Communicating with Parents
Make the first step positive. Take note of something positive about each of your students within the first week of school. Then, call their parents and say, "Hi! I'm Mr./Mrs. _____, your child's teacher. Your son/daughter did _ (insert good thing here)_ in class today, and I wanted you to know." Follow up by telling them how to reach you if they ever have questions, and that you look forward to meeting them and working together to help their child succeed.
Give parents your school phone number rather than your home phone number.
Create a separate email account (Gmail, Yahoo, and others allow you to do this for free) for use with school-related business. An address like MrsSmithAlgebra@yahoo.com will make the address easy for parents to remember and for you to separate school and other email.
Email students' grades weekly to their parents, and maintain a web page filled with information for both parents and students.
Have parents email you. Assign students homework to have their parent/guardian fill out an information form asking for contact information including an email address. Award a bonus point if they also send you an email with their child's name and class period in the subject line—then you can just move the reply to the appropriate folder in your email program.
Send a postcard. Have the students create their own mathematical collage postcard on a note card (if you put two cards together with the collage facing out, it runs through the laminator and comes out nicely). Then send it home with a positive comment on it sometime during the year.
Send a parent newsletter or e-newsletter to communicate the mathematical goals that you have set for students and the ways in which you are helping students reach those goals.
Host a family math night. Create an opportunity for students to shine and parents to share in the mathematical experiences that their children are receiving in your classroom.
Recruit parent volunteers to serve as tutors, guest speakers, and general classroom helpers.