Both families and schools have a responsibility to maintain good communication about students, regardless of their academic abilities or special needs. Here's a roundup of resources—for both educators and parents — from around web on keeping in touch for student success.
Parent Teacher Communication — Tips for Creating a Strong Parent-Teacher Relationship includes ways parents can help teachers understand their children, as well as why it's so important. It also contains basic truths about good communication: It should be mutual, it must be in the best interest of the child, and it should be regular.
From Good Housekeeping magazine, Parent-Teacher Talk has great advice for parents: Don't wait to talk to a teacher about concerns that could become problems, accept the responsibility you have for being your child's parent, and teach your child tools for resolving issues that come up with homework or problems at school.
If you're unsure of what information you'd like to find out the next conference, check out this list from education.com: Questions to Ask During the Parent-Teacher Conference.
Preparing the School for Your Child with Autism contains information that may be beneficial for children with all kinds of special needs. It's crucial that teachers and schools work together to know how to help your child succeed.
Parent-Teacher Communication Advice From Veteran Teachers: You can't beat wisdom from educators who have been in the trenches for awhile. New teachers, heed the advice you read here.
No-nonsense statements from a parent's perspective: What Parents Would Like Special Educators to Know
For Parents and Teachers
From education.com: Building Parent-Teacher Partnerships outlines general responsibilities for school personnel and those on the home front.
My two cents: Having taught in public school, I can attest that there are things some schools and teachers do well when it comes to communication, and things some do poorly. In my opinion, school districts and administrators should:
1. Set up a parent-teacher conference schedule at the beginning of the year. I worked at a school that did this every year. As students are enrolled, parents were to choose a time the week before school that worked for them. Most teachers were willing to accommodate parents at other times as well, as long as an appointment was made.
2. Encourage positive communication from teachers to parents. Why should the only notes be about inappropriate behavior or other problems? Teachers are extremely busy, but taking a few moments to write out the great things a child is doing is a wonderful thing for a parent to read. Just think how much we all enjoy a note of appreciation.
3. Expect frequent communication from school to home for some students. Children who have special behavioral or health concerns often need the support of communication that is more frequent than a once-a-month newsletter or a quarterly conference. That said, no parent needs to hear about every little sin their child committed during the day.
And, in my opinion, parents should:
1. Expect that Individual Education Plans (IEP) and other paperwork for your child with special needs may be caught up somewhere in the great divide if your child is changing schools. Bring a copy of the current IEP to the teacher at the beginning of the year, as well as any other important information (behavior plan, 504 plan, special lunch requirements, notes from physicians, etc.), then have a little patience. Bureaucracy is rampant in the educational system.
2. Know that, although most teachers love helpful and willing parent volunteers, we'll take a parent who works with their child at home and communicates with us over a volunteer any day.