Working on the Parent-Teacher Connection During Tough Times

As we all know, these are very tense and uncertain times in our district. There’s a massive amount of change occurring, a lot of uncertainty about budgets and having the time to manage proper implementation of budgets for the school year ahead, and let’s be honest, a lot of concern over a potential teacher’s strike ahead.

While it’s a time of uncertainty for parents it’s also a time of uncertainty for teachers, and it is really critical that we stay in close communication with the people who have a direct impact on our kid’s development and growth on a daily basis. We have to remember that while things may be politically contentious our teachers are working hard day in and day out to educate and care for our kids.

Parents may have a lot of questions about why the S word is even out there, and there is often a lack of information in the press on the specifics around negotiations such as merit pay and other important issues. We think it’s really critical to keep a close dialogue between parents and teachers to have healthy and strong school communities. We know that it can be difficult at times to have honest communication at the school level, but it is really crucial to maintaining the bond that we need between parents and teachers to keep our learning environments strong and healthy for our children. We have heard a myriad of views about a strike from parents from general understanding to fear to outrage, and we say the best way to deal with all of this is to talk to your teachers and not let mainstream media news coverage guide your opinions. Engage in a real discussion. Both teachers and parents should be cognizant of the need to keep lines of communication open and not shut down when someone has an opinion different from one's own. Keep talking, keep listening, keep engaging.

We plan to have a town-hall forum in the weeks ahead and will email you with more information. There are ways you can work at the school level with one another to minimize the tension and keep the dialogue open, either inside or outside of the school.

Next week is also Teacher Appreciation Week; May 7th – May 11th. Has your child’s teacher made a positive difference in his/her lives this year? If so, send them a card. Write them a note. You don’t need a fancy gift to let a teacher know that they are valued and appreciated. Our teachers have been under the microscope and often scapegoated for the ills of public education. Let them know you think they matter.