All across Iowa, the halls of schools have echoed with the chorus “Welcome back!” as teachers smile and eagerly greet their new students. The first few weeks of schools are full of procedures and answering questions, some from students, some from teachers, and many from parents who want nothing more than to ease their child’s (maybe even their own) transition back to school and to support their child’s academic endeavors throughout the year.
Everyone extols the importance of the home-to-school connection. It’s a connection that we all know makes a huge difference in our students’ success, not only academically, but also emotionally. As schools look to support that connection and answer those questions and support our students’ learning in their home environments, school libraries are uniquely posed to help strengthen this connection beyond individual classrooms.
School libraries can offer the resources and supports parents seek. Not only are school librarians themselves often a wealth of information, but, because we are all about access to information, we are often the “keeper” of the resources. Between resources provided by the state’s AEAs and the various services schools and libraries subscribe to, librarians can be the link and support teachers and parents often need.
We all know that the impact of the school’s library reaches far beyond the walls of the library themselves. This year, parent outreach is one of my biggest goals. It is my mission to ensure that not only do my teachers and students know about the wonderful resources we subscribe to, offer, and utilize, but I specifically want to ensure that our parents know that their students have access to most of these tremendous resources from home!
Last year, I put together a Parent Resources Page via my school website and sent a letter home outlining various resources offered by the AEA and our school, but this year I want to be much more intentional about sharing information with my parents. At my school’s “Meet the Teacher” night, I began this endeavor as I greeted many in the hall outside my library, inviting them into explore and shared a bookmark with the link to Parent Resource page (pun totally intended).
However, I’d love to go beyond just sharing the information, I’d love to actively support my parents with ideas like hosting special library hours for parents (possibly during Parent/Teacher conferences or during a Literacy Night) and PTA presentations and special events that promote literacy in general (perhaps a Books & Bingo Night hosted in the library).
I know all across the state of Iowa (and the nation, for that matter) there are teacher librarians who are actively engaging and supporting parents in hopes of strengthening the home-to-school connection.
What do you do? How do you connect with parents and offer your support?
I hope you consider sharing your ideas and the incredible things you’ve done. We can learn so much from each other!