Build Authentic Relationships - Staff

What is this best practice area?

Building authentic relationships with families is the foundation for strong and effective family partnership. 

Authentic relationships are defined by cultural humility (the lifelong process of critical self-reflection and self-critique, redressing  power imbalances, respectful appreciation and attitude towards diverse lived experiences, and advocating for and maintaining institutional accountability) and an acknowledgment of the other person’s agency. 

It is important that we are always “building” towards authentic relationships, as they take consistent time and effort, self-reflection, trust, and two-way communication. 

Make this Best Practice Area Come to Life

1. Families Know How to Contact School Staff with Questions About Their Children

2. Schools Initiate Conversation with Families

3. Know who to Contact to Connect Families to Community Resources if Needed

Families Know How to Contact School Staff with Questions About their Children

Consistent communication is crucial for an effective partnership with families. It is important to have a simple and standard way for staff, students and families to send and receive information. 

Here are a few best practices:

  • Try to have one channel for families to receive and send communication. Systems are used more often when they are simplified and unified. When ALL STAFF are using the same system to communicate with families, it works towards the ideal of equity for all students and families.  
    • Similarly, make sure ALL FAMILIES are aware of the system, whether that is text, email, ParentVue, etc. 
  • Offer capacity building opportunities for staff, families and students to learn how to navigate any communication tools utilized.
  • Maintain consistent communication as much as possible with families. 

Schools Initiate Conversation with Families

It is the school's responsibility to initiate conversations with families. It is important that schools use a variety of methods to communicate with families and the community throughout the year. School site staff might think about using newsletters, phone calls, emails, website notices, one-on one meetings, etc.

It is also essential that information is provided to families in a language and format that is accessible and can be understood.

Check out this template you can follow as a guide when writing your introduction letter to families as their child’s new teacher.

Know Who to Contact to Connect Families to Community Resources if Needed

Families may not always know where or how to find the resources they need to best support their children. As a staff person, you can reflect on the following questions:

  • What supports and programs are available to provide families support in your community? 
  • Who at your school can provide you with information about resources for families?

This page was last updated on February 27, 2024