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 at a school site requires having a school wide vision and goals around family partnership. It is the site leader’s responsibility to ensure that each stakeholder (staff, families, community partners, and students) knows the vision and goals, and knows their role in bringing the vision and goals to life.
School sites often have expectations for family support and engagement in their student’s learning that have not been communicated to families. Ideally, school sites and families will create expectations together to support students’ learning, and school sites will help to build families’ capacity to reach those expectations.
Families can “set the tone” with school sites and their students' teachers by communicating their hopes and dreams for their children, as well as their academic expectations. As outlined in the Dual Capacity Framework, families can hold a number of roles in their student’s academic career. They can be supporters, encouragers, monitors, advocates, decision makers, collaborators, and so much more.
Make This Best Practice Area Come to Life
1. Introduce Yourself and Your Family to Your Child's Teacher
2. Ask About Your School's Expectations of Family Support
3. Ask About What Supports are Available to You and Your Family
Introduce Yourself and Your Family to Your Child's Teacher
Introduce not only yourself, but also your child to their new teachers. This is a great way to let your child's teacher know what your child likes or doesn’t like, what their interests are, what you love the most about them, and what you are doing to support them.
You'll also want to make sure you give your child’s teacher(s) the best way and times to contact you, and make sure you know the best way and times to contact them.
- Introduction Letter (ENGLISH)
- More languages coming soon!
Ask About Your School's Expectations of Family Support
- Ask about the school’s overall and individual teacher’s expectations of family support. If you need any help with supporting your child at home ask about what's available at the school site or in your community.
- Try to attend school events where you can learn about what your child is learning, what the school is doing to support the learning, and what you can do at home to support. If you cannot attend, ask the teacher or school if you can get a copy of the materials so you can read or watch at your own convenience.
- Try to keep an open line of communication with your child’s teacher. Ask what the teacher is using to communicate with families. If you don’t know how to use the platform, ask the teacher or school for assistance in learning how to.
Ask About What Supports are Available to You and Your Family
Ask your child's school if they have a document that informs families of who the staff are, their roles, a brief description of their role, and contact information. This will help you know who to go to and for what.
If your child's school does not have such a document, use this tool to capture the information listed above.
This page was last updated on June 6, 2022