Back-to-School Night is one of the first events on the school calendar. It is an evening where parents come to school to find out specific information about the grade-level curriculum, classroom rules and policies, year-long goals, special events, and the teacher’s philosophy. For most teachers, Back-to-School Night can be stressful. Carefully organized planning will allow you to feel confident and to convey a great first impress
Back-to-School Night is one of the first events on the school calendar. It is an evening where parents come to school to find out specific information about the grade-level curriculum, classroom rules and policies, year-long goals, special events, and the teacher’s philosophy. For most teachers, Back-to-School Night can be stressful. Carefully organized planning will allow you to feel confident and to convey a great first impression. Read on for tips to make your Back-to-School Night a success.
Create a Welcoming Environment
Smile and greet the parents as they arrive. Introduce yourself and ask parents to introduce themselves. Display a positive and confident attitude. During those first few days of the school year, practice pronouncing the first and last names of your students. Provide a sign-in sheet, since not all students’ and parents’ last names are the same. Invite parents to sit at their child’s desk and provide extra chairs to ensure comfort for everyone in attendance. Organize the classroom and display student work on the desks and walls to make the room inviting. Remember to remove clutter and piles of papers. Organize handouts and forms on each desk ahead of time and have extra copies available. Have the children write a welcoming letter to their parents. Ask the parents to respond and to leave notes for their children. Display samples of the books and materials the children will be using during the school year for parents to review.
Establish Parent Communication
Provide a sign-up sheet for upcoming parent-teacher conferences. Schedule the conferences for 20 to 30 minutes. Remember to include breaks for yourself. Scheduling conferences during Back-to-School Night is a convenient way for parents to plan ahead and avoid conflicts, especially with siblings' teachers. Discuss volunteer opportunities for parents to assist you, whether at school or at home. Provide a form for parents to record their volunteering preferences. Remember to let parents know how to contact you. Explain your preferences for use of email, voice mail, or notes. Explain your forms of classroom communication, such as newsletters, monthly calendars, or a website. I provide general information for parent reference and for parents who cannot attend Back-to-School Night.
Plan for A Powerful Presentation
Prepare a simple presentation to share information about yourself, your teaching philosophy, and the upcoming school year. This visual presentation allows parents to see and understand your message. Here's a copy of my agenda. Introduce the curriculum and highlight the standards or benchmarks for the school year. Explain the homework procedures and policy in your classroom. Outline your classroom rules and explain the behavior-management system for the classroom and the school. Provide copies of policies for parents to take home. Go over the grading system used in the school for your grade level. Discuss the criteria for grading and be specific as to how you will be communicating grades throughout the school year. Include specific information regarding lunch money, birthday treats, and changes in transportation. Remember to pause from time to time during the presentation for questions and answers. Start the presentation on time and end on time. Thank families for attending and graciously conclude the evening.
Be sure to check out this Scholastic Printable for additional ideas and ready-made resources.
Do you have a Back-to-School Night tip to share? Please feel free to leave a comment.