Set the Tone
“There are people that will say we don’t have time for school climate because we have too much on our plate. But I believe school climate is the plate, and everything else goes on top.” – Peter Dewitt
What is this best practice area?
Setting the tone is an essential piece of cultivating authentic partnership between schools and families. It is often the first step in creating an environment that supports and promotes effective and consistent family partnership.
Using input from families, schools are able to develop norms and rules for partnering. School leaders, especially, can set the tone for the overall school community’s attitudes and behaviors towards families.
Ideally, schools will work towards creating and implementing a schoolwide vision, expectations, and a plan that values families as equal partners. It's imperative that all stakeholders understand the plan and their role.
Hey school leader, how do you "SET THE MOOD" for excellence in your school?
Make the Best Practice Area Come to Life
1. Create and Share a School-Wide Vision for Family Partnership
2. Write and Distribute a "Welcome Back" Letter for Families
3. Create and Share a Standard Way for Families to Receive School-Wide Information
Create and Share a School-Wide Vision for Family Partnership
As a principal, or lead learner, I see myself as the family engagement “deal breaker” at my school. Unless I’m the one that’s expecting it, modeling it, creating opportunities for families to engage, providing time and training for my staff, and trying to be the bridge between home and school, family engagement just isn’t going to get done because it’s not yet at the priority level of something like standardized test- that is, something that “has to happen.” (Mazz, 2013, para. 1)
A great way to share your beliefs and expectations for family partnership with all stakeholders is to reflect on your family partnership "stance" and write a family partnership vision statement.
Use this tool to reflect on your own family partnership stance and see a sample family partnership vision statement.
Write and Distribute a "Welcome Back" Letter for Families
At the beginning of the school year, students and their families are anxiously awaiting to hear about the upcoming school year. It’s always great to send a welcome back letter before school begins to let them know how excited you are for the upcoming school year.
This is also an opportunity to message your goals and vision for family partnership, schedules, policies, and other important information families need to know about.
Click here to view a sample Welcome Back letter outlining essential information for families.
Create and Share a Standard Way for Families to Receive School-Wide Information
Consistent communication is crucial for an effective partnership with families, especially during this time of distance learning. 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 utilized 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.
- Offer capacity building opportunities for staff, families and students to learn how to navigate any communication tools utilized.
This page was last updated on June 6, 2022