As an English teacher, one of my main goals is to form students into effective and empathetic communicators. I teach them how to write clear arguments, how to organize their ideas, how to select the best tone for an email, and how to confidently present in front of an audience. I love teaching these skills because while I’m not always convinced my students need to know the plot of The Great Gatsby or how to write a sonnet, I know they need to be great communicators, especially in this era of so much technological communication.  

I’m so sure they need these skills because as an adult, I use this stuff every day. I send out agendas for department meetings. I let guidance counselors know that I have a student who is struggling. I present on the pros and cons of AI use to a group of colleagues. And, of course, I email parents. 

Many of you certainly have great lines of communication open with the parents of your students. You love sending home newsletters, you drop emails when a student has a great day, and you welcome parents into your classroom for parent-teacher conferences. But it’s likely that many of you find parent communication to be fraught with discomfort—you worry about being overly negative or critical, you fear your words will be misconstrued, or perhaps you feel that parent emails are pointless because they never get read.

In this issue, we hope you will find some tips and solutions for communicating effectively and building partnerships with parents. Kevin Mirchandani and Lesley Dorhout explain two specific situations that have required parent communication, and then our next four writers give overviews of many methods their schools use to partner with parents. Adam Lancaster rounds out the issue with a more theoretical piece investigating the ideal relationship between parents and teachers.

Good educators know that learning happens as often at home as it does at school, so effective parent-teacher partnership is vital to the academic and spiritual success growth of all students.