How One Teacher’s SchoolStatus Communications Built Lasting Relationships with Families
After spending an entire year teaching both in-person and virtual classes during a global pandemic, I think it’s safe to say that we, as teachers, have all learned so much—about ourselves, our students, and the field of education itself. We have seen everything from struggles and suicides to successes and triumphs. We’ve seen great progress, change, and advancements; but we have also seen students enduring issues with mental health while trying to maintain our own to support those who need us. While this has been the hardest year during which I have ever taught—and probably will ever teach—due to circumstances that are outside of my control, it has also been the most rewarding and the best year I have ever experienced as a classroom teacher.
What makes me say that after the year I know we’ve survived? I have the best relationships with all stakeholders that I have ever built in my entire career, beginning with students and families at the forefront. I believe that much of this relationship-building was made possible through SchoolStatus as a means to facilitate communication with families.
How Highlighting Positive Achievements Built Family Engagement and Trust
Recently, when my Sophomores were completing their state standardized testing for the year—don’t get me started on all the problems with that scenario—I decided to use all of my free time to spread a little kindness and positivity. I decided I would reach out to all students’ families using SchoolStatus to send them an encouraging note about their students from throughout the year. I made it a point to highlight positive characteristics that were unique to each student and mention a specific quality or act that they had accomplished throughout the year. Here are some examples of messages I sent out to families:
The responses from families were phenomenal. It was so well-received. Families and caregivers were so overwhelmed that I had reached out to them to tell them something nice about their students. I received replies that said things like, “Thank you so much! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me that.” Families I had never connected with throughout the year responded with their appreciation. The texts I sent from SchoolStatus made families feel good, and that made me feel good about sending them. The time I’d invested paid off tenfold.
In the future, this is something that I would not wait until the end of the school year to do. Next year, I am going to make it a point to reach out and contact all families during the first few weeks of school about their students, not only to open up means of communication with them but also to begin the year on this positive note. I will do this again in the fourth quarter to highlight the growth and accomplishments of students throughout the course of the year to end the year on the same positive note.
Strengthening Classroom and School Communities
I believe the positivity that I have set up throughout the year has led to great relationships and classroom community—the best I’ve ever had throughout my time in education—with students and families. The positivity in and out of the classroom has built a classroom climate that is unlike any other that I’ve ever experienced, and the connections that I have made with students and families have been lifelong. The communication that SchoolStatus facilitates has helped me build those relationships. And this is why I have had the best year yet—and the best is yet to come.
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