As you know, the school office has tried to move communication in a more electronic direction over the past two years. This has included creating a parent email database, organizing class email groups, and having e-newsletters. However, the most important form of communication will likely be between you and your child’s teacher. For that reason, we are now adding email, along with phone calls and face to face meetings, to the ways parents can contact teachers. On our new website, staff emails are all listed on the faculty page. Each teacher’s email is the initial of their first name, followed by their last name, ending with the St. Edmund’s domain (firstname.lastname@example.org). While many parents and teachers have been corresponding by email for the last year or so, there has not been a specific policy in place regarding teacher / parent email communications. Here are some guidelines that should help make communication proactive and positive:
1) Email may be a fast way to send messages, but is not necessarily the best way to get a fast reply. Some teachers read their emails before school, some read them after 3 pm, and some read them during a ‘preparation time’ block during the school day. Depending on teaching load, and extra-curricular commitment, a teacher may not have an opportunity to check email at all that day. An email sent by a parent in the evening may not receive a reply until one or two school days have passed.
2) Similarly, teachers are not required (or encouraged) to access their email on weekends or holidays. Messages sent during this time will be read when school resumes.
3) Please send only non-vital messages through email. For example, please do not email a teacher saying your son or daughter will be late. A parent should continue to phone the office directly regarding these types of messages. Additionally, if you have a question about a field trip or class event the morning of the event, it would be better to contact the office directly.
4) It is important to remember that email is not necessarily confidential. Confidential information should be conveyed by phone or personal contact.
5) Often, an email that is longer than 2-3 paragraphs is better discussed by an in-person meeting. In such circumstances, if you feel it is important to send an email, send the message briefly outlining the issue, and list some times you are available for a face to face meeting. Your child’s teacher will get back to you.
6) Information that is easily misunderstood or misconstrued is also not well-suited to email. Something that is read on a screen contains none of the non-verbal cues that accompany a face to face meeting. Additionally, an email that takes one hour to write can often be settled by a 15 minute conversation. Our intention is to continue to develop parent / teacher communication as new tools become available to us. Relationships have always been a strength of our community, and we take pride in working closely with parents for the benefit of their children.