# From the Office

## Establish a positive rapport between home and school.

Why would a small community school like Millarville host a meet the teacher evening when it seems families and teachers are already well known to each other? The simple fact is that positive relationships are a key ingredient to school success. It is important that parents and teachers work as partners in developing a child and the more contact teachers have with parents the more knowledge and understanding they have about the students they are working with. Indeed, you know your child best and any information you can share with staff about your child will help teachers in meeting their learning needs. At the same time during the school year your child spends a significant amount of time at school and the school staff gets to know them well and observe them in a variety of academic and social scenarios and may also offer you new insights into your child’s development. Thus, it is important that a positive relationship develop between home and school to allow for effective communication. Below are some helpful reminders about how to establish and maintain learning focused relationships between teachers and parents:

### Strategies that Help Parents and Professionals Work Together

When parents and teacher work together, it sends the student the message that “we’re all in this together”. Therefore, it is vital that both parties learn to share planning for the student’s instructional needs, as well as identification of potential problems or areas that need work. The following practices form the basis for a good relationship.

- Listen actively. Teachers should put themselves in parents’ and students’ shoes and parents and students should put themselves in the teacher’s shoes.
- Show compassion, sensitivity, empathy and mutual respect for each other. All parties should try to understand the other’s perspective. Consistently trying to understand each other and focusing on developing solutions can avoid negative situations.
- Treat each other as equal partners in the planning and decision-making.
- Develop a mutual understanding of the strengths and needs of the student. Parents and teachers should share their understanding of the student’s learning styles. Parents can provide input on how they see the student’s physical strength, how the student interacts with others and the student’s mental processing out of the classroom, while the teacher can share his or her observations from a class vantage point. Plus, students can contribute their ideas on the ways they learn best, as well as the factors that inhibit their learning.
- Trust each other’s judgment.
- Approach disagreement in a manner that encourages mutual problem solving. Utilize a problem-solving model to keep emotionalism at bay. Most models include: stating the problem, brainstorming ideas and developing a solution. Share the model with all parents and students to let them know how the school resolves issues.