Simple ways to foster closer home-school collaboration

Home-school collaboration refers to school staff, students and families working together to improve students’ academic, social and emotional outcomes. 

Home-school collaboration is based on the idea that children’s key adult figures strive to provide them with the access and means to achieve their fullest potential. Whether that means active caregiver participation in school events, or collaboration on school-home interventions, students should feel like their key adult figures are on the same page.

It is arguably a best practice in school psychology for psychs to play a central role in cultivating this level of collaboration. But you may wonder what making this happen actually looks like. We offer a few tips below.

#1: Have more meetings. (You read that right.)

Aim to make yourself more accessible for collaboration. You could do this by regularly checking in with the parents of the students you serve. Additionally, you can provide more opportunities for parents to contact you by attending school-wide events, such as game nights, parent nights, etc., to make your company more known to parents and families. By making yourself more available, you can create deeper connections and foster an environment of collaboration.

#2: Send positive notes home with students 

If you don’t work directly with the student, create templates with brief positive messages to give to staff who do.

#3: Start an e-newsletter or blog

Keep the information grounded in school psychology. You can explain current initiatives in the department, or school-wide practices related to social-emotional learning or PBIS. 

Make a note of best practices when it comes to sending newsletters, such as aiming for the middle of the week (try a Wednesday or Thursday), prioritizing content, creating a TL;DR section for parents, caregivers and students who only have time for tidbits, and so on. 

#4: Consider making home visits to a student or family

With the COVID-19 public health emergency now over, you may find that doing this is an option now. Have a conversation with your administrator to see if this is a possibility.

#5: Implement a “report card” system

Provide teachers with templates, similar to the positive notes, where a student’s day can be summarized in 5 seconds or less. 

#6: Take advantage of technology

Everyone is used to using it in school now. There are plenty of apps out there that form an easy and straightforward way to increase home-school communication. A few we’d recommend include ClassDojo, Seesaw, Remind, Bloomz, and Parentsquare.

#7: Consider family engagement events and resources

Parents and caregivers can be invited to the school for celebrations, carnivals, or math nights. You might also consider hosting dedicated workshops, providing families with an opportunity to learn about topics such as homework help, literacy and reading, special education, technology, SEL, and more. Families will also appreciate community resources such as food pantries, counseling or day care services as well as parent training handouts or videos.

It’s often said that raising kids “takes a village” – but a collective approach is key to education, too. And if you’re looking for more insight on maximizing student outcomes, give our educator support and online learning resources a look.

hire a Psyched Services coach for professional development training