It’s that time of year again: the fresh smell of lined paper, cups full of perfectly sharpened pencils (and maybe a few cups of coffee too...) and crowds of rambunctious kids full of summer energy. Hopefully you’re rejuvenated from the summer and are ready to get back for another school year.
The beginning of the school year may seem a bit hectic and a little daunting — a new class (or multiple classes) full of new students — and new parents. But parents are nervous too, sending a back-to-school message can calm parents’ anxieties and help build their trust.
At ParentSquare, we get to see some great back-to-school messages sent by teachers and administrators. Here’s what we learned:
1. Show some excitement and appreciation!
Be welcoming in your message! This is your first interaction, so you want to get started on the right foot to build allies in parents. If you show appreciation and use a friendly tone, they may be more inclined to help in times of need.
Also, show some joy and passion for what you do! Parents want a teacher who is excited about learning and will (hopefully) inspire a similar zest for knowledge in their kids. Simply starting your post with something along the lines of “Welcome back to school! I’m honored to be your child’s 3rd grade teacher this year, and I can’t wait for all we’re going to learn!” is a step in the right direction.
2. Create a safe space
You might already do this with your students, but it’s important to do with your parents as well! This is especially relevant for parents of students who are new to your school — this is their first impression of your school — and you want it to be a positive one. If parents feel like their concerns are understood and their voices are valued, they’ll feel more inclined to engage and willing to listen.
How can you do this? Starting with your first interaction, you need to convey that you are there for the kids and their parents, and welcome their questions. This can be as simple as including something similar to this in your post: “I am dedicated to your kiddos and here to support them. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!”
If your parents are new to the school, it’s a good idea to acknowledge that they may have some qualms, and then work to mitigate those concerns. For example, you can add “I know starting at a new school is exciting, and yes — a bit nerve-wracking — for both you and your kid, but rest assured, I am dedicated to your kiddos…” at the beginning of your post.
3. Include a little bit about yourself
You will have a huge impact on their child that year, and they don’t even have a clue as to who you are! Let parents get to know you a little bit. For example, you can share your alma mater, how long you’ve been at the school or district, your teaching philosophy, your hobbies, and maybe what you are most excited about for the upcoming school year.
But be careful to keep this relatively short and succinct. You don’t want to tell your life story, but rather share a small and tasteful amount to give a little sense of who you are, without being too overwhelming with a lengthy post. If you are a ParentSquare user, you can fill out the bio area of your profile with more information about you — this way you can share more about yourself while keeping the welcome message shorter.
4. Bring it back to the kids
We’re all here for the kids, so talk about the kids! Depending on grade level, you can broadly discuss what they will learn and what to expect of growth — intellectually, social-emotionally, and perhaps physically — throughout the year. Maybe include a (brief!) synopsis of what you are going to do the first week.
If you are sending this message after the first day, talk about how wonderful it was to meet their kids or try to think of something positive to say, like the students have a fantastic attitude and you can tell it’s going to be a great year.
5. Embed some attachments
Add some color, some visuals, some pop to your post! You can include a picture of yourself, or maybe even a picture you took during summer vacation (just be sure to include context). If you’ve already had your first day, consider sending a picture of the kids!
This is also the perfect time to send your wishlist and request room parents and volunteers. You can easily do these with post add-ons in ParentSquare.
And of course, don’t forget to include any relevant information parents may need or like to know such as drop off/pick location and times, what to bring on the first day, textbook information, a reminder about Back to School night, etc.
Here are some of our favorite back to school posts from ParentSquare users to kickstart some inspiration!
The following examples may be redacted to save space and protect school information.