This week was our Meet the Teacher event. Parents come in with kiddos to meet me. They bring supplies and look at what we’re doing this year. For some parents, it’s the only time I’ll see them. So I try to make the most of it. I try to make an impression, but I also try to gather information by having parents complete a student information form. This information helps me get to know my kiddos right at the beginning of the year. It also gives me a reference point for the rest of the year.
To form or not to form?
For a little while, I considered not asking my parents to fill out forms during Meet the Teacher night. The parents give a lot of basic information when they register the kiddos, but that information is on about 10 different screens. Also, sometimes you just need a quick pull paper. Last year our computer systems went down 30 minutes before the end of the day and I had a kiddo who couldn’t remember his bus number. Luckily, his parents had written his bus number on his Important Information Sheet and I was able to get that kiddo onto the right bus and home safe and sound.
So, what do I do with these Important Information Sheets after the first week of school? I hole punch them and put them in a folder with a single piece of lined paper behind each sheet. Then, every time I talk with a parent, I make a note of it on the lined paper. This allows me to keep track of all of my communication with each parent in one easy to find place.
Organizing Parent Communications with Student Information Forms
This year my school has been pushing us NOT to use communication apps like Dojo, Bloomz and Remind. All of our communication needs to be via school sponsored e-mail or phone calls. This type of communication is easier for the district to track, but a bit more complicated for me because all of my e-mails from parents are mixed in with my e-mails from the rest of my staff about school events. This means that keeping a quality communication log is even more important. It also means that having updated e-mails and phone numbers is super important. I have found that parents are much more likely to give me updated contact information than they are to give that to the school database.
Another key piece of information that I gain from my Important Information Sheet is about siblings at the same school. Knowing whose class the siblings are in helps me to coordinate conference times, find out about anything happening with a given family and generally know my kiddos better! Knowing more about our kiddos is the key to starting out a good relationship with them. Feel free to download my free Important Information Sheet to start that relationship with your kiddos and their families.