10 Back To School Night Ideas To Turn Parents Into Partners

Dr. Karla Bester has a passion for education and served as a teacher for more than 20 years before becoming a Director of Programs for an education company. She has developed, implemented, and managed a variety of programs that have supported and helped educators excel both inside and outside of the classroom.

Here, she shares her expertise to provide back to school night ideas and helpful advice to create a successful back to school night, open house or meet the teacher night.

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Parent-teacher meeting for open house or back to school night

Back to school night and open house events during the first weeks of school are important for parents and teachers alike. It allows teachers to meet parents, discuss curriculum and expectations, and lay the foundation for a successful school year. However, back to school night can be much more than a formal meeting, it’s also an opportunity to start building relationships with parents and begin setting the foundations for positive communication and support for students. Here are a few ideas and strategies to help you make the most of back to school night and use it to turn your parents into partners.

Top Tips for Back To School Night

1. Prepare Ahead of Time

Preparing ahead of time is the key to making the most of back to school night. Gather all the necessary information and everything you need, such as curriculum and class schedules, and plan a presentation that is both informative and engaging. Be sure to have materials, such as handouts and visuals, ready to hand out to parents for them to take home. This should also help you feel more prepared to answer any questions parents may have.

2. Greet Parents Warmly

This is when you can make an excellent first impression with parents. Greet them with a warm and welcoming smile, introduce yourself as their child’s classroom teacher, and shake their hands. This small gesture can establish a good rapport with students’ parents early on.

3. Share Your Teaching Philosophy

Sharing your teaching philosophy can help parents understand your approach to education and the classroom. Share your classroom goals, your teaching style, and how you plan to support students during the upcoming school year. Sharing this important information can help parents align their expectations and understand how they can support their child's academic growth.

4. Invite Parents To Participate

Encourage parental involvement in the classroom by inviting them to participate in activities such as volunteering, chaperoning field trips, and helping with homework. This involvement can create a sense of ownership in the classroom and promote a collaborative learning environment. Providing handouts and sign-up forms after your presentation helps create a low-pressure environment that encourages parents to get involved and gives them options to support in the way that best suits their circumstances. This might include a classroom supplies request form, parent participation form, student reading inventory, or a teacher feedback form to take away and return later in the school year.

5. Include Information on Classroom Rules and Expectations

Outline your classroom expectations during your presentation. Be specific about the rules and guidelines in the classroom, including behavior, assignments, and deadlines. Discuss how you plan to implement these expectations and how they align with the school's policies. When parents know what to expect, they can better reinforce the same rules at home.

6. Highlight Student Achievements

Highlight, share, and celebrate student work and achievements from your classroom, such as their most successful project or class presentation. Celebrating these successes not only acknowledges the hard work of your students but also provides a glimpse into the kind of learning and growth that could take place in the classroom with everyone's cooperation.

7. Keep It Interactive

Create an interactive presentation that involves parents and provides opportunities for them to ask questions about your teaching methods. Engage them in back to school night activities, from games to surveys related to the curriculum. As you do this, it will show them how meaningful their participation is in their child's education and help establish a stronger relationship between the parents, teachers, and students. 

8. Make Time for Individual Parent-Teacher Conferences

During back to school night, create time for one-on-one parent-teacher conferences that address individual concerns and issues regarding their child's academic performance and behavior. Take the time to listen to their concerns and answer any questions. Giving personalized attention to each student's parent could improve the relationship you build with the parents and, ultimately, their level of engagement with their child's education. Communication forms and templates are great to use during the first week of school or to have prepared for back to school night.

9. Create an Open-Door Policy

Make it clear to parents that they are always welcome to communicate with you throughout the school year. Provide contact information such as your email, phone number, or office hours. Encouraging an open-door policy can ensure that parents feel comfortable asking questions or voicing concerns whenever needed.

10. Follow-up

After back to school night, follow up with parents to reinforce the information shared, encourage communication, and address any further questions they may have. Keep them updated on classroom events and student accomplishments throughout the year with newsletters, calendars, or special events they could attend. By building a strong communication network between the school, teachers, and parents, the parents can become partners in shaping their child's educational journey and overall School-life balance.

What To Do After Back To School Night

Back to school night is a valuable opportunity to establish a positive relationship with parents and promote a collaborative atmosphere in the classroom. You can turn parents into partners in their child's education by creating an engaging and interactive presentation, sharing your teaching philosophy, highlighting student achievements, and inviting them to participate. Be open to their feedback and concerns and offer support throughout the school year. By maintaining open communication and building relationships, both parents and teachers can work towards creating a successful and positive learning environment.

Check out this collection of 40 inspirational Back to School quotes for teachers!

About the author

Dr. Karla Bester

About Karla

Dr. Karla Bester is a Director of Programs for an educational company, where she works with administrators, instructional support leaders, coaches, teachers, and students… Read more

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