Sep 17, 2020

Communication and Collaboration: Building a Home-to-School Connection

As students return to learn this year, districts have worked hard on establishing channels and protocols for communicating with families. Teachers are also working to communicate about the online tools that will be used, frequency, and expectations for students using the tools. Grant Wood Area Education Agency has teamed up with KCRG-TV 9 News to help area educators communicate to parents and facilitate learning this year.Building A Home To School Connection.png

Digital Learning Consultant, Mindy Cairney, answered questions about how to foster an effective learning environment. 
Here are a few key takeaways from Mindy’s interview.

Online Home Base
Districts have begun housing resources, making announcements, and assigning resources in an online ‘home base.’ Your district may be using Google Classroom, SeeSaw, or a number of other platforms for this purpose.

Creating an effective learning environment
Parents can help create a study area for students to be private and in sync with their class. Effective spaces are free of distraction and respectful of other family members in the home.

This fall will be different than last spring
Going into a new year, teachers have had more time to familiarize themselves with online platforms and communications tools. Educators and AEAs have been hard at work all summer adapting to any challenges and changes that may come in order to align their focus on helping children and managing these new dynamics.

How to set expectations
With children working independently on tasks, it’s natural to get off track. For parents, it’ll be helping students understand the importance of self-regulation and goals. Parents can help their children recognize when they’re off task and how to get back on task, how to organize themselves (with timers and to-do lists), and help their kids separate tasks to build workflow. This can be done by standing up, taking walking breaks, and allowing individual choices (within reason). Teachers will be available to help explain how to best utilize student’s online time.

Two-way communication 
Although PTO/PTA meetings that typically allow parents to stay ‘in the know’ won’t be happening this year, districts are working hard to establish channels and protocols for communicating with families. Parents should be sure to talk to their district and teachers directly in order to start building a rapport with this year’s teachers. This can be helpful in coordinating class time options (such as working during evenings), asking when it’s appropriate to ask questions regarding classroom content, and understanding how kids can receive feedback from their teachers.

A recording of this interview can be found here:
K C R G Video