Nurture parent partnerships, and finish the school year strong.

parent having meeting with teacher

The countdown is on. You're pushing through the last classroom activities before summer break. Students are finishing up end-of-year projects. Everyone is planning events, celebrations, and vacations. And parents have a million questions for you! It's a lot to juggle but nothing you can't handle.

To help, we've outlined some of the questions parents and caregivers are probably asking, along with some great resources you can use or share to support them as we close out the school year.

When is open house? Are families invited to the kindergarten carnival? (Etc.)

Families are bombarded with communications from school at this time of the year, with lots of dates and info to keep track of. Teachers can help cut through the noise by curating the most relevant and important reminders into a short message to students' families. Yes, it's one more email (or message board announcement or text), but parents will appreciate a go-to place for all the details.
Best tools to try: Apps and Websites for Improving Parent-Teacher Communication  

What did my kid learn this year?

It seems like spring parent-teacher conferences were just yesterday (weren't they, really?), but continuing to keep families in the loop as you wrap up the year is a must. Even before report cards go out, it's good to let parents know whether kids met their learning goals and are ready for next year. And whether or not your school has an open house at the end of the year, giving students a chance to showcase projects and assignments is a great way to let families see what their kids have been learning.
Best tools to try: Student Portfolio Apps and Websites

How can I support learning over the summer?

Lots of parents worry about the "summer slide," when students may forget some of what they learned during the school year. Others want to make sure kids continue building new skills throughout the summer break. Send out a list of recommended media for learning as a farewell gift to your students' families. Or print one out and have copies available at your school's open house.
Best lists to share: 15 Online "Camps" Fill Kids' Summer with Learning Adventures and Tech Tools for Learning at Home.

How can I manage my kid's screen time this summer?

This is a big one. Managing kids' screen time is one of the biggest challenges families face when summer arrives. Besides offering up some great app and website recommendations (see question above), you can also point them to concrete advice on setting screen-time rules. Helping kids make good media choices isn't just about the number of hours in front of a screen -- it's also about what media they choose to consume or create with their time.  
Best resource to share: Family Tech Planners.

How can I support my kid with the big transition next year?

Whether kids are changing classrooms or schools or are heading out into the adult world, parents and caregivers want to support the transitions however they can. Sometimes that means backing off and letting kids spread their wings. Other times kids need help coming up with new strategies to manage their emotions. Share quality social-emotional learning resources to spark family discussions and prepare students for the next step.
Best list to share: 100+ Ways to Help Kids Learn Grit, Determination, and Resilience

Erin Wilkey O.

Erin’s work has focused on supporting students, teachers, and families for over a decade. As content director for family and community engagement at Common Sense, she provides parents and caregivers with practical tips and strategies for managing media and tech at home, and supports teachers in strengthening partnerships with families. Prior to her work with Common Sense, Erin taught public high school students and adult English learners in Kansas City. Her time as a National Writing Project teacher consultant nurtured her passion for student digital creation and media literacy. She has bachelor's degrees in English and secondary education and a master's degree in instructional design and technology. Erin loves to knit, read, hike, and bake. But who has time for hobbies with two young kids? In her free time these days, you'll find her hanging out at playgrounds, the zoo, and the beach with her family.