All Your Parents | Part 2: Communicate

With generous support from The Annenberg Foundation, NCFL developed All Your Parents = AYP, a parent involvement professional development framework. After a lengthy review of the current literature and successful parent involvement program models, and in consultation with parents and experts in the field, NCFL determined six important areas for successful engagement of parents to support children’s academic achievement.

Communication between schools and families must be a two-way street. Too often parents miss the messages that come from school — whether written or verbal. Perhaps the note was left in the book bag, but maybe it was discarded because it wasn’t written in the parent’s language, or the parent didn’t have the skills to read and understand it. How do schools best support parents’ differing communication styles? How do parents become more comfortable communicating with schools and teachers? How do parents communicate messages to children about the importance of school?

Key Ideas

Communication with families should:

  • Be regular, two-way, purposeful, and effective.
  • Be conversational as well as provide information.
  • Employ various methods and strategies
  • Consider the communication skills of all families, e.g., disability, culture, and/or language differences.
  • Provide a means to build rapport and relationships.

Thoughts for Teachers

  • What methods do you use to communicate with parents?
  • Have you asked parents how they prefer to receive communication from you?
  • Do you write notes at a reading level most parents can read and understand?
  • Do you know the preferred languages of all the parents of children in your classroom?
  • Do you listen as well as talk?
  • Do you use multiple formats for sharing information with all parents?

Ideas for Parents

  • Ask your child questions about his schoolwork.
  • Talk about school and classroom projects, homework, and school issues. Show him or her that you are interested.
  • Practice using open-ended questions when talking with your child to find out more information (instead of “yes” or “no” questions).
  • Talk to your child’s teacher about curriculum, your child’s grades, homework expectations, etc., and discuss with your child.
  • Let teachers and the school know when you feel you are not being heard.

For more information, visit the other All Your Parent guides: