Communicating with Guardians

Educator establishes partnerships with students' parents or guardians.
Made by Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Learning at USD
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator establishes a system for clear, two-way communication with students’ parents or guardians.

Method Components

Suggested strategies for communicating with parents

  • Send out a survey asking for parents’ or guardians’ availability and preferred language; provide parents and guardians with information about how and when to contact you.
  • Call or send emails highlighting positive experiences at school as well as areas of concern.
  • Write a digital school newsletter that provides space for parents and guardians to post responses. If possible, publish the letter in all of the languages parents or guardians speak.
  • Create a digital portfolio or class website that has important information, due dates, student work, and other information.
  • Use a school-specific messaging application such as ClassDojo Messenger to reach parents.
  • Send positive notes home with students and leave space for parents to write a note back.
  • Hold parent-student-teacher conferences to communicate what is working well with students.

- Emphasize common ground: you both care for the child and have his or her best interests in mind.

- If possible, engage in student-led conferences.

- Provide parents with work samples before the conference.

- Plan a clear, thoughtful agenda for the conference, prioritizing student needs.

- Ask open-ended questions, inviting parents’ insight.

- Write up a conference summary including next steps.

  • Conduct home visits.
  • Personally invite parents to volunteer in the classroom.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Graham-Clay, Susan. "Communicating with Parents: Strategies for Teachers." School Community Journal16.1 (2005): 117–129.

    Strong communication is fundamental to this partnership and to building a sense of community between home and school. In these changing times, teachers must continue to develop and expand their skills in order to maximize effective communication with parents. This article presents a range of communication opportunities available to teachers, including the emerging use of technology.

  • Swap, Susan McAllister.Developing Home-School Partnerships: From Concepts to Practice. New York: Teachers' College Press, Columbia University, 1993.

    Partnerships enable schools to implement a comprehensive program of school and family connections. The following three approaches to can help to establish an effective partnership between school and home: (1) establishing a limited partnership for children's learning; (2) building a comprehensive partnership with networks for mutual support; and (3) restructuring schools for partnership and academic achievement.

  • Epstein, Joyce L. "School/family/community Partnerships: Caring for the Children We Share."Phi Delta Kappan92.3 (2010): 81.

    Epstein highlights the importance of building relationships with parents and provides strategies for two-way communication.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and Exemplary score for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(300-word limit for each question)

  • Describe all the systems and strategies you used to open up pathways for two-way communication with every student’s parent or guardian.
  • What needs are you trying to satisfy by creating a two-way conversation with parents and guardians?

Part 2. Work examples/artifacts

Submit artifacts that were created while developing partnerships with parents or guardians by establishing two-way communication (such as links to writing, audio, images, video, or other products), including such items as:

  • Link to a class newsletter with parent discussion
  • Agendas and reflections on parent conferences
  • Sample correspondence
  • Parent communication log with notes on what was discussed

(Note: all information about parents and guardians should be made anonymous.)

Part 3. Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • What have you learned about communicating with guardians? Moving forward, how might your practice change as a result of what you have learned?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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