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Home-School Communications Research Presentation


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  • 1. Home-School Communications A Study of Methods, Effectiveness, and Improvements
  • 2. Purpose
    • This project examined patterns of home-school communications in order to:
    • Discover what methods of communication are used most often and why they are preferred
    • Examine the effectiveness of home-school communications
    • Suggest ways to improve communications between families and staff
  • 3. Instruments and Data Collection
    • The families of 450 students at Ashley Elementary School were asked to complete a home-school communication questionnaire. Of those, eighty returned the surveys.
    • Eighty staff members were asked to complete another home-school questionnaire during a staff meeting. Staff members not present were given surveys to complete and return. Twenty-seven returned the surveys.
    • Family and staff surveys were examined. Answers to multiple choice questions were analyzed. Free-responses generated from the remaining prompts were subjected to thematic analysis.
  • 4. From School to Families
  • 5.  
  • 6. Why Do Teachers Contact Parents These Ways?
    • Staff members preferred using different methods of communication for different reasons:
    • quick response
    • directness
    • two-way collaboration
    • documentation
  • 7. Effectiveness of Communications from Staff Members
    • Effectiveness can be measured in a variety of ways, including:
    • Ease of contact
    • Frequency of communications
    • Response elicited
    • Reasons for contact
    • Tone of communication
  • 8. More Positive Contact Is Needed
    • A system to communicate both student strengths and weaknesses must be created.
    • Staff members must be encouraged to contact families regarding academic achievements and positive behavior.
    • Existing programs such as student of the week should be utilized and promoted.
  • 9. Family Suggestions
    • More frequent reports on their child, especially if there are academic concerns
    • Written explanations of directions and homework
    • Share both the child’s strengths and weaknesses
    • “Stop yelling at them”
    • “Traveler’s Notebook”
  • 10. Staff Suggestions
    • Update demographic information
    • Parents: Take more initiative to contact teachers
    • Parent education
    • More time to communicate with families
    • Remember that everybody’s goal is to support children
  • 11. From Home to School
  • 12. Methods Received by Staff
    • Staff members receive phone calls and notes most often from families.
    • These findings are similar to family reports.
  • 13. Effectiveness of Communications
    • Effectiveness can be measured by a variety of factors, including:
    • Ease of contact
    • Response elicited
    • Reasons for communication
    • Tone of communication
  • 14. It Would Be Easier to Contact Staff If Teachers Were More Available
    • Families would like:
    • a voicemail service so that parents can leave messages which teachers can hear
    • the ability to call a teacher in their classroom, rather than leave a message in the office
    • teacher’s personal phone number
  • 15. Staff Should Communicate in a More Positive and Explanatory Way to Ease Contact
    • Families request that communications be more positive and are not only initiated to inform them of “bad” things.
    • They would also like teachers to take more time with them, and better explain why their child is not on grade level.
  • 16. Parents Can Communicate Better
    • Why should teachers work so hard when families are “unconcerned”, have “NO TIME to go to school”, seem “unresponsive”, and are “too busy” to care for their own child’s education?
    • The most requested action is that families participate more in their child’s education, in school and outside of it.
    • It is important for families to initiate contact with their child’s teacher regularly.
  • 17. Families Can Also…
    • respond to teacher contacts so that staff members know if the communication has been received and understood.
    • care for their children’s health, as well as the health of others.
    • make communications clear.
  • 18. Other Findings
    • 91% of families feel the current discipline plan is working
    • 65% of staff members report that the current discipline plan is working
    • 56% of staff members feel that culture affects communication
  • 19. Future Research
    • There are a variety of ways to expand the study of home-school communications, including:
    • Comparing communication at Ashley with communication patterns at another school
    • Comparing sub-groups within Ashley
    • Implementing a program to regularly evaluate and improve communications