When all else fails...the relationship prevails. (Unknown)
When I began my work as the family coordinator for Northwest AEA, the director of special education at the time had a sign in his office with a list of questions. After 19 years of working with families, I find these questions still very relevant today.
The questions that matter to families:
- Do you like my child?
- Do you see the good in my child?
- Do you want the best for my child?
It takes time and intentional planning to establish open and positive relationships with families. The time invested in nurturing and growing these relationships has a tremendous impact on the quality of family engagement and, ultimately, a student’s success. Relationships are nurtured through both trust and communication.
When people respond by doing what they say they will do it promotes TRUST. Trust is the hardest thing to gain, but the easiest thing to lose. Families want and need to be able to trust the schools where their children attend.
Positive COMMUNICATION is vital. Research shows that school-home communication is greatly increased through personalized positive contact between teachers and parents. Remember, when a phone call or email conveys good news, the atmosphere between home and school improves. When you have good news to share, why wait? Make the call and start a positive relationship!
When trust and positive communication exist, relationships can be developed so that families know without a doubt that the answer to these questions,
Do you like my child?
Do you see the good in my child?
Do you want the best for my child?
…is a resounding, “Yes!”
— Pam Woelber, family educator partnership coordinator