It's sort of amazing how many options there are for communicating with parents these days.

You can email, text, blog, tweet, call, Skype, write notes and of course conference face to face.  While the latter is certainly the best, it is important to establish a system for organizing and documenting your interactions with each of the families with which you work.

I find the best way to do this is to designate a space for making notes summarizing your varied communications. You don't need to take notes as you are talking with them, but it is helpful to have a written record that you can reference if needed. You want to be able to cross your Ts and dot your Is.  In the event that you are called into question regarding an issue, it will be helpful to be able to say, "On November 3rd we discussed ___ during a phone conversation" or "As mentioned in my note home on December 5th, Johnny had missed 5 homework assignments which has resulted in..." 

It's also handy dandy to help manage the "to do lists" that result from your interactions with parents. If Suzy's mom calls to say she is having a hard time with the recent math homework and you say you will put together some additional activities to help her, you can use Suzy's documentation page to note your plan and then document when you fulfilled your promise.

  • Essentially you want a designated page for each students. Some teachers like to keep a folder for each student to collect work and will document in there. I prefer to keep a class set of pages together in my teacher binder
  • I put them in order using my number system. This allows me to access them easily (especially if I am making several calls after school or writing notes in daily folders during prep) while at the same time makes it possible to remove them from the binder for conferences and meetings on specific students.
  • After you have communicated with a family: record the date, note who you corresponded with and what form of communication you used, and write a quick summary of your communication.
  • If a "follow-up" is needed, make note of what you will do.
  • Once you've completed the follow-up simply date it or write about specifics if it is warranted.
  • When you complete a page for a student staple a new page to the original.
  • If there is further documentation (printed emails, hand-written notes from parents, photocopies of feedback written on student work, etc) you may want to store those behind your communication log.
  • It may be helpful to have this document on hand when you plan for your parent teacher conferences.

I have created a resource that includes over 30 templates for documenting communication between school and home. It was designed as part of my Blackline Design Collection.  You can access and download it here: {ORGANIZING PARENT TEACHER COMMUNICATION NOTES}

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