Based on existing educational research, professional, effective, and strategic communication between parents and educators is a key determinant of student learning and overall educational outcomes including proficiency rates, grade completion rates, and academic achievement. Unfortunately, educator professional development geared towards effective parental engagement is limited in most school settings and lack standards for assessing, evaluating, and communicating student readiness, proficiency, and achievement.
The result is an ineffective system for mutual assessment and accountability between parents and educators that contributes to underperforming students and schools (Suskie, 2018). This communication plan will discuss strategies for promoting collaboration between parents and educators to promote augmented student academic success and better performance on national exams.
The first step to the development of an effective communication plan is the creation of measurable student goals and objectives that allow for parental and educator accountability for student outcomes. An effective communication plan will increase parental capacity to understand the education process. It will clearly articulate the teaching philosophy of the educator and school systems, as well as critical academic, social, and behavioral milestones. A succinct introductory discussion of how these skills are developed will also be addressed including the importance of play and social interactions with peers in achieving developmental milestones (Gartmeier, Gebhardt, & Dotger, 2016).
The communication plan with parents will establish clear objectives and goals related to student performance on key indicators, such as reading and math proficiency. Additionally, these objectives must be directly linked to both classroom assignments and homework assignments. Moreover, this link will be clearly communicated in the communication plan. The broader objectives and goals related to student performance will be discussed in the plan based on the particular challenges and difficulties faced by each particular student, with areas requiring improvement clearly demonstrated through performance on key assignments and previously communicated assessment and evaluation criteria. Student performance and key learning objectives will be communicated visually with charts, tables, and graphs to make the information more accessible (Zygmunt-Fillwalk & Hufffman, 2012).
The communication plan will be designed around a collaborative process and will foster the opportunity for inquiry and feedback from the parent. The communication process will also focus on the reduced hierarchy between the educator and parent and utilize active problem solving and teamwork as pivotal strategies. Thus, the plan will provide an opportunity for heightened parental engagement by creating a process for open communication and feedback regarding areas of inquiry regarding student performance. In order to promote consistent communication, the plan will include short weekly updates to parents regarding student performance on assignments, as well as more comprehensive monthly and quarterly progress reports detailing proficiency in reading, math, and other critical areas of academic and social development (Froiland, 2015).
The communication plan will include empirical data, such as grades and test scores, but also direct classroom observations from teachers. Weekly communication with parents will use specific strategies to increase the parent’s understanding of the student’s learning on a daily basis (Froiland, 2015). The communication plan will utilize lesson planning forms that detail the daily and weekly schedule including activities, concepts, and standards. The observations will include feedback regarding how student mastery of key concepts and standards was demonstrated through play, peer interactions, and participation in activities, in addition to academic performance.
The communication plan will encourage parental communication and feedback as well. The plan will include providing an opportunity for parents to document feedback, especially in relation to the assessment and observation of the student. The communication plan will use open-ended questions regarding parental information on the student’s family, social, and cultural history. The parents will also be encouraged to act in the consultant role providing information on the student’s personality, temperament, and characteristics. This process will allow for the development of open communication between the educator and parent and also provide additional assessment and evaluation criteria to the educator (Rutland & Hall, 2013).
The communication plan will foster a link between the home and school setting in order to augment student learning in both settings. For this reason, the weekly lesson plans will include examples of how student learning and mastery of objectives might be demonstrated in the home setting through play and interactions with family. The plan will ask parents for feedback and observations regarding student demonstration of mastery of learning tasks. The weekly lesson plan will also provide parents with strategies and activities to support and continue learning goals in the home (Rutland & Hall, 2013).
The communication plan will be completed by the educator and will include input from any personnel providing supportive services to the student. The educator will utilize school and district funding resources to seek professional development related to promoting supportive learning activities in the home that continue classroom learning objectives. The communication plan will be implemented annually and evaluated quarterly to allow an opportunity for any needed adjustments. Parents, educators, and personnel providing supportive services will have an opportunity to provide feedback regarding plan accessibility and effectiveness. Plan effectiveness will be assessed using a goal of 80% parental participation and response to requested feedback, information, and implementation of activities within the home.
Froiland, J. M. (2015). Parents’ weekly descriptions of autonomy-supportive communication: Promoting children’s motivation to learn and positive emotions. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(1), 117-126.
Gartmeier, M., Gebhardt, M., & Dotger, B. (2016). How do teachers evaluate their parent communication competence? Latent profiles and relationships to workplace behaviors. Teaching and Teacher Education, 55, 207-216.
Suskie, L. (2018). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. John Wiley & Sons.
Rutland, J., & Hall, A. H. (2013). Involving families in the assessment process. NHSA Dialog, 16(4).
Zygmunt-Fillwalk, E. M., & Hufffman, R. (2012). A picture literally is worth a thousand words! Using documentation to increase family involvement. NALS Journal, 2(2), 3.