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Engaging communities through parent letters

Parents of high school students often feel removed from their children’s education. In order to close this gap and keep the lines of communication open, high school English language arts teachers may want to write a letter, well in advance of the event, inviting parents to Curriculum Night. Curriculum Night gives parents an opportunity to find out what their children will be learning in all of their classes. Parents who feel a positive connection to the school and to the teachers are more likely to be supportive during the school year. Take the initiative and personally invite your parents rather than waiting for the generic parent letter that the principal sends. Here is a sample letter to get you started. Feel free to make changes to fit your situation.

Sample parent letter

Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s),

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and invite you to Stevenson High School’s Curriculum Night on Tuesday, September 22, 2005. Please put this date on your calendar as I have some exciting information to share with you regarding your son/daughter’s English 11 class.

Although I am new to the English Department at Stevenson High School, I am not new to the community. I was a teacher intern at Henry Ford II High School last year under the supervision of Ms. Kristy Black. Following graduation from Michigan State University in May of 2005, I taught two summer school English classes for Utica Community Schools.

I am looking forward to teaching your daughter/son and I want you to know that I am focused on the Board of Education’s goal that “every child achieves.” As you may know, some high school students would prefer that their parents not become involved in their education. I believe, however, that students achieve more if teachers and parents work together. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to attend Curriculum Night on September 22nd. I will have a packet of information ready for you that explains my philosophy of education as well as my policies regarding homework, late work and grades. More importantly, I want to acquaint you with the English curriculum and share the goals that I have for your son/daughter this year. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and voice your concerns.

By sending this letter early, I hope that you will be able to clear your calendar for September 22, 2005, at 7:00 P.M. As an added incentive, the class with the most parents in attendance will receive a treat the next day!

I am looking forward to meeting each of you at Stevenson’s Curriculum Night!