We usually think of the beginning of the school year and the changes that go with it as starting in September, but schools often have changes and adjustments that start later in the year due to staff changes or new initiatives. A recent blog post by Gwen Pescatore (@gpescatore25) reminded me of this. I appreciate her writing about her thoughts, experiences and approach as an involved parent in education. The recent change, in her case, has been a new principal at her children’s school in December. I like how she compared the adjustment to moving along a game board but acknowledged that, “in the school relationship, there is no finish line…it’s ongoing”.
Gwen’s post speaks to the balance of letting someone settle into a role, as well as working out some initial steps to take to help open the dialogue about the needs of a school and a parent group already established in their year’s routines and activities. Check out her full post where she elaborates on key talking points she used: Expectations (the parent group of the principal and vice versa), communication, and successes and shortcomings (from different perspectives). I admire Gwen’s positive and respectful approach to having what many would consider ‘a hard conversation’, especially when initiated by a parent group member. There is much documented though about the key role that the principal will have in supporting parent participation and relationships at the school level.
I had thought about updating a guest post that I wrote on Chris Wejr’s blog in which I provided a “map” to help principals (new to the role or to a school) with parent involvement and communication, but I think Gwen’s post covers great additional points to consider about parent communication strategies and school culture. As with board games and maps, we often have to take a few steps back and start again in order to go forward in many areas of education.