Steps to Creating School-Parent Partnerships

WHY Create Partnerships?

  • Research tells us parents and school districts must create partnerships in order to maximize their children’s development, learning, and success in school.
  • Partnerships are essential!
  • Partnerships can only be created when everyone understands the skills and learns how to use these skills when interacting with each other.
  • Conversations build trust and transparency, which leads to partnerships.

 HOW to Create Partnerships?

  • Meet with administrators to determine what is currently in place
  • Have ‘workshop/conversations’ with parents and educators
    • Gather information regarding the District’s perspective
    • Gather information regarding the Parents’ perspective
    • Bring the two groups together to share information
  • Create an Action Plan to build, support, improve Home-School Partnerships
  • Create a team of parents and educators to facilitate Action Plan Implementation
  • Provide workshops to promote ongoing school-family communication
    • Suggested Topics to foster Home-School Partnerships
      • Effective Communication Skills
      • Understanding the “Language of Education”
      • Understanding How to Interpret Student Achievement
      • Learning Styles
      • How to Have Meaningful Conversations
      • Being a Skillful Listener

It’s More Than What You Say; It’s How You Say It.

Creating an Effective Resume

The word résumé refers to a document that sums up your personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experiences. The key words are ‘sums up.’ As I review résumé, I am baffled by the length and breadth of the documents. Your résumé is supposed to reel in the reader by summarizing who you are and what you’ve done. You want your résumé to be your ticket to an interview. The interview is the place for you to share specific stories and go into more detail.

20 years ago people created a résumé and had them professionally typed and printed. They couldn’t tailor their résumé each time they applied for a job or met with a recruiter. Their résumé was filled with gross generalities and highlighted their uniqueness. Today a résumé likely to get the best response is one that has been customized and mentions accomplishments and requirements directly listed in a posting. 5 years with a Not-for Profit. 3 years doing all the analytics as the only financial person in the company. 10 years overseeing all aspects of the company; supervised a staff of 6. Proficient in QuickBooks, Excel, or Word.

Many applicants leave facts out of their resume that are specific to the posting and put them in the cover letter. I’m not saying you should write a new resume each time you apply for a job or meet a recruiter. What I am saying is save the 4 page, 9 point document with 12 bullet points under each job as a Template. Re-name your résumé with the posting name/date and delete details that aren’t crucial to that posting. If there is a specific skill or accomplishment identified in the posting and not in your resume this is the time and place to add it.

I also recommend you create a template for your cover letter so you can easily fill in the specifics related to the posted position; job applying for, where the positon was posted, and salary requirements if requested. You should also summarize in one sentence why you believe you are a good fit for the job.

Both your résumé and cover letter should be in the same 12 point font. I recommend either Verdana or Arial. You are selling yourself; you want your message to be clear, concise and easily understood. When you submit a résumé and cover letter using this format, the recruiter or Human Resource manager will quickly and easily see why you have applied for the position and hopefully you will be invited in for an interview.


Police Officers Need Communication and Tactical Skills

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw

Comments such as ‘I didn’t like his/her attitude’ or ‘I didn’t like how he/she spoke to me’ are constantly received by communication officers or supervisors. Knowing how to be an Effective Communicator can be an officer’s key to survival; it can also mean the difference between keeping and losing their job. Understanding core Effective Communication skills can be the best way to insure a situation doesn’t turn ‘ugly.’ How police officers interact verbally, vocally, and non-verbally can and will impact job performance, constituent satisfaction, and their ability to build trust, rapport and relationships. 

Most officers realize the importance of keeping current and continuing to refresh their tactical skills. Yet, they are not always as aware of the importance of honing their communication skills.  Officers must understand being an Effective Communicator isn’t an innate; it is learned and takes practice. A successful officer is should always be perfecting both skills. 

Communication is more than just an exchange of information. It’s about learning a skill set that includes verbal, vocal and non-verbal communication, written communication, along with active and reflective listening. Only 7% of a message is the words you say; the other 93% can be the difference between effective and ineffective communication. Often times what isn’t said is more powerful and has a greater impact than what is said.  One reason is only a small part of life happens to you; most of life is directly linked to how you react it; how you communicate.

Avoid Email and Texting Misunderstandings

At one time or another most of us have had to backpedal in order to correct a mistake or misunderstanding resulting from a hastily written and sent email. At the ‘beginning of emailing,’ you may have been writing to someone on the same server. That meant you could click ‘un-send’ if you realized the email had errors or set the wrong tone. If you were lucky, the person hadn’t read the email so your problem was solved. Even though un-send isn’t an option today, we usually don’t realize there is a problem until the person responds to our email or text.

Following best practice can help avoid a large number of these problems. Yet, many people never re-read their emails or use spell check their document. They write as though the person was standing in front of them. Here are a few helpful tips when emailing and texting.

1. Always read and re-read every email/text before you send it

Responding in the moment isn’t best practice. Take time to craft what you want to say. After writing the email/text, read it, edit it, and possibly completely re-write it.

Following this practice is essential when writing to business professionals, clients, and professional colleagues. The best way to develop this habit is to do it whenever writing an email or text, even to friends or family. It only takes a few extra minutes; yet it can help you avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. You will avoid sending an unintended message.

Recently I wasn’t feeling well. I was stressed and distracted, but still tried to clear everything from my ‘to-do’ list. In my haste, I didn’t follow this rule and it led to an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation.

2. Spell and grammar check your all correspondence

You have only 3 seconds to make a great first impression. Do you want that first impression to be based on a spelling or grammar error in an email or text? Having a disclaimer at the bottom of an email doesn’t change the fact that you misspelled a word or used the wrong tense in your sentence.

Take pride in what you are writing; it says a lot about who you are. If you aren’t paying attention to what you are saying and how you are saying it, how does your client, customer or colleague know you will pay attention to details related to work?

3. Remember email and texting aren’t conversations

What you write must be both concise and clear. The person reading your email will probably have written and answered tens of emails between the first one you sent and the follow-up. They may not know or remember what you are referring to.

Avoid saying ‘thanks,’ ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘I agree’ and other such comments when responding to an email without clarifying your statement. Those words need to be attached to the reason you are making the comment. ‘Thanks for the introduction to John Smith.’ ‘Yes, I can make the 9:00 a.m. meeting at Starbucks.’ ‘No, Friday won’t work for me, but next Tuesday would be perfect.’

The reader won’t have to go back and find your last email or re-read all of the emails that are attached to the current one. The reader won’t feel confused and your intended message will be delivered.

4. Tell ‘why’ when commenting, making a request, or replying to a statement

I always told my students they needed to tell my why, which lead them to believe my favorite word was ‘because.’

By explaining and supporting a statement, the reader will understand your thinking. The tone of an email is in the mind of the reader. You want the reader to clearly understand what you are saying, which avoids confusion and averts an argument.

Avoid accusing the other person. ‘Why would you…?’ If discussing a sensitive or difficult matter, try to use softer words.  When writing about feelings, beliefs or values it is helpful to use I statements rather than You statements. Sometimes adding emoji can help set the tone and prevent any misunderstandings.

5. Call the person rather than lots of back and forth emails/texts

Email and texting have a time and place. We probably can’t live without them. Yet they aren’t really a conversation, which is defined as a back and forth of spoken words. When a message is read vs. heard, the speaker’s tone is in the mind of the reader. This may result in an unintended message being delivered. It is important that the message sent is the message received. By placing a phone call and having a conversation, the intended message is more likely to be delivered and in a more timely manner.

6. The goal is to effectively communicate!

Effective Communication will only occur when verbal and non-verbal messages are in sync. This means speakers/listeners have the opportunity to ask questions, clarify comments, and make statements. Words are less than 10% of any message. So when the message is only what is written, the majority of the message is not being delivered. This can easily lead to misinterpretation. If you are only emailing and texting, even if you think you are having a conversation, you aren’t. So in order to have an effective conversation and avoid a message is misunderstood or misinterpreted, pick up the phone or if possible arrange a face to face meeting. 


Creating School-Parent Partnerships


Peggy Bud presented at the Wyoming Department of Education’s June 2015 Leadership Symposium in Riverton, Wyoming. She spoke on “HOW TO CREATE SCHOOL-PARENT PARTNERSHIPS, which will lead to transparency.  This transparency builds trust. If families and educators are equal participants, they are more likely to work together, listen to each other’s perspective, and use evidence-based data to drive instruction and to develop programs. Through their partnerships, parents and educators will be able to maximize the students’ potential.