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Home-school connection is important

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By Shawn Andress

CENTURY SCHOOL

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL

The relationship between home and school is key to student success. Children learn best when the significant adults in their lives – parents, teachers, and other family and community members – work together to encourage and support them. Home-school communication is among the most important factors in developing strong relationships between families and teachers.

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At Park Rapids Area Schools, there are many forms of home-school communications that occur over the course of a school year. Each fall, the annual Back to School Open House is held. This event is the first of many chances for families to enter the buildings, meet the staff and explore the classrooms, thereby beginning to develop the important home-school relationship.

Throughout the year, the school district, through community education and the parent-teacher organization have events that bring students, parents and teachers together to have fun and learn how parents can support their children’s learning at home. The events may focus on reading, math or science, but a related benefit is that parents get to know one another. As children get older, the relationships that parents develop with one another form an important support system for youth.

Parent-teacher conferences also are scheduled twice a year. The first of these conferences occurred in mid-October and the second set of day and evenings set aside for conferences will be in late January and April for the High School and in mid-February for Century School.

These days and evenings are set aside so every parent has a chance to meet face-to-face with their children’s teachers. Because these are such important meetings, we have scheduled them earlier in the grading periods. Instead of waiting until the end of the grading period, teachers will be able to talk to parents in the middle of the grading period. If changes are needed to help students be more successful, those adjustments can be made with parent input and support before the grading period ends.

Our online grade book, ParentVue, is a popular tool for parents, with students in grades 4-12, to keep track of grades, attendance and assignments from home. All parents can request an ID and password to access a child’s academic records. All teachers have electronic mail accounts and those email addresses are listed on the district’s website. Email links to your child’s teachers also are found inside the ParentVue documents that you can access. While email should not be a substitute for telephone and face-to-face conversations, it is a quick and easy way to share information and schedule appointments.

Report cards are a way of communicating with parents regarding your child’s academic and behavioral progress. Report cards are issued three times a year.

If you are concerned or have questions regarding your child’s progress, we urge you to contact your child’s teacher at your earliest convenience and not wait until the fall or late winter scheduled conference periods.

In early January, Park Rapids Area schools unveiled a new look and layout to the school website (www.parkrapids.k12.mn.us). Within this new site, many teachers are communicating with families through classroom websites and blogs. We hope this website is a one-stop source for all school related information. Please check it out.

Lastly, the school district uses Student Reach, an automated telephone messaging system for attendance and important announcements from principal’s and the superintendent. We ask that families keep contact information (telephone, address, and emergency contacts) current in case of emergency.

A good relationship between schools and parents starts with good communication. I hope all parents will take advantage of the opportunities to build strong relationships with their children’s teachers. After all, parents are the first and best teachers and schools cannot be successful without support from home.

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