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    Be Proactive
    By Rhoda

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    Let me encourage you to be proactive with your parent contacts / communciation. Send home with all of your students some kind of periodic status report that includes grades and/ or behavior report, classrooom newsletter, missing assignment form, etc. Do more than the usual mid-term and end-of-term reporting. Then choose a mentor from that group of seasoned teachers. You may find that those with good parent - teacher relationships have been systematically developing those relationships and will share his/her strategies with you. Finally, use the first parent - teacher conference to focus listening to parent concerns. You will find that even if you do not discuss school - related issues, the majority of those attending will show themselves quite supportive throughout the year. Be sure to take notes and address what issues you can in a timely manner. Believe me, the extra effort this takes pays off when problems arise. Keep running records of all parent notifications and conversations, notes to and from home, etc. This year I had one of those problem parents who was indignant, among other things, when her child did not get a perfect attendance award. I only had to send to her a copy of the note she wrote asking for her child's absence to be excused to stop the problem cold. Find the system that works for you in your situation.

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