What are some ways to go about building positive relationships with families?

Page 5: Building Positive Relationships

grandparents Using their newly acquired knowledge, the staff at M. T. Watkins has agreed that one of their goals for the upcoming school year is to improve relationships with the families of students with disabilities. They believe that by creating an accepting and supportive environment, they will achieve not only this end but also their ultimate goal of helping these students to succeed in school. The staff members at M. T. Watkins plan to build positive relationships by:

  • Encouraging families’ involvement
  • Respecting families
  • Acknowledging families’ strengths

For Your Information

An example of one state’s initiative to build positive relationships between its schools and families is the South Carolina Red Carpet Initiative.

The South Carolina Department of Education created the Red Carpet Schools program to recognize schools for being family-friendly and for offering excellent customer services. Schools go through an extensive application and review process in which they highlight a variety of activities designed to make parents and other visitors feel welcome so that they want to become partners with the school. A few examples of how some of the schools in South Carolina enriched their programs to become Red Carpet schools include:

An elementary school holds Family Fun Night on the first Monday of each month. They serve dinner and open the computer lab, media center, and Parent Resource Center to their guests. Students and parents can check out and return library books, take Accelerated Readers tests, explore the computer lab, or work on a project for class. Parents can check out games, books, and videos.

An elementary school established a program to encourage parents to be active school volunteers. The school’s Three for Me program seeks to have each student’s parents volunteer at least three hours during the school year.

An elementary school located near the local fire station opens its cafeteria to the firefighters, who regularly eat lunch with the students. Students, in return, visit the fire station for lessons in character education, careers, and fire safety.

An assistant principal at a South Carolina elementary school makes a practice of boarding buses to greet students in the mornings and to wish them a good afternoon as they leave for the day. The principal lists both his school and home telephone numbers in the school’s handbook and welcomes calls from anyone with a concern or a recommendation to improve the school.

Note: A link to more information about the Red Carpet School Initiative can be located on the References & Additional Resources page.

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