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Fostering Proactive Communication for Success: A Partnership Between Home and School Teams

Regular communication between parents and educators is crucial for ensuring the overall well-being and academic success of students.  It allows for the efficient exchange of information about a student’s academic progress, conduct, as well as their social, emotional functioning in both environments. This collaborative approach to communication creates an empowering partnership between parents and educators and allows for any areas of concerns to be addressed in a prompt manner.  Several research studies support the benefits of open and consistent communication between home and school. Specifically, numerous studies show a positive correlation between parent and teacher communication and school attendance, stronger academic achievement, and a sense of belonging within the school community.

Dr. Joyce Epstein, professor of sociology at John Hopkins University and the principal research scientist in the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR), has over 100 research publications exploring the effects of home-school relationships. Her research conclusively shows that the home-school partnership that has the greatest positive influence on a student’s social, emotional, cognitive, and educational development is the one where parents and school teams communicate on a regular basis and work as a team to quickly address any concerns.

What are some examples of ways that home and school can work together to support students?

  • Establish open and consistent communication channels to share updates and address any concerns. At the school level, this may involve regular email communication regarding upcoming school events, extracurricular activities, and information regarding important safety information (e.g., end of day dismissal, lockdown drills, etc.). At the student level, this may take the form of regular correspondence in the agenda or a homework journal to provide families with information about school projects, academic progress, and social, emotional, and behavioural functioning at school. Parents may also use the agenda or journal to communicate their child’s functioning at home, so the teacher is aware of any challenges their child is encountering (e.g., difficulty with math, challenges with sleep, etc.).
  • Conduct regular meetings to discuss student’s academic performance, strengths, and areas for improvement. These meetings could be held in person or virtually and will hopefully foster stronger collaboration between the home and school teams.
  • Schools can provide resources and information to parents to assist with homework and encourage families to connect with educators when students are struggling with assignments (e.g., homework clubs at school, online homework support programs, etc.)
  • Use of student-led conferences, where students actively participate in discussing their progress. These types of meetings build student confidence and foster a sense of ownership over their learning.
  • Attend parent education workshops on various topics to empower parents with the knowledge and skills to support their child’s learning and wellbeing.

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