Student Contract/Syllabus

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by jw12, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I'm dusting off my syllabi for the new school year, and I thought about adding a section where the student would have to have a parent/guardian sign and return a portion indicating that they read and understand the requirements and policies of my class.

    Does anyone else do this? Do you usually get a good response? Do you think it helps if you have to have a conference about a student not living up to their responsibilities?
     
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  3. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I teach high school and I did this my first year (counted as a grade) and got about 80% return. It ended up being hard to organize and keep track of. Now, I just print out the syllabus to each student on the first day and keep a digital copy on my webpage. I don't bother with signatures. It's their responsibility to remember and abide by my rules and to know my expectations. If they don't, well that's too bad since I make them keep it in their binder and it's on my webpage. Never had an issue. Honestly now I feel like having them sign is juvenile. Their parents aren't going to remember all of the 8 different teachers' syllabi (and honestly probably won't read them all the way through). If they want to know, they can check my webpage or their kid's binder. The kids are old enough to be responsible. Most teachers are pretty across the board with expectations as we all follow standard school disciple procedures (with exceptions). Most teachers have different grading procedures though.

    If a student is not abiding by my rules or meeting my expectations, that is when an email or phone call is in order (after talking with the student one-on-one). This way I remind the parent about my expectations.
     
  4. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I have parents sign the syllabus and keep them in a file. The signature is the first homework grade of the year.

    I get about 90% back but a big reason for that is that I also call every parent within the first week, so mentioning it to the parents helps as well.

    Honestly, I don't think I actually USED the signed syllabi once, but making them responsible for it at least set the expectation that there's homework every night (without having to actually give real homework on day 1).
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 11, 2015

    I think it is fine to add a section that requires the parent and student signature that states they have read the syllabus.

    Be sure though to not think that this is in any way a contract as your title states. There is no negotiating and no choice for the student and parent. Also a statement that they understand doesn't mean much because you aren't checking for understanding. What a parent may understand by your syllabus may not be what you mean.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2015

    All teachers at my school do this. It's nice, but it's also a lot for parents, especially if they have kids in different grades. I include a part where they can share their email and anything I should know about their kid.
     
  7. jw12

    jw12 Rookie

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    This has always been my policy, and I still agree. I just knew that several teachers in my building did it, and I wanted to get your opinions. I think I'll stick to just giving out a copy of the syllabus the first day, and then taking things from there if a problem develops.

    Thanks for the input everyone!
     
  8. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I do this at back to school night with the parents. I include a whole survey and everything. I also go over my syllabus and classroom expectations with them. A lot of parents do show up.

    A lot of teachers do the signature and contact the parents who don't sign. I just figure that kids and parents are responsible on their own. I go over it in class, back to school night with parents, and remind students throughout the year. I found that a lot of students just had their parents sign without reading just to get the homework points anyways.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I do it. It comes in handy at parent conferences once in a while.
     
  10. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2015

    I do this and also ask for best contact information, including best times to contact. Our online info portal (Aeries) isn't always up-to-date regarding how parents actually want to be contacted, and when.

    I also put a section for parents to add any additional information they want *me* to know about their student. It's interesting to see the responses, from nothing to a novel! It gives me a little insight into the family dynamic sometimes. We don't get a lot of parents at BTS Night and many never figure out how to use Aeries/never use it, so this is my first way to reach out to the families.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Aug 12, 2015

    My last school required teachers to give a syllabus to each kid that had to be signed by a guardian since this was the best chance to get correct contact info from parents.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 12, 2015

    That makes sense. We don't have a back to school night so I never meet most of my kids' parents.
     

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