TeacherTools: Collaboration and Communication Key to Teacher Success
This year, Westerville City Schools is piloting the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) with full implementation in the 2015-2016 school year. Teachers will be evaluated on their performance and on student growth. After reviewing the evaluation rubric, one standard that jumped out at me was Standard 6: Collaboration and Communication. This standard is mentioned in the “Instruction and Assessment/Classroom Environment” section of the rubric and specifically states:
“The teacher engages in two-way, ongoing communication with families that results in active volunteer, community, and family partnerships which contribute to student learning and development.”
It is also mentioned in the “Professionalism/Professional Responsibilities” section of the rubric stating:
“The teacher communicates effectively with students, families, and colleagues.”
Teachers must consider many scenarios when figuring out the best way to communicate with the families of their students. What tools can teachers use for effective, ongoing communication? What if a student has more than one address? What if a student does not have Internet access at home? How would a student get in touch with their teacher at night if there was a question on homework? Does the student even have homework support at home?
These questions and many more are answered in a great Edutopia blog post on parent partnerships called “12 Conversation Starters on What Parents Want You (Teachers) to Know”. Reading the post gave me many ideas on how I can help support more collaboration with families in my school. My biggest takeaway from the blog post was there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to communication. Implementing a variety of thoughtful strategies will result in teachers being successful with the upcoming OTES evaluation.
Westerville Partners for Education