Home-school liaisons work to establish partnerships between parents and schools. They may visit parents or contact them in other ways and organize events, so parents can feel welcome in the school. In doing so, they form relationships with parents, so the process of furthering a child's education can become a collaboration between the student and his teachers and parents.
Sometimes a home-school liaison will specifically work with parents who have language barriers to overcome. Parents who do not speak English may not regularly receive or understand messages from their child's school, and they may feel intimidated about initiating contact with the school. In this case, the home-school liaison needs to be able to speak most of the home languages with parents in order to serve as the contact person at the school for these parents. If they have questions or concerns, they can contact the home-school liaison who can arrange conferences and also translation services if needed.
Sometimes students who are new in a school or district can become lost in the shuffle. A home-school liaison can seek to prevent this from happening by making early contact with new students and their parents. He might visit the parents or put together a welcome packet for the students and parents in order to give them all of the important information they might need from the school and help them find answers to common new student questions. This packet could include information like supply lists, school contact information and a calendar of upcoming events.
A home- school liaison sometimes serves as a mediator between parents and teachers. She can sit in on parent-teacher conferences or support other attempts at contact and communication between these two groups. If a misunderstanding occurs, she can help to mediate a discussion, and she also can try to pass messages between parents and teachers when conflicting schedules make direct communication difficult.
Sometimes the best way to make contact with parents is to visit their homes. Teachers do not always have time for this, since they have to maintain a full teaching schedule during the day. The home-school liaison can fill this role and visit the communities where students live. This will give her a clearer picture of a student's home life than she normally would have simply from talking to the student. It will also allow the parents to have the opportunity to put a face with a name of someone at school that they can call if they have questions or concerns. In these situations, it is important for the home-school liaison to make the friendly intentions of her visit clear and to get permission from the parents before the visit.
The home-school liaison should seek to gain parental involvement at school. In order to do this, she can create informational evening events where parents can come to school to discuss current topics or ask questions about their child's progress. She can also invite parents to participate in school events by serving as chaperones or sponsors. Sometimes parents want to be involved in their child's school, but they simply do not know how to do so; the home-school liaison can help with this situation.
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