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ANISIMOVA MASTER’S PORTFOLIO 1

Family and Community Statement

Students lead busy lives outside of school, and for many the connection does not end

when they cross the classroom threshold. As an educator, it is my responsibility to help students

become aware of their future in the community, and that starts with making connections to their

families. In this letter to parents I invite the families to talk about how we learn in my classroom

and suggest some family-friendly games parents and children can play at home that will support

exposure to vocabulary, as well as math skills. It’s especially important for a student that their

family is involved in their ongoing education. Students with family support are more successful

regardless of race, gender, economic status, or even education level of the parent (PTA, 2009).

After an initial letter, like the one above, I keep in communication by sending a weekly

newsletter detailing our learning goals and class activities. Parents need to be aware of the

academic expectations at school and the ways that they can support their children with learning

opportunities at home, or with extra-curricular activities (PTA, 2009).

The letter to parents, mentioned above, is also an example of starting communication in a

positive way at the very beginning, which is a proactive way to enlist their help with the

students’ learning and build a good relationship with the families (Taylor & Nolen, 2008). This

is important for developing good communication in case something tough does need to be talked

about at a later time. Teachers who develop a rapport with families often find that when

problems arise parents or guardians are much more willing to work with them to find solutions

(Taylor & Nolen, 2008).

My first letter to parents is a beginning of what I hope can be a collaborative relationship

with the parents of my students. This working relationship requires building trust, respect, and

inviting them to feel like they are equals in supporting the educational needs of their child
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(Jimenez & Graf, 2008). This is beneficial to all students, but especially to those with disabilities

(Jimenez & Graf, 2008). In order to support this ongoing relationship, throughout the year I ask

parents to come in and talk to my students about their jobs, to help with field trips, neighborhood

clean-ups, science activities, as well as class parties. This is important in modeling citizenship,

and it makes the students feel like a valuable part of the community (Nenga, 2012). Guest

speakers from the community and local businesses also help my students experience diversity,

which can really improve the way students see themselves as part of the world. It is important to

meet the needs of our diverse student body by showing them that they are all a valuable part of

our local community (Ferreira, et al., 2014).

Modeling citizenship is especially important for young adults who are not aware of their

function in their local community or government (Perrone, 1991). In my Iditarod Unit I ask the

students to pick a musher to follow and write them letters to create a personal connection to a

leader in the local community. In writing these letters and showing support for our mushers the

students feel that they are a part of our historic traditions. Being helpful or participating in local

events creates a sense of pride for many youths (Perrone, 1991).

There are many ways to teach our students how to become successful citizens. By

involving local business and social leaders and role models, and connecting with the students’

families, I am modeling positive actions within the community.

References

Ferreira, C., Vidal, J., & Vieira, M. J. (2014). Student Guidance and Attention to Diversity in the

Processes of Quality Assurance in Higher Education. European Journal Of

Education, 49(4), 575-589. doi:10.1111/ejed.12098

Jimenez, T.C., Graf, V.L. (2008). Education For All: Critical Issues In The Education Of
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Children And Youth With Disabilities. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Nenga, S. K. (2012). Not the community, but a community: transforming youth into citizens

through volunteer work. Journal of Youth Studies, 15(8), 1063-1077.

doi:10.1080/13676261.2012.697135

Perrone, V. (1991). A Letter to Teachers. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons

PTA (2009) National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Web Page.

http://www.pta.org/files/National_Standards_Implementation_Guide_2009.pdf

Taylor, C. and S. B. Nolan (2008) Classroom Assessment: Supporting Teaching and Learning in

Real Classrooms. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.