No Such Thing as Over-Communication

August 27, 2015

Weekly letter to the Bishop Chatard parent community:

As I mentioned last week, in these first few e-newsletters I will be detailing a portion of what I shared with parents at the State of the Mission meeting on August 9. My focus that evening was on three main areas: our role as a Catholic school, communication, and community.

This week: Communication

I start with two assertions:

  1. We cannot over-communicate.
  2. We need to work constantly to improve communication.

School to students: The school will communicate in multiple ways with students. In addition to regular classroom interaction, we offer a Student Management System called Canvas. Syllabi, assignments, grades, reminders, office hours, etc. can be found for each course on Canvas. Students are constantly directed to Canvas by the faculty.

Announcements on the PA in the morning have gotten mixed results over the years. We are now driving students to two sources to stay informed: Their school e-mail accounts and The BluePrint website. Teachers, administrators, and club moderators use e-mail to get information out about call out meetings, service opportunities, etc. Information is also pushed through The BluePrint, a student-produced website that features posting of daily announcements, athletic contest results, pictures from events, and more.

We are asking our students to check their school e-mail and The BluePrint at least once per day. If you ever hear your child say, “I never heard anything about it” – direct them to those two sources.

School to parents: We also have several ways to communicate with you, the parents. Our primary vehicle is the weekly e-newsletter, sent out via e-mail each Thursday afternoon. This has all of the up-to-date information you’ll need. If you are not receiving the newsletter and would like to do so, please contact Meredith Fredrickson, at mfredrickson@bishopchatard.org

Other information outlets:

The website contains general information on all of our programs and activities. You can also find the student handbook, details on service requirements, athletic schedules, etc.

  • E-mail blasts will alert parents to important new information or be used to send a reminder about a special event coming up
  • We use Constant Contact to convey any emergency information, primarily weather-related closures or school delays

We hope that you will do your best to stay current and well-informed by reading all of the information that comes your way.

Parents to school: We have an open door policy. We will always be open to your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Pick up the phone and call or send an e-mail, and we will direct you to the person best-suited to address your questions, thoughts, or concerns.

Students to teachers: The best communication is direct communication — student and teacher face-to-face. Sometimes students get frustrated with a class or a teacher. They don’t understand something, the teacher is difficult to follow because of pace or expectations, a student does not get the grade he or she expected on a quiz, etc. This is all normal in the day-to-day life of a school.

Unfortunately, students often keep these frustrations buried, or go home and vent their frustrations with their parents. Should your children share those types of frustrations with you, our hope is that you would direct them back to the teacher. I know it can be scary for a young person to address an adult about a problem, but there is no teacher in our building who would not listen to a student’s concerns.

What often happens is that students share their concerns with their parents, who in turn bring those concerns to administration. So now the two people with the problem (student and teacher) are not even in the room when the problem is being discussed. This is simply not efficient, and hinders resolution of the problem.

We do our best, and ask for your help, to encourage students to be self-advocates, to speak up for themselves and seek answers or resolution to conflict as needed. The continual development of student empowerment is part of the educational process.

Those are some of the “nuts and bolts” of how we communicate with one another. I will continue next week with more on communication, addressing it from a more philosophical viewpoint.

Thank you for trusting us with your children!

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