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How can we foster home school partnerships?

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Started by Allanah King 05 Aug 2011 11:02am () Replies (53)

How can we improve/enhance the interactions between home and school to improve student learning and connect with parents/whanau?

What ideas do you have?


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 06 Aug 2011 9:04am ()

    Last night we had our unconference and Kieley led a discussion around the use of Study Ladder in her primary school class.

    Studyladder is a highly effective, logically organised, Mathematics and Literacy program. It has been developed by experienced educators to inspire and motivate learning. It is suitable for Primary and Junior High School students and is very easy to use - students simply login with a username and password to access all the learning materials.

    Children can use the activities as much as they like for free during the school day and can participate in three activities a day out of school hours.

    My kids love it cos they can change their avatars, earn rewards and go shopping for things to decorate their rooms.

    I introduced it to my class in the week before the school holidays and the they continued using it at home throughout the school holidays.

  • Barbara Nelson (View all users posts) 06 Aug 2011 5:04pm ()

     Having parent portals into school sms, websites or even skype on in class so whanau can work with, observe, or give feedback in realtime would be a possibility...one I keep talking about for our students who come from far and wide.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 06 Aug 2011 11:30pm ()

    Yes I always keep my Skype on but have never particularly advertised for parents know the address/ID as I tend ot use it for personal use and to collaborate with other classes rather than with parents/whanau.

    Fiona McDonald suggested at our last lead teacher day that we should have two Skype IDs. One for school and one for personal use.

    Me learning network though is through my personal network as I was a fairly early adopter.

    Great idea.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 11 Aug 2011 10:56am ()

    Hi Barbara, these sound like great ideas. It’s often a balancing act of, knowing how/when to connect and interact with the parent community – especially with a goal to help improve student learning. The challenge on top of that is, how to effectively use e-learning tools to promote interaction and engagement with learning. And then there is access issues – who has access to computers, Internet or mobile technologies.

    There are some things that can happen around the school to help inform parents and to promote interaction with their child’s learning. Some schools have erected flat screens in the school foyer – with updated news, events, slideshows to celebrate school activities. Others use data projectors in schools assemblies and invite parents to join these events. Children are also able to share any of their digital content or presentations to their parents - on their classroom computers - after school.

    Encouraging feedback and participation with learning can be more of a challenge, one that some schools are unpacking at the moment.

    Emma Watts started a conversation about Community comments on blogs which includes some helpful tips for promoting engagement @ /mod/threaded_forums/topicposts.php?topic=42526&group_guid=27128

    Some ICT PD cluster schools have started to share their stories about parent engagement through their reflective summaries. For example,




    Two very different stories that make for some good reading. I’d love to hear more about how your school encourages real-time feedback from parents? And whether or not this has been successful?

    Tess Smile


  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 11 Aug 2011 10:22pm ()

    As I was just trying to contact a teacher via email and couldn't find their email address on the school website or blog, I was thinking that that would be a simple but effective way of improving the home school partnership- have an email address so parents can email the teacher.

    I give out my address to parents on the bottom of newsletters- would you be OK with a school email address being on the school website????

  • Leanne Apiti (View all users posts) 11 Aug 2011 10:44pm ()

    We have email addresses for the school office and each teacher on our website but strongly encourage kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) meetings as emails can always be interpreted differently without hearing the voice.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 11 Aug 2011 11:09pm ()

    I agree that face to face is always great and I agree that emails and their tone can sometimes be misconstrued but I am thinking of trying reach parents/whanau who have other commitments and only find the time to check their emails/Facebook and find out what is happening on the class blog after the kids have gone to bed.

    Some parents/whanau we never see and it's not because they aren't interested it just that they a commited during our school working day. They have day jobs that don't permit them to come to school in school hours and ten o'clock at night may be a better time to make a connection.

  • Carly Ave (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2011 9:45am ()

    Kei te tika!  I really agree with what you have said.  In my class - I offer skype, email and text for my parents.  But I agree that kanohi ki te kanohi is the most effective method for my class.  I eyejot - to share precious moments with whanau.  I also must take into account that about 40% of my whanau - do not have internet access

  • Judy Hawtin (View all users posts) 16 Aug 2011 6:54pm ()

    I find email a great way to communicate.  It can be hard for parents to talk to a new entrant teacher in the morning as things are always so busy.  I have had some great conversations with parents.  I think they feel less intimidated sometimes.  They have time to organise their thoughts.  We too have time to think about our answers.  I invite parents to be part of a class email/phone list.  I think all who have email accounts have taken me up on this offer.  It allows parents to communicate between each other.  I also find messages going home are more likely to be read and actioned when sent by email. It is very easy for parents to click reply and send back their response.   I've found this especially true when the children need a new book.  I simply grab my laptop, type a quick note and nine times out of ten the money is at school the next day.

  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2011 9:54am ()

    A powerful question would be to find out where parents hang out, technology-wise, so we can tailor our response to their preferences. What would be a manageable way to find the answer to that, I wonder?Undecided

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2011 11:18am ()

    This is such an important idea - finding out about a community's access to technology (what/how/where). I often have conversations with teachers who have made some assumptions, but are unsure of the specifics. Often when schools have done an audit, it has come back with some surprising results.

    I was involved in a workshop yesterday at Tauranga Intermediate and the ICT leaders there have surveyed the local community, with some very interesting findings. They now have some hard/fast stats on Internet connection, mobile devices, access to computers - which can really impact on strategies for connecting with the wider community through ICTs.

    A while back, when St Marys (Tauranga) were first setting up their ePortfolios, they surveyed their local community to gauge who would have Internet access, which in-turn effected how they sent out information digitally.

    So, does anyone have a good survey or a story on how they have audited their local community to share with the rest of us?

  • leonieweavers (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2011 7:31am ()

    At Otewa School, we have a coffee club once a month before an assembly.  The purpose is for parents to come and give feedback, discuss new ideas or how your can support your child at home.  Along side this we have just started a coffee club blog and we are hoping to get parents to become followers.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2011 8:45am ()

    That would be a great time for such a meeting. Parents would be there for assembly and then take their kids home afterwards. Is it a show and tell kind of thing or more of a lead conversation or how is it structured?

  • leonieweavers (View all users posts) 17 Aug 2011 9:39am ()

    Before each meeting I put in the newsletter what the focus will be - so far we have had feedback meetings on reporting/ homework/school values etc so this was a discussion that could go back to staff.  Next week we are planning a more learning based one - looking at using NZmaths website to share how students learn - parents will be using laptops from classes.

  • Nicky McCrorie (View all users posts) 18 Aug 2011 12:53pm ()

    At our school we have an open day in which parents are invited to come into our classrooms and watch & participate in the children's learning.  The Principal has a welcoming forum before the parents/caregivers move to the class or classes of their children.  Children enjoy having the parents in the classroom.  Parents seem to like the formal invite so they know when is a good time to turn up. 

  • Steven Wills (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2011 9:38am ()

    I think it would make sense for as many parents as possible to be followers of the class blog. In addition it is possible to put a meebo chat box (or something similar) in the sidebar. Some teachers might like this, others an invasion on their privacy but it's also a way for children to ask questions of their teacher if they get stuck. 

    I also like what Pt England School have in place. Read this post.

  • Helen Zachariassen (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2011 9:42am ()

    Encouraging parents to visit class blogs and leave a comment. Class Google calendars available on blogs. School computers available for whanau to use if needed.

  • Paul Shand (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2011 9:42am ()

    We held successful student led conferences for the first time last year and asked for parent and student feedback. This was 99% positive with lots of comments about how useful it was to see learning that really happens in the classroom as well as how students are learning. ICT used by children was also on show via blogs and students folders.

  • Denise Lee (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2011 9:43am ()

    I foster a home school partnership by emailing home a weekly newsletter every Sunday night to inform parents of the learning for the week ( I also give a hard copy for those who need one on Monday).  We have a class blog page so parents and friends can see the learning that takes place in our class and they can interact by posting comments.  This term I have also introduced individual student blogs to show case their learning. DeniseSmile

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Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the classroom - Connecting school to the wider community with and about technologies.