Principals: How To Craft An Effective 

Back-To-School Letter For Parents

So, what should you say and how should you say it? 

Your back-to-school letter is a wonderful opportunity to make a great first impression, start off on the right foot and make sure that teachers, parents and the administration are all on the same page. It’s also a rare chance to get your vision and mission for your school down on paper and on the record. Here are a few quick tips:

 

  • Think big picture. This is not the time to write about the new lunch schedule or other small changes. It’s also not the appropriate time to bring up petty issues left over from last year. Instead, your letter should truly contain your biggest and best dreams for your school: what you want students to learn while they are there and what kind of people you want them to become.

 

  • Set short and long term goals. Clearly outline what you would like to accomplish. Include a good mix of specific yearlong goals and larger goals. You should also have a concrete plan for accomplishing those goals. Write to inspire and motivate.

 

  • Review the past year. While the focus of your letter should be looking ahead to the future, you can’t effectively talk about where you are going without talking about where you have been. Including a paragraph where you celebrate past successes and reflect on what could have gone differently adds context and also reminds parents of past challenges.

 

 

  • Get a little personal. Principals can be intimidating people, even to parents. Share a little about your summer or about your hopes for the next year. Tell a story about one of your memorable first days or school or an anecdote from your first year as a principal.

 

  • Send it multiple ways. It’s not just what you say in your welcome back letter, it’s how you say it. Realize that today’s parents may not necessarily receive and read a paper letter. In addition to sending out a hard copy of your note, consider emailing it and also posting it on a school or personal blog. The more ways you send it, the more people will re ad it – and the more likely everyone will know and understand the school’s goals for the coming year.

 

One final note: get several people to read and edit your letter before you publish it! A single typo or grammar mistake in a welcome back letter about the importance of education can be a terrible way to introduce yourself to a new set of parents. It’s a given that your letter should be clear and well written. Having a few trusted proofreaders and editors can guarantee that.

 

Written by Elliott Shostak

Project Appleseed, family engagement, parental involvement public schools

"A 10% increase in parental participation (a form of social capital) would increase academic achievement far more than a 10% increase in school spending."

Project Appleseed, family engagement, parental involvement public schools

This is not an argument against school budget increases, but an argument for paying attention to social capital (Putnam, Sanders 2001). Research repeatedly correlates family engagement with student achievement, yet this strategy is rarely activated as an integral part of school reform efforts (Weiss et al, 2010).  Our program can increase family engagement in your school community!

Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Toolbox is ourl program designed for educators and parent leaders to supersize and mobilize family engagement.

You get unlimited membershio reproduction rights to our web site content for distribution in newsletters, memos, booklets, pamphlets and more for one year!*

Learn family engagement with our In-person or Online training!. Utilize one of America's most accessible parent and family engagement leaders in your schools!

Download our slideshow: Strong Families, Strong Schools! Family engagement should be an essential strategy in building partnership with parents.

Pledge

AS A PARENT, GRANDPARENT, OR CARING ADULT, I hereby give my pledge of commitment to help our community’s children ....

Toolbox

Project Appleseed's Parental Involvement Toolbox is ourl program designed for educators and parent leaders to supersize and mobilize family engagement.

Report Card

Project Appleseed provides this self-diagnostic tool which is intended to help parents rate their contributions to their child's success at school.

Membership

You get unlimited membership reproduction rights to our web site content for distribution in newsletters, memos, booklets, pamphlets and more for one year!*

Checklist

How well does your school reach out to parents. The following questions can help you evaluate how well your school is reaching out to parents.

Training

Learn family engagement with our In-person or Online training!. Utilize one of America's most accessible parent and family engagement leaders in your schools!

Events

For 25 years we have lead American education with two celebrated events – National Parental Involvement Day and Public School Volunteer Week

Slideshow

Download our slideshow: Strong Families, Strong Schools! Family engagement should be an essential strategy in building partnership with parents.