Whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran one, each day is a myriad of tasks: grading assessments, lesson planning, and meetings upon meetings. They all seem equally important, and it can be difficult to prioritize. In my 10 years of teaching, I’ve learned that connecting with families is the key to a successful school year and the task that should be at the top of every teacher’s list. There are many ways to connect with students and their families. Try these strategies to get started.

1. Introduce yourself and welcome your students’ families. You can reach out through phone calls, postcards, or emails. Some of my colleagues even make home visits, which they say gives them insight into their students’ lives and helps build the trust of their families.

2. Get input from families. I always send home a survey during the first weeks of school, but it’s never too late to do so.

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