Guest Post by Joe Mazza
|Knapp Main Office Tiki Bar – Image credit: @gpescatore25|
The following excerpt is from The Community of School (2001) published by the Academic Development Institute.
Another area in which the school could be different, according to some parents, was to be more welcoming and more “family friendly.” Parents, too, wanted to be respected and treated as a valued person when they made contact with the school. They did not want to feel as if they were a nuisance and a bother but rather as someone who had something important to say. One parent told of a school secretary who became blatantly annoyed at her when she called to let them know that her daughter would be absent from school. Parents wanted to be able to come to the school any time, not just open house and parent-teacher conferences, they wanted to feel welcomed in the building. “As parents we need to be able to just walk in, you know and a teacher cannot tell us you can’t come. You know it’s an open thing. It’s up to you as a parent.” Another parent in the same group followed up by saying, “I want to be able to come in, not interrupt the class but you know to make sure that he’s doing ok, everything’s ok and I can really see how he’s doing. For him I just want the doors to still be open, you know, no matter what grade he’s in.”
Oftentimes, a family’s first impression of the school is the school secretary. The smile, greeting, resourcefulness, eye contact, tone, respect and focus on meeting the needs of the family member is immediately evident to most. During this week’s Parent-Teacher Chat, we’ll discuss the school secretary position, and share ideas on how to insure every first impression is a positive and lasting one in our schools.
The idea for this chat topic came from my own secretary at Knapp Elementary, Mrs. Maria Shaw. Since reading Beyond the Bakesale during a recent parent-teacher book chat, she’s been invested in doing everything she can engage families from her lens. She’s always gone the extra mile for all of us at Knapp, but now she has the research and practical examples on how to take our school office family engagement “game” to the next level.
Join us this Wednesday, March 13th at 9PM EDT / 6PM PST. New Twitterer Mrs. Shaw will be on the chat as @mnmshaw, but if you have a non-tweeting secretary, please direct he/she to #PTchat’s Tweetchat link at http://tweetchat.com/room/ptchat at the time of the chat to follow along. Of course, all archives of these chats can be found here.