A student's book snap, which a teacher shared on Twitter.

3 quick & easy ways I connect with parents

A 5th-grade teacher uses a mix of technology and psychology to keep families in the loop

Parents are at the center of a child’s academic success. A Columbia University study done in 2017 revealed that when the parents of middle- and high-schoolers received texts each week outlining their child’s grades, absences, or missed assignments—an example of a strategy known as “nudge interventions”—there was a 39-percent reduction in course failures and an 18-percent increase in student attendance.

A successful relationship between educators and parents requires this sort of constant communication, whether via phone call, email, or even an in-person conversation.

Related: 4 evidence-based ways parents improve student achievement

1. Establish a positive relationship

Within the first week of school, I try to contact every single parent or caregiver of my 75 students and make a positive point of contact with them. For example, to the parents of a student who enrolled after the school year had started, I wrote: “Good evening! I wanted to let you know I am proud of Anthony’s efforts. He’s had a fabulous first few days and I am so glad he joined us.”

To another set of parents, I wrote, “Good evening. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy having Nathan in class. He’s been a great role model for his peers and consistently follows procedures. I appreciate his efforts and I’m so glad he’s in our class.”

I like to keep parents in the loop at all times, so each day I send out updates about upcoming tests, attach study guides, or include a monthly calendar with upcoming events.

2. Use social media to share students’ work

We have a grade-level Facebook page where we post updates and pictures from our classroom. I also have a Twitter spreadsheet that’s posted in my Google Classroom. My students are allowed to go in and tweet during their free time. Then I approve it and tweet it from our class Twitter feed.

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