All schools are a community. Some communities are effective environments; others are not. As a teacher, you have a responsibility to help your school to be an effective community.

It is important to know what is needed to have an effective community. Think of what you value in a community. It is a place where you feel welcome. You know that you and your input into community affairs are valued. As a teacher, you will want to create that atmosphere in your school. You will also want to make sure your students’ parents feel welcome and encourage them to contribute to the community atmosphere.

There are ways that you can help build a sense of community with the parents of your students. Building a network of communication will enhance the effort. Communication may take several forms. Today, many teachers use Web pages to communicate with students and parents. Updated regularly, you can post calendars, assignments, rules, procedures, and more. Using email, teachers can communicate with parents on a daily basis. (Not all parents have access to email, so be sure to meet the needs of those who do not.) Newsletters, positive notes home, and invitations to the classroom to visit or volunteer will encourage parents to be actively involved with their children.

Once parents are present in the classroom, it is important to let them know that not only are they welcome, but also they are encouraged to participate in whatever way they can. Listen to the parents' concerns and try to work with parents to find solutions to issues that may arise. While doing this, let the families know that you value the diversity they bring to your classroom. For example, a parent who wants to volunteer but works during the day may be able to type, cut out materials, or complete another task in the evening at home. A parent who has had a negative experience in her own or her child’s education may need special encouragement to become positively involved. Families from different cultural backgrounds can be encouraged to share information with the class.

Additional Resources

STANDARD 9 - Collaborative Relationships
The competent teacher understands the role of the community in education and develops and maintains collaborative relationships with colleagues, parents/guardians, and the community to support studentsí learning and well-being.   Standard 9 Indicators

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How important is community involvement in the success of a school?

Engaged Learning Indicators