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School Communications Masterclass Professional Learning Series

Meet as a cohort for (8) 1-hour sessions. Sign up as a team of five or as an individual.

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Communicating for Connection

This 4-part professional development covers all the basics your team needs to reach out and engage families. Patricia can deliver the workshops in a day-long training, 2 half-day sessions, or in 4 parts over the course of a school year. This training is designed to give your staff practical tips, tools, and techniques they can use immediately to improve their school home communication.

Challenging Communications and Conversations

Challenging conversations give us a chance to not only preserve our precious relationship with a family, but build one that is even stronger. This one and a half hour session is designed to help your staff become more comfortable with challenging communications. The session can be delivered in person or virtually. And, Patricia can customize it with examples from your district or school to help give your staff exactly what they need to handle their most common challenging conversations with families.

Education Support Professionals Professional Development Workshops

This one and a half hour session is designed for educational support professionals (ESPs). With training and support, your ESPs…your school secretaries, custodians, classroom aids, food service workers and nurses…can form the backbone of your family engagement and communication. The session can be delivered in person or virtually. Patricia can customize the training for each of your employee groups and work with those groups one at a time, or she can deliver the session one time to your entire ESP team.

Communicating for Connection

The key to effective family engagement is relationship building. And, relationships start with effective communication.

This year, we have all learned just how important it is to bring families into the learning process.

It’s not just nice, it’s necessary.

But before we can begin to partner with families, we need to communicate with them in ways they understand and in ways that are respectful of their expertise.

My full- and multi-day staff workshops and trainings are designed to inspire your team and empower them with the thinking, knowledge, and practical skills to build positive and productive relationships with everyone in your school community.

All of my courses are custom-built around your district and its team and can be delivered virtually or in-person.

Check out the sample workshop below — and contact me when you’re ready to take the next step to clear, effective home-school communication.

Module 1

Recognizing Mumbo Jumbo

In this module, participants are introduced to the intersection of family engagement and communication and the cultural and systemic barriers to home/school communication. Through interactive activities, participants use their new knowledge to work through examples that lift up and effectively demonstrate key school communication concepts. Participants will emerge from the session with a greater ability to recognize school communications that don’t work and a stronger practical foundation to create communications that do.

Learning goals:

  • Acquire a basic understanding of family engagement and communication. 
  • Recognize the critical importance of family engagement and risks to ineffective communication. 
  • Practice recognizing and identifying complicated words and acronyms that prevent effective family communications.
  • Understand the difference in communication styles and their effect on parent understanding.
  • Learn to analyze and critique school communications through the lens of the parents and caregivers.

Module 2

The Words We Use

Often the language we use to explain school practices and goals to families is complicated and full of educational jargon and acronyms. This session gives participants the skills and practice they need to actively “translate” those words and acronyms into effective family communication. In addition to learning what words not to use, participants will learn what words to use as they forge partnerships with families.

Learning goals:

  • Easily recognize and identify complicated words and acronyms that prevent effective family and school communication.
  • Compare and contrast the use of complex “education” words and phrases.
  • Analyze complicated words and translate them into simpler, more understandable language for use in communicating with parents.  
  • Identify and practice the “Best Friend” concept of clear writing and/or communicating with one person in mind. 
  • Understand the emotional impact of words and how word choice factors into effective school communication.

Module 3

Information Overload

The amount of information that schools send home, how it is sent home, and what is sent home can often cause parents to tune us out and disengage. That’s why it’s important to give parents and caregivers the information they want and need to know in a way that cuts through the busyness and noise of their daily lives. In this session, participants will learn how to pare down existing or confusing information into digestible, useful communication pieces used to help build trust and family engagement.

Learning goals:

  • Draw connections between attention span and information.
  • Examine the concept of tiered communication differentiation.
  • Understand the importance of family choice and preferences in school communication. 
  • Identify the presence of school/home “communication highways” for delivering information.
  • Draw on the knowledge of parents with an eye toward streamlining information.
  • Understand the importance of repetition in school communication. 
  • Think like the “receiver” of the information prior to communication.

Module 4

It’s How You Say It

Words matter. But how we string words together or how we say words often matters more. Non-verbal communication makes up 65 percent to 85 percent of all communication. In this session, participants will emerge with simple tips and techniques they can use to evaluate their tone and body language when communicating or engaging with parents.

Learning goals:

  • Recognize the power of tone and body language in communication.
  • Compare and contrast written and spoken words for tone. 
  • Understand how personal emotions factor into school communications. 
  • Understand how the emotions of parents and caregivers factor into communications. 
  • List simple ways to check for and demonstrate effective two-way school communication.

Challenging Communications and Conversations

We often call them “difficult” conversations and communications, but they are only difficult if you frame them that way.

When we have to contact families with information that may be hard for them to hear, we have an opportunity to not only preserve our precious relationship with them, but build one that is even stronger.

If the idea of having one of these conversations leaves you in a cold sweat, you can learn how to master these communications. In this session, we’ll focus on how to welcome families and set the stage for these conversations, and we’ll explore how good communication practices can make them easier for both you and for families.

Learning goals:

  • Define the aspects of communication (words, information, tone, and body language) and how they work together.
  • Recognize why challenging conversations make people so uncomfortable.
  • Understand the roles personal experiences and personalities play in challenging conversations and examine how to use those to prevent heated exchanges.
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare for challenging conversations with talking points and responses.
  • Understand the importance of questioning and listening when it comes to challenging conversations.
  • Describe and create tools and approaches for diffusing anger when it surfaces during communications with families.
  • Practice preventing emotional responses through analysis of communication scenarios.

Education Support Professionals Professional Development Workshops

Your school secretaries, bus drivers, nurses, custodians and classroom aides play a unique and crucial role in home school communications.

Education support professionals know the families in your school. They know their struggles, their successes, and their worries. ESPs can help you better understand what’s going on in the lives of your families.

ESPs also know how your school works. They know your acronyms, your big words, and your processes. They can answer questions and welcome families into the learning in an approachable, non-judgement way.

To put it simply, ESPs can serve as powerful communication highways.

Provided they have the right training.

My new professional development is designed to give your ESPs the tips, tools, and techniques they need to become super communicators.

Tranings can be customized for each different group of employees, or, they can be delivered to your entire ESP team, in person or virtually.

To learn, more about how to bring this training to your ESPs, drop me a line, here.

Professional Development Description

This session is designed to help ESP’s understand the powerful role they have when it comes to family engagement and give them the knowledge they need to improve every interaction with families.

Participants will learn why communication with families matters and identify why it often fails. Through a combination of information sharing, discussion, and activities, participants will learn to translate complicated educational jargon into words parents can understand. They will work on paring down information provided to parents, and work on striking the right “partnership” tone with communications. The training will also include a discussion of body language and the power it holds with communication and provide your ESPs with practical tips for handling difficult situations and challenging conversations.

Learning goals:

  • Create understanding of the critical and important role ESPs play in family engagement.  
  • Create understanding of why it’s important to engage families and communicate effectively.
  • Recognize and identify both effective and ineffective communication by analyzing examples.
  • Understand communication tips and techniques around words, information, tone, and body language. 
  • Apply what they learn to compose and design communications that are parent friendly by drawing on the knowledge of families. 
  • Explain and advocate for the value and importance of crafting communications with parents and caregivers. 

Take the first step toward stronger parent relationships today.

Give your team the skills — and the confidence they need to succeed.