Back to School Night is an exciting time to engage with families and start building relationships that will benefit students throughout the year and beyond. Back to School Night typically comes after a full day of teaching, sometimes with a staff meeting sandwiched between the two.
Here are 5 tips that helped me with 5 successful Back to School Nights when I was teaching:
1. Set yourself up for success - Put out sign in sheets
In addition to having a main sign in sheet available when parents enter the room, placing one at every table proactively mitigates missing names and contact information for anyone in attendance. Sending an appreciation note, text, or e-mail the next day to those on the list is always a great starting point for parent communication.
2. Everyone likes to know what to expect - Give your guests an agenda
Having hard copies of the agenda on tables allows parents to relax, take their eyes of the clock, and engage with your presentation. No one really likes surprises, especially when little ones are in tow, dinner is waiting at home, or preparation for a busy tomorrow is looming.
3. Get organized - Recruit students to help set up your classroom
Intentionally organize your classroom for the evening and have materials ready (recruit student help!). Important, often overlooked details to keep in mind:
- Chairs available for extra seating
- Space for activities that require movement (icebreakers, classroom tours, time to mingle)
- A designated area for parent belongings
- Handouts and resources printed and easily accessible
- Writing utensils for filling out forms, notes, etc
4. First impressions are important - Save time with a Presentation Template
Plan and set up your presentation in advance. A successful presentation is:
- Timed. Make sure you run through it beforehand and it isn't too short or too long!
- Collaborative: allows for parents to ask questions, actively engage, and supports a strong, parent-teacher team.
- Student-friendly. Have students participate by handing out materials, assisting parents in demos, and available as guest speakers to talk about their classroom.
- Compatible with the technology you will use to present
- Tested in advance- there is nothing worse than a presentation that won't load or sound that won't work with a room of silent parents looking at you!
*Note: We've gone ahead and designed a presentation for you to use on your Back to School Night. We hope this eliminates the time you would spend planning, and we hope you'll share it with other teachers! All you need to do is click the image below to download the Kodable Back to School Night Resource Kit. Enter your school/classroom information and fill in your agenda.
5. Have fun!
Back to School Night is an exciting opportunity to start building relationships with families. Let parents mingle, get to know each other, and get to know you! Include parents in your focus for the year and communicate clearly that this is a team you're excited to be a part of it.