to a Family
in Need
Closing, Evaluation & Next Steps



Review of Objectives and Q & A
Evaluation of workshop
Next Steps


Continued professional development
opportunities
Read chapter 7 in The Teacher’s Guide to
Success (Ellen Kronowitz) and pages 92-96
in Enhancing Professional Practice-A
Framework for Teaching (Charlotte
Danielson)