Parent Connections

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August 29, 2008       
 
                                                                                                                                                           
To All Members:
 
During the summer, Vice President Ari Klein, and I met with representatives of the Minority Achievement Parent Alliance (MAPA), which is a group of parents of CH-UH students who are working to close the achievement gap, and who are advocates for not only their own children but all African-American students and parents. 
 
The purpose of the meetings, which we intend to continue, is to deal with concerns parents may have with teachers and the district overall, as well as to examine ways to improve communications and relationships between parents/guardians and our members.
 
One of the major issues brought to us by MAPA is the problems some parents encounter in communicating with teachers regarding their children’s academic status. We pointed out that parents/guardians receive eight reports (interim reports and report cards) in a school year. However some parents expressed a need to receive information more frequently in order to monitor their children’s progress or lack of progress. We know that many teachers initiate regular communications with parents either via phone conferences or weekly grade reports. Moreover, the technology soon to be available in the district will permit parents to monitor student progress online. However, we also know that many of our parents do not have internet access.
 
It is our belief that enhanced parent/teacher contact is beneficial to all parties, notwithstanding the importance of middle and high school students to develop a sense of responsibility for keeping track of their own academic performance. 
 
While we believe that many of teachers “go the extra mile” in terms of parent contact, we are urging all of our members to adhere to the following Union guidelines:
 
  1. Return all parent/guardian phone calls or e mails within 24 hours.
 
  1. Initiate a parent/guardian contact if a student grade drops by more than one letter grade within report card/interim reporting periods (i.e. roughly four weeks between reporting periods).
 
  1. Bring accurate and up to date achievement and attendance data to parent/guardian conferences and include examples or copies of student work, tests, etc.
 
  1. At the beginning of the school year, make sure that students and parents have a written description of your expectations regarding student work, grading policies, and classroom rules. In addition, be sure to include contact information (phone, e mail, your availability to receive calls).  
 
We hope you find these guidelines to be acceptable and reasonable ways to enhance relationships between teachers and our parents/guardians.
 
 
Fraternally,
 
Tom Schmida, President