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Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

Investment Plan Toolkit | Building Meaningful Relationships


Table of Contents:
Resource Type

Links & Details

Plant the Seeds

Beginning of summer/year
survey question examples

Students (K-2)
Parents

Sample student surveys

Upper Elementary 1
Upper Elementary 2
Secondary 1

Strategies for effectively


USING student survey
information

Smart ways to use survey info


Spending Time: Follow-up Conversation Tips
Conversation Starter Strategies and Examples
(ECE/ELEM)

Keep It Alive

Build Relationships with Students

Additional strategies for


building relationships with
your students ongoing

Make the most of notes and letters


Interactive Student/Teacher Journals
Where Im From Poem Activity and Handout
Best Practices for building one on one relationships
Listening and Learning (PK-2)
Special Student (PK-2)
This is Who We Work For (3-12)
Front Page News (3-5)

Keep It Alive Plant the Seeds

Build Relationships with Families


Beginning of Year/Institute
Family Letter Examples

Family Questionnaire
Family Newsletters
Progress Reports
Additional Strategies

English and Spanish Letter (PK-2)


Elementary Letter
Secondary Letter
Secondary Institute Letter
Family Questionnaire Example
Parent/Guardian Questionnaire
Elementary Example
Secondary Example
See Toolkit 2: Goal Investment
Family Contract Example
Family Communication Survey Strategies (PK-2)
Parent Communication Log: Elementary
Parent Communication Log: Secondary

You can find additional strategies connected to TAL Rubric Row I-6 (Invest students families and
influencers) here

Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

Administer & Leverage Student Surveys


Survey Notes:
No matter what grade you are teaching, read through all of the surveys here for ideas of good
questions to ask and ways of asking them.
You can send this home as homework the first week, or you could have students work on it if they
finish their work early in class.
Student Surveys
Pre-K through 2nd Grade
(Jen Rosenbaum, DC Region 07)
Talking directly to your students is a great way to learn more about them. These student surveys should
happen verbally, and you should have a place to record student responses and share them with your
collaborative members. If a student seems confused or reluctant to answer a question, acknowledge that its
ok not to answer and move on to the next question.
Possible student survey questions
Who lives in your house with you?
Do you have any brothers or sisters? What are they like? How old are they?
Do you have any pets at home? What are their names? What are they like?
Who do you play with at home?
What do you like to play at home?
Do you watch TV at home? What shows do you like to watch?
Do you read books at home? What is your favorite book?
What do you like to eat?
Tell me about something that makes you happy.
Tell me about something that makes you sad.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sample student surveys
*Note: Most of these surveys are designed for upper elementary students. You should read them over to get
ideas, but will need to modify and/or eliminate questions to make them appropriate for your students.
Reference elementary student surveys here:
Family Surveys
Sending home a family survey is an invaluable method for gathering more nuanced information about your
young students.
Possible family survey questions
Who lives with your child at his/her primary residence (name and relationship to child)? Who lives
with your child at his/her secondary residence (if applicable)?
Sibling(s) names and ages. What school(s) do they attend?
Family pet name and type of animal (if applicable)
What language(s) are spoken at home?
Does your child take a regular nap at home?
Does your family have any traditions that your child particularly enjoys?
How does your child typically fall asleep?
What is your childs favorite toy or stuffed animal?
What is your childs favorite book?
How does your child typically express his/her emotions?
What is your childs favorite thing to do at home?
What do you and your child like to do together?
What are your childs interests?
What does your child like to do after school?

Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

What motivates your child?


What are your childs greatest strengths?
What types of activities or situations frustrate your child?
What does your child like to eat?
What frightens your child?
What does your child want to be when he/she grows up?
Does your child have any special needs or conditions that might make learning difficult for them?
What do you wish teachers knew about your child that they might not know?
Is there anything else that I should know that would help me be the best teacher possible for your
child?

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Elementary Example 1

Part I: ALL ABOUT YOU


1.)

Birthday__________________________

Age_____

2.) Do you have any brothers/sisters? Circle one: Yes

No

If yes, please tell me their name(s) and age(s).


Name_______________________________

Age____

Name_______________________________

Age____

Name_______________________________

Age____

3.) Where is your family from?

4.) What language(s) do you and/or your family speak at home?

5.) What is your FAVORITE:


Subject?___________________

Color?_____________________

Food?_____________________

TV show?___________________

Sport?____________________

Movie?_____________________

Book?_____________________

Music?_____________________

6.) What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

Part II: ABOUT SCHOOL


1. What do you think about school? Do you like to learn?

2. What are two goals you have that you want to accomplish this year?
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
3. What do you find hard about school?

4. What was one activity that your teacher did last year that you really liked?

5. What is one thing about fourth grade you are looking forward to?

6. What do you think makes a good teacher?

7. If we take a field trip, what place in the city would you like to visit?

8. What is your favorite subject in school and why?

Investment Plan Toolkit 1


Part III: LEARNING/WORKING STYLE

Build Relationships with Students and Families

1. Which of the following would you find enjoyable? Circle as many that apply:
Writing an essay

Acting

Dancing

Writing a poem

Drawing

Designing a poster

Having a debate

Singing

Doing an experiment

2. How do you like to do school work? Circle as many that apply:

By yourself

With a partner

In a small group

3. Do you listen to music when you do homework?


Circle one: Yes

No If yes, what kind of music do you listen to? ____________________

4. Where do you usually do your homework? Circle as many that apply:


Sitting in a chair at a desk

Laying on the floor

On the couch

Laying on your bed

Other____________________
5. What helps you learn?

6. What kind of learner are you? Circle as many that apply:

Visual (learn from seeing)

Listening (learn from hearing)

Hands-on (learn from touching)

Talking (learn from talking with others)

Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

PART IV: ABOUT READING


1.) Do you have a library card? Circle One: Yes

No

How often do you visit the library to check out books?


Circle One: A Lot Sometimes

A few times

Never

2.) What do you like to read?


Circle as many that apply: books newspapers

magazines

comic books

3.) What is your favorite type of book?

4.) Do you have a lot of books, newspapers, or magazines at home? Circle one: Yes

No

What language are they in? __________________________________


5.) Do you think you are a good reader? Why or why not?

6.) Why do you think people read?

Is there anything else you would like to tell Ms. Grant? Is there anything you would like to ask Ms. Grant?

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Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

Elementary Example 2
College Application
(April Williams, Delta 09)

Class of 2018-2019
College application
(First)

(Last)

Full Name:
Parent/
Guardian
Name:
Phone:
Parent/
Guardian
Name:
Phone:

Date:
(First)

(Last)

E-mail Address:

(First)

Relationship to you:

(Last)

Relationship to you:

E-mail Address:

What is your dream job?

What is your biggest goal?

FUTURE PLANS
What school subjects would you be interested in studying in college? (circle all that apply)
Math

Reading

Writing

Social Studies

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being A LOT), how much


do you like to read?

Science

Other _________________

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being A LOT), how much


do you like to write?

Investment Plan Toolkit 1

Build Relationships with Students and Families

What is one thing that every teacher should know about you?

Write down three things that you want to accomplish in school this year.
1. __________________________________________________________________________________
2. __________________________________________________________________________________
3. __________________________________________________________________________________

What do you like to do on the weekends?

What is your favorite song (with artist) of all time?

What is your favorite movie?

What is your favorite TV Show?

What are some of your other interests?

Who are the people that you consider heroes?

College Essay
Write at least one paragraph (5 sentences) describing a time that you worked really hard towards
a goal. Tell me what you wanted to accomplish, what you did, and what happened. Make sure you
use your best writing skills and handwriting!

________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________

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Secondary Example
Name:

Date:

Class Period:

[insert teachers name]


Start of the Summer Survey: Secondary

Welcome! Please take the time to thoughtfully complete all parts of this survey. This information will help us get to
know one another quickly and help us work well together this summer.
General Information:
{add contact info questions here as needed}
Directions: Please read each statement carefully and consider how much you agree or disagree with that statement.
Check the box that best describes your feelings and please be honest.
Statement

Strongly
disagree

Disagree

Neither
agree or
disagree

Agree

Strongly
agree

I plan to go to college after High School.


I enjoy school most of the time.
I think I am good at [INSERT CONTENT
AREA]
I enjoy studying [INSERT CONTENT AREA]
I can learn new things, but I cant really
change how smart I am.
I am comfortable asking for help if I need it.
Describe your favorite teacher of all time. What were they like? How did they help you learn best? Please use
complete sentences and specific details in your response.

What would you like to know about your teacher?

All about you!

What would you like to be when you grow up? Why?

What is your greatest strength? What do you like most about yourself?

What do you enjoy about school?

Which is your favorite subject? Why?

What is your least favorite subject? Why?

What is challenging about school for you?

When you are successful in this class, who would you like me to contact to celebrate?

What do you like to do on the weekends?

What is your favorite movie?

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite sports team?

Open Response: Is there anything else youd like me to know about you in order for us to work together
successfully this summer?

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Strategies for effectively USING student survey information


It is NOT enough to just administer a student survey and skim through the results; you must actually use the
information and quickly demonstrate to your students that you truly care about them as people. Here are
some effective strategies for doing just that:
Idea

Details/Example

Fold their name


and interest into a
daily lesson plan

Students love to see their name in world problems, sample scenarios and pretty
much any place you can find a spot.

Sneak the info into


cold calling

Write (or have the students do this themselves) each students name and one
unique fact about them on an index card. Put these cards in a container and use
them to cold call.

Ex: Add a students name and their interest to a math problem. Tyrone went to the
game stop to buy the new Wii sports game and

Ex: The team member who is going to answer question # 3 is someone who
Bonus: This will help students get to know one another as well!
Make your
students the
expert

Include students special talents or skills into your lessons and classroom
community. Let students play teacher or sit in the leader chair to share their
personal experience (e.g. a trip to a country that speaks the language you are
studying) or interests in a way that supports the objective. Giving them the chance to
show off what they know helps students see that you truly value their contributions.

Spending time together


Read through the example surveys for ideas about the kinds of questions to ask.
If the student has already completed his/her survey by the time you have your first longer 1-on-1
conversation, ask some follow-up questions about it (to both really learn so more, but also to show the
student that you read it and remember key information that they shared).
Remember to:
Show genuine interest in the student.
Ask questions about meaningful topics and really listen to the students answers.
Share some information about yourself (i.e. your own interests, where you grew up, what you were like
when you were their age), but do not try to be cool with the student or act like friends with him or her.
(esp. older students)
Record key information after your conversation so that you remember it all; try not to write while talking so
that it feels like a genuine conversation.
Conversations with Students [ECE/ELEM]

(Jen Rosenbaum, DC Region 07)

Informal conversations are a fun, natural way to get to know your students. Below are some strategies for
sparking conversations.
NOTE: Some students are naturally very shy and need some time to warm up to new adults. If you try one of
the strategies below and the student does not respond, dont force the conversation. Give the student a
compliment about what theyre doing (e.g. their picture, following the routine) and a smile or gentle touch,
and check back on them later.

Ask students to draw a picture of their family. As theyre drawing, float around the room and have
conversations with kids about what they are doing. Simple questions and comments will likely elicit a lot
of information! For example
o Tell me about who is in your picture
o It looks like you drew one person who is really big! Who is that?

o
o
o

I notice that this person has long, beautiful hair.


You drew your shirt blue. Is that one of your favorite colors?
I see that you drew five people, and theyre all different sizes.

Ask students to draw a picture of anything they want. As theyre drawing, float around the room and
have conversations with kids about what they are doing. Simple questions and comments will likely elicit
a lot of information! For example
o Tell me about what youre drawing
o I see that you used a lot of orange and green in your picture.
o I notice that youre adding a lot of details to your picture.
o This looks like a picture of you. What are you doing in the picture?
o Tell me about the people in your picture
o I notice that youre drawing a lot of letters/shapes/lines.

Look through picture books with your students. You can either read the book with the child or simply
look at the pictures. The key is to use the book to launch a conversation. For example
o Wow, the girl in the book seems really sad/happy/excited right now.
o Have you ever seen a ____ (something from the book)?
o The boy just got a new baby sister! Do you have any babies at your house? What are they
like?
o The boy is playing outside with his friends. What do you do with your friends?
o What does this book remind you of?
o Do you like this book? Why?
o That part was so funny!

Maximize daily routines. Maximize daily routines such as arrival, lunch, dismissal, etc. by having
engaging in authentic conversations with your students during these times. Some good conversation
starters are
o Who brought you to school today? How did you get here?
o Mmmmyoure eating ____ for lunch! Thats one of my favorite foods!
o It looks like you have new shoes/hairstyle/shirt. Who gave that to you?
o Remember earlier today when you were playing with the blocks and building a bridge?
o What are you going to do after school today?
o Did you have fun this morning? What was your favorite part of the day?

Additional Strategies:
Make the Most of Individual Notes or Letters
(Grace Chen, ENC 07)
Plant the Seeds:

Grace wrote an individual note to every student (collecting strengths information about her
students from colleagues) and
Thank

Gave a HW assignment that required students collect written statements from their
you for
family/friends
about what specifically made them awesome, and to share that with me in a letter so
making a
I knew what they were capable of and what they aspired to (in terms of character traits and
smart
habits), which provided fodder for notes to come.

choice!

Keep it Alive: Grace used the note strategy to deepen her relationships with students over time. Every test day
students found an individual note of encouragement taped to their desk and when students made her proud, she wrote
them a thank-you-for-making-a-smart-decision post-it and left it on their desk to find.
(Tiffany Tidwell Pett, Delta 94)

Write occasional letters to kids actual snail mail with a stamp sharing a little about you, letting them know what you
enjoy about them and the work theyre doing in class, and ask them some questions to get to know them at a deeper
level.
Interactive Teacher to Student Journals
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(Matt Harris, LA, 01)

Mr. Harris has his students write him letters in their journals and he responds in writing in the
journal (this is introduced after the class reads Dear Mr. Henshaw.). The idea can be adapted
for any age group. See student example below and the teachers response on the next page.

Example Interactive Journal:


Letter to Teacher

Example Interactive Journal:


Teacher Response

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Where Im From Poem

Carolynn Molleur-Hinteregger (ENC 07)

Students practice their poetry skills while sharing deeper information about themselves than they might be willing to
share in a survey. Having students share these aloud can also help students get to know one other, build a sense of
team and student confidence presenting in front of a group.
Find additional supporting materials in the full unit plan (including a lesson plan) here.

Where I'm From


By George Ella Lyon
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own. (1)
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself. (2)
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight. (3)
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments-snapped before I budded -leaf-fall from the family tree. (4)

ASSIGNMENT WHERE IM
FROM POEM:
The best way to write well is to start
with what you know. You will have
the most detail and the most to say
about the things you know best.
Therefore, your first assignment is to
write a poem, similar to the one on
the right, with the topic Where Im
From In other words, you are writing
on things you should be an expert
about: home, family, the area, where
you grew up, how you grew up, etc.
Requirements:
You include at least 10 specific
details
Your poem must have at least 25
lines total
You must have some repeated
line (called a refrain) such as
Where Im From, but you can
make it your own. For example,
you could say, I am from
Where I be About my folks

Best Practices for Building Individual Relationships with your Students


(Adapted from Jessica Barrett & Mayra Diaz)
Strategies for Building Individual Relationships
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.

Take the time to greet each student every single day and make it clear you are glad to see them.
Compliment them on what they are wearing/new hairstyle, etc.
Compliment them on academics Great job sounding out that tricky word, Im impressed.
Ask about outside of school time.
Get to know them on a personal level either through a survey, favorite tv show, shopping and use that
information either during lessons- If John has 3 video games or in one on one interactions.
Have lunch with them.
Work with them after school.
Send a positive note home.
Sharing something really positive from someone else- Your mom told me how hard you worked on last nights
homework assignment, I was so proud to hear that, great work.
Prompting someone else to tell them something positive you said.
Write them notes during the class period - (for example, on a post it) Thank you for helping out a peer, you
rock!
Asking them to demonstrate- Can you model for the class how we clean up our station?
Tell them about something you saw (or make up) that reminded you of them.
Making accomplishments a big deal.
Give students you are struggling to build a relationship with special classroom responsibilities/jobs.
Color/create something for you.
Public acknowledgement (e.g. student of the week)
Display pictures of your students with encouraging comments/captions

Building relationships doesnt always come easy! Take the time to plan out (especially for students that you
are struggling to build a relationship with right now) what you can do to improve in this area.
Student

What do I know about


them?
- what do they
like/dislike
- personality traits

What do I need to
find out?

Strategies I will use to


build a relationship

What might be hard


about this?

Listening and Learning (PK-2)

(Gabrielle Thompson, Camden '04)

This is a routine that allows students to share their favorite things. Each day you can have a different theme (e.g. color,
food, book, movie, article of clothing, etc). Students are given a limited amount of time to share out their favorite thing
of the day. The teacher models this (very enthusiastically). As time goes on, students can incorporate things theyve
learned in class and skills theyve mastered (e.g. my favorite math activity is patterns, my favorite thing Ive learned is
the sight word because), referencing their own work up on the walls or other items around the classroom.
Special Student (PK-2)
At each morning meeting you can declare a Special Student or Star of the Day (or something that first with your
theme). This student will be interviewed by the class about his/her family, interests, etc and get to sit in the special
chair during the meeting.
This is Who We Work For (3-12)
(Maureen Ferry, Bay Area 05)
In this activity, students reflect on who in their lives they want to make proud, who inspires them, or who they do not
want to disappoint. This can be a whole mini-lesson and way to display something from every student. After
displaying what students create, you can refer to the wall as all the people for whom we are working hard, all the people
cheering us on, etc.
Ask students to reflect on 3 people in their lives they want to make proudwho inspires them, pushes them to
succeedcould be a family member, friend, someone theyve never met, politician, star, athlete, etc.
Then have all students share out (teacher(s) will share out as well.) This is a great way to start to build a
welcoming environment. You can set expectations for how they listen to one another, track speakers, speak in a
clear, loud voice so everyone can hear, etc.
Next, ask students to select one of those people- the #1 person in their lives they work for besides themselves.
They reflect in class and respond to questions.
For homework, give them a half-sheet of colored paper to which they can add pictures, descriptions, poetry,
whatever, to illustrate the person in their lives they work for.
Post these prominently in the room and refer often to all the people we, as a class, cannot let down, etc.

Front Page News (3-5)


Students can write and illustrate a front page about themselves. These can be presented or simply posted for students
all to see.

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Initial Letter to Family


Pre-K2
Dear Families,
I am truly looking forward to the beginning of the new school year, and I would like to welcome you and your
student to my class! Pre-kindergarten is a very exciting year filled with self discovery, learning, and personal
growth. You should expect your child to come home excited and challenged by all the thinking and creating that
they do in my classroom! I hope to be a partner with you this year, so that we can make sure that your child
gets the best education possible.
In order to create a positive learning environment, I have developed a class plan that sets high expectations for all
of my students. Everyone in the classroom will work together as a team to achieve our learning goals with few
interruptions. The plan below outlines the classroom expectations as well as the consequences for inappropriate
behavior.
Our general classroom expectations are
Respect yourself, others, and your surroundings.
Come to class prepared to learn.
** We will discuss these rules and what they specifically mean with the students so that they have a clear idea of
what we expect from them.
If a student chooses to ignore an expectation

First Consequence:
Second Consequence:
Third Consequence:
Fourth Consequence:

Verbal Warning (one level down on behavior chart)


Verbal Warning (one level down on behavior chart)
Student will have a time out
I will call home and we will explain his/her behavior to you.

To encourage students, we will recognize appropriate behavior with individual, group and class rewards.
Individual students will be praised for their good behavior. Groups will earn points towards a special prize of their
choice (such as a popcorn party).
Your support of this plan is essential. I will also be contacting you as a result of both positive and negative
behaviors throughout the year. I am also including a questionnaire for you to fill out, so that I learn more about you
and your child. It is an honor and a privilege for me to work with you this year, and I look forward to giving
you my best. I cant wait to see the great things your student will do this year! Please dont hesitate to
contact me on my phone or by email.
Sincerely,
Mr. K
Phone #
E-mail address

20

Queridas Familias,
Es un placer para mi darles la bienvenida a usted y a su nio(a) en este nuevo ao escolar! El Pre-kinder es un ao muy
emocionante porque da al nio la oportunidad de aprender muchas cosas nuevas y tambin de conocerce a si mismo.
Pondre todo mi esfuerzo para ofrercerles un buen trabajo a usted y a su nio(a) durante todo el ao escolar. Espero ser
un aliado para usted este ao, de modo que nos cercioremos de que su nio o nia tenga la mejor educacin
posible.
Para crear un ambiente de aprendizaje positivo, yo he desarrollado un plan de direccin con expectativas altas para
todos los estudiantes. Cada estudiante trabajar juntos en un equipo para conseguir nuestro aprendizaje de objetivos con
pocas interrupciones. El siguiente plan contornos las expectativas para la clase as como las consecuencias para
comportamiento inadecuado.
Nuestras expectativas de aula generales son

Respetan todos
Ven a la clase listo a aprender

** Hablaremos de estas "reglas" y lo que significan con los con claridad y esperanza.
Si un estudiante decide no hacer caso de una expectativa

Primera Consecuencia:
Segunda Consecuencia:
Tercera Consecuencia:
Cuarta Consecuencia:

Advertencia Verbal
Advertencia Verbal
El estudiante tendr un descanso
Yo llamar en casa y le explicar su conducta a usted

Para animar a estudiantes, reconoceremos el comportamiento apropiado con recompensas del grupo e individuo.
Elogiarn a estudiantes individuales de su comportamiento bueno. Los grupos ganarn puntos hacia un premio especial
de su opcin (como una fiesta de popcorn).
Su apoyo de este plan es esencial. Yo me pondr en contacto con usted tanto a consecuencia de comportamientos
positivos como a consecuencias negativas. Tambin estoy incluyendo un cuestionario para que ustedes completen, de
modo que yo pueda aprender un poco mas sobre usted y su nio o nia. Una vez ms, es un honor y un privilegio
para mi poder trabajar con usted(es) est ao y les aseguro dar lo mejor de mi. Estar muy complacida de ver los
advances que si nio(a) har este ao! Por favor no vacile en ponerse en contacto conmigo por cualquier razn por
telfono o por email.
Sinceramente,
Mr. K
Phone #
E-mail address

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21

Elementary Example
August 14, 2001
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to the 2001 2002 school year! I am very excited about having your child in my fifth grade class. Im looking
forward to working closely with you and your child as this year of hard work, education and achievement proceeds.
To begin our partnership, I want to share the answers to two very important questions that you may have as the year
begins:
How can my child be successful in Ms. Schankulas class?
Your child should complete every homework assignment.
In order to make sure that all students learn as much as possible every day, I will assign homework EVERY night.
The homework is designed to allow students to practice what theyve learned during the school day & to improve their
reading ability. If your child ever has trouble with an assignment, s/he should call me at home.
Your child should work hard and read A LOT.
Your child should follow the rules of our class.
In my class, we have six simple rules that will help to make sure that all students can focus on learning, and I can
focus on teaching. Your child received a copy of our class rules today. S/he can show them to you and explain each
rule. In my class, we will be using a card chart to keep track of student behavior. Each child will begin the day on
his/her black card. Students with excellent behavior will stay on black all day. If a student chooses to break a rule,
s/he will have to change a card. Your child can tell you exactly what will happen if s/he changes a card. Students
who stay on black all day, all week, or all month will receive recognition for their excellence!
How will I know whats going on and how my child is doing in Ms. Schankulas class?
I will send a letter to you every Monday.
This letter will always come home in your childs purple homework folder. It will be your childs responsibility to get it
signed by you and to return it to me in on Tuesday. This will let me know that youve had a chance to read it. The
weekly parent/guardian letter will contain important information for you about what were studying and what projects
are due. It will also contain homework assignments for the entire week.
I will send home progress reports every three weeks.
You can call me at home or stop by to talk with me during my planning period.
If you would like to know about your childs progress at any time, please call me or stop by school during my planning
period which takes place every day from 11:35 a.m. 12:25 p.m.
In my two years at Carver, I have worked with energetic, intelligent students and hard-working, supportive
parents. I really appreciate the time you take to make sure your child does well in school. Like you, I can greatly
about your child. If you ever have questions for me, if you want an update on how your child is doing or if you simply
want to say hello, I can be reached at home at 887-8126. I would LOVE to hear from you. Together, I know well
make this an excellent year!
Thank you,
Ms. Schankula
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Please sign on the line below once youve read this letter. Return the signed part to school with your student tomorrow so
that s/he will get at A+ for homework. Thanks!
Parent/Guardian Signature: ______________________________________________

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22

Secondary Examples
[Additional strong examples can be found in the Toolkit at the end of your Classroom Management & Culture
Textbook]

PARENT LETTER
Please save for future reference
10 August 2006
Dear Parent and/or Guardian,
Hello! My name is Mr. Gibney and I am lucky enough to have your child in one of my classes. Your child will find that I
am a tough, but fair, teacher who has planned an exciting and productive school year.
My particular style of teaching is based on three things: setting high expectations for EVERY student, showing respect for
all students and expecting respect in return, and last, but certainly not least, parental involvement. It is my belief that
when parents and teachers work together a student can accomplish anything.
It is my hope to talk with the parents and/or guardians of all those in my classes. I plan to contact you personally in the
next week. Please feel free to contact me in any of the following ways:
School: (985)-536-4226
Cell: (804)-305-0629
Email: john.gibney@gmail.com
To help your child succeed in my challenging science class, there are five simple things that you can do:
1. PROGRESS REPORTSAsk your student to see their progress report every week. Each Monday, I print out
new progress reports that give a detailed summary of their grade and all missing assignments. Please sign these
reports and return them to school with the student.
2. STUDY AT HOMEMake sure that your student studies each night for at least 20 minutes. Every Wednesday
we have a quiz and on Friday we have tests or exams.
3. STUDY SESSIONSBring your student to school early on Fridays for a test review. Mr. Gibney provides
breakfast and session starts at 6:30 am. There will be class study sessions at the Laplace Main Branch Library @
2920 Highway 51 on certain days throughout the semester. Advance notice will be given. Students who attend
my free review and free tutoring sessions usually have much higher grades in my class. This is also a great time
to make up missing assignments.
4. ENCOURAGEEncourage your student to ask questions in class and come in for extra help when they need it.
Also, praise them for doing wellthey deserve it!
5. SUPPLIES Students need the following supplies. Please feel free to contact me if you or your student cannot
get any of these supplies and we will work a system out privately.
A three ring binder (at least 1 inch thick ~$1.50 @ Wal-Mart)
Tab Dividers ($0.98 @ Wal-Mart)
Blank loose-leaf ($.39 per 100 sheets @ Wal-Mart)
A scientific calculator (~$10 @ Wal-Mart). A TI-83Plus Silver Edition ($120) is good for college and
math.
To help me serve your student better, I would be grateful if you could take five minutes out of your busy day and complete
the parent survey. Please have your student return it to me as their first homework assignment. I look forward to working
with you and your student!
Wishing you peace,
Mr. Gibney (Teacher of Biology, Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics at East St. John High School)

23

Secondary Example 2: Institute Introductory Letter to Families

Dear Mr. or Ms. _______________,


I would like to take this time to introduce myself to you and your family. I am Mr. Tan Huynh and I will be
_________________s summer teacher teaching 11th grade English at John Reagan High School. I am
pleased to have the opportunity to help your child advance academically and intellectually these next four
weeks.
In order to maximize our time together, we are focusing on a particular goal that your child will work to achieve.
Our summer goal for ______________ to reach the growth goal of ______________. Achieving this goal will
position your child for success in his/her senior year because they will start school in September prepared to
do excellent work.
Reaching this goal will require significant discipline and work both from myself and ____________. I have
trained my students to use time-saving procedures and protocols which will give us the most instructional and
learning time possible this summer. A systematic, logical, and fair positive and negative management system
has been created to provide the students the appropriate scholastic environment to optimize student
achievement.
Knowing that you have as much faith in your childs ability and intelligence as I do, I ask you for your support of
my management system and positive reinforcement from home. Your support will illustrate that your child is in
a network that has the best intention for them at hand.
Home-based support is best described as open and honest conversation between myself and your family. I
welcome any information that you feel necessary for me to know in order to best teach your child. My contact
information is provided in this letter and I encourage you to engage in any meaningful conversations that best
serves the progress of _______________. I will frequently be in contact with you as well to update the family.
Thank you for your time and support of our collective goal of facilitating the most growth possible for
__________________.
Sincerely,
Tan Huynh
Corps Member
c/o Teach For America
University of Houston
Moody Towers
4401 Wheeler Street
Houston, TX 77004
Huynhtan83@___.__
123-456-7890

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24

Family Questionnaire

Family Questionnaire
Thank you so much for taking some time out of your busy day to complete this survey. Every child is different
and knowing their individual needs will help me to teach them best. Please feel free to use the backside if you
need more space for any answer.
Student Name
Parent or Guardian Name
Students Birthday
You know your child best. Please tell me about him or her:
1. What is your relationship to the student? (Mother, father, grandparent, aunt . . .)
2. Please list their strengths (include as many as you can think of academic, social, athletic, artistic,
musical, etc.). Be specific and dont be afraid to brag!
3. Please list the areas where you feel your child needs the most attention.
4. Does your child have any special needs or conditions that may make learning more difficult for him or
her?
5. Tell me one great thing about your student that you dont think I already know.
To help us stay in touch, please answer the following questions about how to contact you:
Method

Number

Convenient Times

Mailing Address

Language
mostly spoken
at home

Home
Work

SPANISH

Cell

ENGLISH

E-Mail
6. Are you the only person to whom I should speak when I call home? If there is someone else I can
speak with, please write his or her name and relationship to the child.

7. Do you have any skills or interests that would help enrich our class

Parent/Guardian Information Questionnaire


(to be completed at home by the parent or guardian)
Students Name: _________________________________________________________________
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Name(s): _____________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________
Nighttime Phone Number(s):____________________________________

Daytime Phone Numbers: ________________________________________


Cell Phone Number(s): __________________________________________
Phone number of a family member or friend for emergencies: ___________________________________
What is the best time of day for me to call home?
____ IN THE MORNING BEFORE SCHOOL
____ BETWEEN 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m
____ BETWEEN 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m
Does your child have any medical conditions that I need to know about? Please explain.

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Does your child take any medications regularly?

YES

NO

If yes, what medications does s/he take?

______________________________________________________________________________
What are you most proud of about your child?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
What do you hope your child will accomplish this year?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Is there anything your child might need special help with?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
Is there anything else that you would like to tell me that might help me to teach your child?

______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
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BACK
TO
SCHOOL
Ms. Stahls Classroom Newsletter
!
Article Title 1
Article Title 2

The West School


Madison, CT

Newsletter Date
Vol u m e 1 , I s s u e 1

First, choose a short title or theme for your


newsletter something like "Class News," or
Back to School. Then, pick a full title for your
newsletter for example, "Ms. Stahls
Classroom Newsletter." If youd like, you can
also add a subtitle, volume number, and date
for your newsletter.
Use the body of your newsletter to keep parents
apprised of major assignments and class
events, as well as any school district news.
Provide explanations of how projects and
daily work conform to the state standards.
You might also want to include the week's
spelling words, test alerts, and any upcoming
events such as field trips or special school
events.
A newsletter also can extend classroom
learning. Give students experience in writing for
an audience by having them write articles
describing class projects. Ask children to help
you choose the colors of your newsletter, pick
out clip art, put together story ideas, write and
edit articles, and distribute the newsletter.

Every article you post needs its own title. Its


also a good idea to use clip art and graphics to
illustrate themes, activities, or events. When
you dont have enough text, fill empty spaces
with graphics or classroom photos.
Keep the tone simple and positive. Occasionally
you might need to remind parents about
classroom rules.

Article Title 3

First, choose a short title or theme for your


newsletter something like "Class News," or
Back to School. Then, pick a full title for your
newsletter for example, "Ms. Stahls
Classroom Newsletter." If youd like, you can
also add a subtitle, volume number, and date
for your newsletter.
Use the body of your newsletter to keep
parents apprised of major assignments and
class events, as well as any school district
news. Provide explanations of how
projects and daily work conform to the
state standards.

Article Title 4

A caption describing the graphic

First, choose a short title or theme for your


newsletter something like "Class News," or
Back to School. Then, pick a full title for your
newsletter for example, "Ms. Stahls
Classroom Newsletter." If youd like, you can
also add a subtitle, volume number, and date
for your newsletter.
Use the body of your newsletter to keep parents
apprised of major assignments and class
events, as well as any school district news.
Provide explanations of how projects and
daily work conform to the state standards.

Ms. Stahls Classroom Newsletter Page 2

This Weeks Highlights


This week in Science we will be studying
animals, including dinosaurs and pets, as well
as astronomy. Children will be required to
complete an in-depth science report on the
animal of their choice by next Wednesday
morning. Our trip to the zoo on Thursday may
inspire some creative choices!
We will also work on geometry problems in
Math homework. In Social Studies, we will
read a book about the culture of the Inuit
people, who used to be called Eskimos.

Reminders to Students
Bring money for field trip lunch
Bring umbrella in case it rains
Think of a costume for Fridays
assembly

This Weeks Assignments


Monday
Today we are learning about dinosaurs.
Tuesday
Today we are learning about pets.
Wednesday
Today we are learning about the solar system.
Thursday
Today we are going on a field trip to the zoo.
Friday
Today we have a special guest from the fire department to tell us
about fire safety.

Upcoming Events
Classroom Open House
Tuesday, September 6, 7:30 P.M.
Ice Cream Social with the Faculty
Friday, September 9, 5 P.M.
School Assembly

Reminders to Parents
Your child will need the following supplies
this year:

1. backpack
2. 3 spiral notebooks
3. 1 box of pencils
4. erasers
5. rulers
6. compass
7. lunch box

This week's school assembly is on storybook


characters. Children may dress up like a
character on Thursday. (You might want to
bring a change of clothes for the rest of the
day.) Costumes can be as simple as a hat or
a small picture of your character pinned to
your shirt. Have fun.

Thank You Students!


Special thanks are due the following students:
Jay Adams for volunteering to clean up after the
fall open house.
Kari Hensien for donating her checkers set to
recess.
Alan Shen for baking us his grandmother's
chocolate chip cookies last week.
Thank you also to Ms. Brown for bringing in the
travel posters to decorate for open house.

Secondary Newsletter

(Grant Underwood, Baltimore, 09)

IN THIS ISSUE
Headline Students Start Out the Year Strong
Picture Tyarna and Lanaisha
Class Updates Presenting, reading, thinking
Coach Class, MVPs, and Schedule

TEN.
The English Newsletter
Week 3, Volume 3 Build it to be it BEAT CITY

September 13, 2010

This Just In: Students Start


Out the Year Strong
This year, English TEN is here to stay. As they
walked in for their first day, the students started with
their studies right away, learning procedures,
expectations, and turning in plenty of forms and
papers.
Students remembered old tricks like Power
Paragraphs and Cornell Notes, while they also picked
up on new ones, like 5N5Q and EXTEND vocabulary.
And where are they going with all of these
tricks, old and new? Many of them are using their new
skills to prepare English TEN for the biggest upset of
the year: by June 2011, our classes will BEAT
Baltimore City Colleges High School Assessment
Scores. Now is the time; this is the year. More updates
to come!

Tyarna and Lanaisha are excited even if a


little shy to start Week 3!

Autumn, Robert Corbin Keviyah, Anthony Kelle, Calvin - Carol, Shikerra Congrats, Week 2 MVPs

Class Updates
First Period (English TEN - AVID): This week, were starting our Presentations! Mr. Underwood showed us what a
presentation looked like by rapping for us and presenting a poster.
Third Period (Advisory): This class is starting their advisory presentations as well. Everyone chose their topic and are
learning how to present this week!
Fifth Period (English TEN): Fifth Period did some great work last week with Power Paragraphs, talking about Exposition and
continuing to read Monster.
Ninth Period (English TEN): Ninth Period are enthusiastic readers, wanting to finish Monster at a quicker pace than Mr.

THIS WEEK in Room 308

In Class: Conflict
Coach Class, 2:45-3:45

NO SCHOOL

In Class: Trip to
Computer Lab! Startup 2
Due In Class

In Class: Foreshadowing
& Flashback
Due: 5Q5N 2

Due: Progress Report,


signed by parent/guardian

In Class: Prewriting
Due: EXTEND 3 and
Warmup Tracker

AVID Presentations Begin

Come to Coach Class


Coach Classes will be Mondays from 2:45-3:45 in Room 308 and Tuesdays from 2:45-3:45 in The Computer
Lab. Every Coach Class gets you +3 participation points, and the chance to make up any work that youve
missed or that youd like to try again. See you there!

Investment Plan Toolkit 1


Additional Methods (to implement in addition to making phone calls and at least one of the
methods above)
Family Contract
(Ashley Ogonowski)
This first grade example, authored by Ashley Ogonowski, can be modified to be appropriate for any grade
level.

Academic Contract
Ms. Ogonowskis First Grade Class
2006-2007 School Year
Parent/Family Member
I will support my student in his or her academic growth by:

Making sure my child arrives to school on time and on a daily basis


Making sure my child misses no more than 2 days of school each month
Reading with or monitoring my student 20 minutes a night
Checking my students daily homework for completion
Actively participating in my childs academic life

____________________________
Signature of Parent/Family Member
Student
I will actively reach for my goals by:

Arriving to school on time and on a daily basis


Reading 20 minutes a night
Completing my daily homework packet and turning it in each day
Actively contributing in class and working toward my Big Goals

____________________________
Signature of Student
Teacher
I will actively assist in the students academic growth by:

Arriving to school on time and on a daily basis and prepared to teach


Tracking the students growth in reading and math
Preparing daily homework assignments in order to challenge the students
academic growth
Actively participating in the students academic and social development

________________________
Signature of Teacher
30
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Investment Plan Toolkit 1


Family Communication Survey
Goals (PK-2)
Ask students adult family members to write out goals for their student and then post them up all over the
classroom. Share these goals with the students and use them as motivators. (They can be written on stars or
clouds or something else that fits with your theme so that they look really nice.

Elementary Parent Log

Shavonne Mostella
Jacksonville 08

Parent Correspondence Log


Student: _______________________________________#_________
Contact 1___________________________________
Home Phone: 904._____.______________________
Work Phone: 904_____-_________
Cell Phone: 904_____-___________
Email: _______________________@_____________
Date

Time

Contact
with

Form of
Communication

Reason for
Contact

Results/Comments

31
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Investment Plan Toolkit 1

PARENT/GUARDIAN CONTACT LOG


Date

Block

Student
Name

Tel/Per

Reached?

Who?

Regarding

Complete?

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32