ShareBack-to-School Update: Tell Teachers How Your Child Is Doing
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In a typical year, you probably spend the first weeks of school gathering information about your students. But because of interruptions in schooling last spring, the information you need might be harder to find. Some schools opted out of formal assessments and report cards. Some teachers may have lost contact with their students during distance learning.
What were the challenges? What were the successes? What changed in kids’ lives? And how are they feeling right now? Asking a few questions can help you begin to build positive relationships with your new students and their families. Most families are eager to share how distance learning went for their kids.
Share this one-page questionnaire with your students’ families. Families can download it on a computer or phone and type answers into the form. Or they can print it out and fill it in by hand. The form is also available in Spanish.
Responding to Families’ Concerns
After families return their questionnaires, follow up as needed and plan for how you can partner with families throughout the year.
Some families may have mentioned new behaviors that concern them. You may want to suggest they use
Take N.O.T.E., a new step-by-step tool Understood developed with the American Academy of Pediatrics to help families spot signs of learning and thinking differences. The tool includes resources on frustration, stress, and anxiety, and it empowers families to seek support.
First-grade teacher La-krisha Howard is looping with her kindergarten students from last year, so she already knows them well. She knows how important it is to keep building her community—and that things could have changed over the summer. So she plans on calling families to check in.
Fifth-grade science teacher TJ Thornton plans to dig into the reasons behind students’ challenges and successes with distance learning. Did they struggle with time management? Were they motivated? Did they understand expectations? TJ will send a survey to families to find out.
Special education teacher Shira Moskovitz wants to know what devices kids are using at home and what support families and kids might need to use those devices. She plans on calling families for an initial conversation. She’s also planning to stay in touch using Google Voice to send text messages and free translation sites to communicate in families’ home languages.