Too early to start contacting parents/students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarge, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    My class for next year is in the database. I have all their names, addresses, numbers, parent info - and even academic and attendance data from last year that I can access from home.

    They will not get any information from the school indicating that I am their child's teacher until late August when the secretaries come back from vacation.

    So in the meantime, I'd like to either call or write them and give them my class supply list (there's very little on it, so I bascially don't want them going out and buying tons of stuff they don't need).

    I don't have parents emails though, however, I have found some of them on Facebook.

    Is it too early or should I wait until closer to the start of school?
     
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  3. Cheyenne

    Cheyenne Companion

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    I don't think it is ever too early to start building relationships with your class. :) And I really think they would like the heads up on the supply list. That is thoughtful of you.

    We are a small school with just one section of each level, so I tried something new this year. I sent home a request for parent to send me an email, so that I could do some contact activities with their students over the summer. Actually, Jem was the one who gave me the idea...I was reading her plans for last summer's detective theme activities for over the summer. :) Now, I just need to get my act together and follow through...I have be SO in summer mode for the month of June!! :D
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If your school is anything like most of the schools I have worked in, the class lists change pretty regularly, especially the closer school gets. If you don't think that will happen in your case, go ahead and write them.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Don't contact them until the official school information is sent. Sometimes schools make changes to class lists and you wouldn't want to cause any disruption to the school procedure.
     
  6. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

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    I would wait awhile. I always send a postcard to my students when I get the official class list, usually a couple weeks before school starts. I wish we could send a supply list home, we are not allowed to. We have to furnish pencils, glue, crayons, etc. I love the parents that supply their kids anyway!
     
  7. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately, I agree. In my experience 20-25% of my class changes by the time school starts and I think it would be confusing to parents. Also in our school system they have been known to make changes to assignments at the last minute due to enrollment changes which is really unfortunate for the teachers involved, as you can imagine.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's going to change 20% after school starts. But I'm pretty certain, from experience, that the kids on my list will be in my class unless they move to a different school. There may be a lot of kids who are not on the the list who will be in my class, but not the other way around.

    Besides, if I call them, I find out whether or not they'll actually be there in August. Very useful information for the secretary.

    My class may grow, but I doubt the school administration is going to move any kids from my class to another one.
     
  9. sophie1

    sophie1 Comrade

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    I think it's sweet you want to contact them now. BUT, it is very early and the parents are starting summer with their kids. Wait until the list gets sent or the beginning of August. July is too early, your parents will wonder why you would contact them so soon.

    What worries me is that you found some of your parents on Facebook. BE CAREFUL, Facebook is a great site but comes with negative conotations in the professional world. I would not ever welcome a parent as a "friend." At our school, we are warned each year to be careful about the web. Believe or not, we are also discouraged from even having a Facebook account. I'm fine with it as Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with others. But friends and family only- never parents. It's nothing against the parents, I have a lot of nice parents. It's just that you need to keep things professional. I know teachers that meant well but got into big trouble crossing the line with Facebook.

    When you do your general letter to parents, give them your school email address and let parents know that you can be contacted via email as well. Parents that want to contact you through email will. By the way, most parents know that the good deals for back to school will be in August (i.e. Staples 1 cent sale etc.) most parents are far from ready to go shopping for school. The few parents that are, will contact your school and hopefully your school will contact you at home.

    Good luck to you!
     
  10. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

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    Ours changes all the time as well. We have open house and our school doesn't even want us to contact them before then. Mainly because it gets the parents up there to find out who their teacher is which means we can get paper work from them that we may otherwise not get. All schools are different. If you think your admin will be okay with it I say go for it.
     
  11. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I have my list too, but I am waiting until August.
     
  12. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Lucky! I find out one or two days before meet the teacher night.
     
  13. loves2teach

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    Well, it used to be that way... my principal gave us the chance to sort our classes ourselves last year. It worked out great, so great that she let us do it again this year. We could go talk with the previous teachers, and get their input too. There will possibly be additions or subtractions due to moves, but we stay pretty stable numbers wise.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    A lot could change between now and the start of school, paricularly with the economy the way it is. People will move in and out of the district depending on jobs.

    I would wait.
     
  15. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I don't know what grade level you teach, Sarge, but I'd wait. I send out my welcome letters about a week before I'm set to mee the kids. Many parents tell me that the kids loved the letters, they carry it everywhere, they sleep with it, they took it to show grandma...and I like to meet them while that excitement is still going strong. If you send it too early, the chances are big that the excitement will wane, and the anticipation may just be too much for kids for a long period of time.

    We also do have rules at school. No one is to contact kids and tell them that they are in their class until class lists are final, which is when teachers return. A co-teacher got in trouble last year for doing it too early, and that parent didn't want that particular teacher, and the office had to listen to the complaints and rants of the parents for almost a month.
    Kim
     
  16. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    kimrandy - you made very good points!
     
  17. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    Oh, the joys of Special Education. My resource kids are locked into their schedules due to IEP compliance and no new kids get into special ed over the summer. My rosters are set!! I've already sent my initial "can't wait to see you" postcards (from vistaprint of course) out and will send my class lists out in a couple of weeks... although I pretty much end up buying the first round of supplies for all of the kids anyway.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm totally ignorant of special ed, so forgive me if this is a stupid question.

    But how is that possible?

    If someone moves into your district and brings his IEP with him, he won't be admitted into the special ed program??Even without the IEP, he can NOT be tested in the fall??

    That makes no sense to me-- isn't it illegal? Aren't all kids legally given access to whatever programs best suit their educational needs?

    What am I missing here?
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    forget it... I just read my question and figured out the answer.

    If a new family were to move into your district, the kid would have to wait until fall to be tested/ put into special ed, right?
     
  20. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'm guessing that's it Alice. I think if someone were to move into the district with an IEP, they would be added to the roster, but it's not as if there will be switches made between classrooms, so there should be no confusion.
     
  21. Missy

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    Our lists of students are not posted for families until the Thursday before school starts (we always start on a Tuesday). My principal would not be happy if we contacted families prior to this.

    To help with the school supply issue, the teachers on a grade level have to come up with a common list (and sometimes this is a bit of a battle), and this list is sent home at the end of the year in report cards, for the upcoming year.
     
  22. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Given your specific situation I would wait.

    We get our lists in the spring and actually meet with our new class on the last day of school. I usuually give it two weeks and then send them a postcard directing them to my blog. During the summer I try to update it with stories/photos about me and my summer vacation so that they can get to know me. I also post links to some great online activities that will help them review 2nd grade skills (I teach 3rd).

    However, since your school does not give them official word on who their teacher is I would wait. I don't know how many classrooms you have at each grade level or what your community is like, but I don't think it would be fair to the families who aren't being notified. At the very least I would get clearance from administration on if you are allowed to contact them.

    I will say, that I would avoid contacting them through Facebook regardless.
     
  23. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    New students that come in with IEPs will be in my class if that jives with the existing IEP.

    What I was talking about is that the kids who are scheduled into my class won't be moved out into another class because I'm the only resource reading teacher. My classes are set as far as existing students in the district are concerned. You are right though - if we get a new student over the summer, I won't know about them until we go to our meetings right before school starts. So you are right about that. See? You're not "totally ignorant" of special ed after all!!! :D
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Sarge,

    My best advice would be to talk to your admin and find out his/her thoughts on the matter. We can go on all day about whether it would be a good idea or not, but ultimately, our school environments are all different. I think your intentions are great, and that as long as the principal is ok with it, I'd say go for it!
     
  25. loves2teach

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    Usually, our new students who are known to have an IEP are placed in inclusion classes (or cdc depending on where they were at their previous school). Sometimes, a student might be placed in a regular ed. room, but they will be moved in an inclusion room ASAP.

    This year we had a student (I will call him Sam), that moved to our school at the start. He was placed in a regular ed room. He had an IQ of 65, and was mentally like a kindergardener. Within two days, he was moved to my inclusion room. When we got his file, we found out that he had been in CDC since preschool. Well, why was he marked as regular ed... because his previous school had too many kids in CDC, and they decided he was "fine" and could be in a regular ed room. HE COULDN'T READ, WRITE, OR DO ANY SCHOOLWORK. (sorry for yelling). Since when is that fine? Well, three months later, we had enough meetings to get him put back where he belonged.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent :) Your story made me think of it :)
     
  26. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    loves2teach - That would never be allowed at my school. I have had resource classes with 22 kids before because we have to stay in compliance with the existing IEP. Typically the problem I run into is that we have a kids who IS fine - on grade level, strong survival skills - but due to life concerns (I teach in a district with "professional" foster parents - what a joke - and we have a disproportionate number of foster care students identified as being behaviorally/emotionally disturbed) are put in a resource room because that keeps them from being a problem to the general education teachers.
     
  27. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    I don't know how they got away with it either... We looked at the test results they used. We had given him the same test and his score was about 1/2 of what they said he had done. I don't know- something was just fishy about the whole situation.
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'd say this is the most compelling reason, for me at least, to not contact them. For the kids, from now until August is a lifetime.


    Our office is completely shut down until August.

    Actually, our attendance secretary would LOVE to come back to work and see on her desk a list of kids from my class whom I've called and whose parents said they won't be attending our school next year.

    That would save her a considerable amount of trouble. Straightaway, she could confirm the openings and fill them with new students without having to wait to see if they show up on the first day of school.

    I have a few kids who live outside our attendance area who I will most likely call since it's a complete tossup as to whether or not they'll be in my class next year.
     
  29. lemonhead

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    I would agree with that. Plus, from a parent standpoint, it's a little too early to get in that mindset. Our school has only been out 4 full weeks.
     
  30. animalclass

    animalclass Companion

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    you all are so lucky,

    my school gives us the list friday when schol starts monday
     
  31. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Kids do LOVE those postcards/letters from their new teacher. As a mother of 6 kids, I can tell you even the older ones (talking 4th, 5th, 6th graders) love it.
    But from now to August is a lifetime - even to older kids. Excitement would definitely wane in the meantime. I say send it out a week before school starts.
     
  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Do you really have such a transitory population that you need to call to see who is actually planning on coming back? :dizzy:
     
  33. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I usually 3-4 no-shows on the first day of school. These are usually kids who either moved over the summer or were overflow from neighboring schools who found slots in their own schools.

    At the same time, we have families moving into the area. If my class is "full" they'll be overflowed to other schools when they don't need to be. Then, when my class is discovered to not be full, they'll be pulled back, whether or not the parents want the child to stay at the same school they were at on the first day or not.

    Yes, we involuntarily transfer first graders around the district.
     
  34. sophie1

    sophie1 Comrade

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    Sarge-

    How big are your classes and how many sections? How long have you been at this district?
     
  35. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Sarge, this might be a stupid question. About that overflow, what if you have a first grader who is overflow and needs to go to another school and then that same family has another child who is not overflow in another grade? Do they go or stay?

    I have never heard of this. We have to hire another teacher.
     
  36. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    20 kids.
    5 first grade classes.
    15 years in the district.
    why?
     
  37. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    We split up siblings all the time. If we have an opening for a first grader, but the third grade is full, and third grade is full at the other school, the kids will get split up.
     
  38. sophie1

    sophie1 Comrade

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    I've never heard of a school doing an overflow to other schools. It made me wonder what kind of area you were in... I imagined a more populated area but didn't want to assume.

    Years in the district often says a lot. I know teachers who love to teach but didn't care for the district so they moved a lot. Having an overflow could mean it is an amazing district that many people want to get into or that it's just a populated area.

    From your discussions and passion for teaching, I would say that your school was probably a highly desired district. Telling me the years verified that you like your district enough to stay there. I hope that helps. :angel:
     
  39. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's a very rapidly growing community. And in California, schools have been operating on a very close margin for a lot longer than it's been in the national news. Basically, the policy is that if moving kids around an splitting up siblings prevents hiring another teacher, then that's what you do. This has been the norm in many California school districts for quite some time.

    I do like teaching where I do. The staff and parents are wonderful. The district office is rather dysfunctional, but I'm sure there's worse.
     
  40. Jem

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    I sent letters to my students throughout the summer last year, and the parents talked about it all fall. It really made an impression. I say go for it!
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, to work with the little ones...how sweet. :love:
     

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