April 2018

President’s Letter: Our Vital Family Connections

By Lori LeBrun
As I reflect on this month's topic of “Working with Families,” I am reminded of the importance of the school–family connection. Of course, the school counselor’s most important focus is their students. However, to maintain a healthy, safe and resilient school community, school counselors need to include parents in the process. Studies have shown that students have greater academic achievement when their families are involved in their education. Although this is true, I also realize that the connection to families can be challenging at times. For some families, contacting the school counselor might be stressful. There may be cultural/language barriers, they may have a bad experience in the past with school or they may feel intimidated. It is up to the school counselor to introduce him/herself to families during their child’s transition to the school. Create a welcoming environment by explaining to families the role of the school counselor and how you can be a support to them. Let families know that you are a primary connection for parents and the school.
 
Making positive connections with families throughout the school year is important:
  • Attend school-sponsored events and interact with students and families is a great way to get to know families on a different level.
  • Reach out to families with a positive note or phone call.
  • When a family member calls, respond as quickly as possible to alleviate the parents’ concern.
  •  Make your email and phone number easy to attain.
  • Create business cards. This is very helpful when new students come into the building and when you have meetings with parents.
Having these positive types of interactions certainly helps in the event that, at some point, you need to call with more sensitive, difficult concerns. A strong family–school connection is one of the keys to student success.
 
Contact Lori J. LeBrun, RISCA president, at lebrunlori@coventryschools.net.