Communication

School and Home

A partnership between the school and the home is essential for communication to be effective.  Communication occurs at a variety of levels and in a variety of manners. 

  • The pastor is the spiritual leader and chief administrator of the parish.  He both supports and collaborates with the principal in matters pertaining to the overall administration of the school.
  • The principal is responsible for the day to day operation of the school providing educational leadership for the school community.
  • As primary educators of their children, parents and guardians are an invaluable resource to the principal and staff as they plan for the educational needs of the children.  Parents are asked to share their talents and expertise by serving as School Board members, officers of the Parent Teachers Association, assisting classroom teachers with specific instructional needs, and supporting the operation of the school in a host of different ways.

Methods for Communicating Information

Students and teachers spend their days investigating new ideas, practicing new skills, and enjoying each other’s friendships.  Parents feel an integral part of their child’s school life when they are kept in the communication loop.

  • The Thursday Newsletter provides a source of weekly information, listing of schedule changes, source of consolidated reminders of events, forum for communicating expectations and a means of asking for feedback.
  • The SMOS website (www.smos-school.org) is a quick and easy format for viewing the Thursday Newsletter, the school calendar, PTA events, School Board activities, Athletic events, sign-ups, and information, alumni information, perhaps most importantly, teachers’ pages through which they describe quarterly curriculum.
  • Fast Direct, a secure on-line communication tool, allows parents to read the Thursday Newsletter, view fliers announcing upcoming PTA sponsored events, and view the monthly lunch menu. 
  • Fast Direct allows parents of third through eighth graders to monitor their

      children’s academic progress.

  • Fast Direct is the means by which all progress and report cards are published.
  • The teachers’ bulletin board on Fast Direct is the system used by teachers at all grade levels to inform parents of long-term assignments, study guides, rubrics quizzes and tests.
  • The teacher’s bulletin board is the system used by teachers to remind parents of upcoming field trips, special events and activities in the classroom.
  • The Buzz Book is a social and all-purpose source of information about families providing class lists, family phone numbers, and family addresses. 
  • Phone numbers and addresses can be accessed through Fast Direct parent directory.
  • SMOS principal and staff maintain an open door policy welcoming all parents and guardians to discuss any concerns about a child’s growth in mind, body and spirit. 

Parent/Guardian to Teacher Communications

Parents/guardians are encouraged to maintain an open line of communication with their children’s teachers.

  • There are a variety of ways that a parent or guardian can communicate with the teachers: note via the student; phone call in which a message is left with the administrative assistant requesting a return phone call; e-mail through the SMOS-school.org website or an emessage through Fast Direct.
  • Teachers are always willing to meet in person after an appointment has been set up.  Spontaneous before or after school meetings are useful for casual conversations, but allow little time for a serious conversation.
    • Parents are asked to keep in mind that teachers have before and after school obligations that might prevent the spontaneous conversation.

Teacher to Parent/Guardian Communications

Teachers, too, will maintain an open line of communication with the parents/guardians of their students.

  • Teacher will respond within 24 hours of receiving a communication from parents.
  • Teachers will initiate communications with parents via the Assignment Notebook, written note, a phone call, email or Fast Direct emessage.

Maintaining School Privacy

St. Margaret of Scotland Parish School understands that students/parents have access to technology that enables them to record, either visually or audibly, a student of the school or a member of the school staff. 

Out of respect for the students in our school, students and parents are not to publicly post any videos, pictures or audio recordings of students at school events unless the student/parent(s) have the express written permission from the school to do so.  This includes, but is not limited to, online photo-sharing and posting videos to YouTube or similar applications.

Additionally, in order to ensure the privacy of members of the school staff, students and parents are not to record a member of the school staff without the express permission of the staff member.  As such, students and parents are prohibited from recording classroom lessons/discussions and are prohibited from photographing or videotaping teachers without the teachers’ permission.  Likewise, students and parents shall not publicly post any videos, pictures or audio recordings of staff members unless the student/parent(s) have the express written permission from the school staff member. This includes, but is not limited to, online photo-sharing and posting videos to YouTube or similar applications.

Methods for Decision-Making

Decision-making occurs at various levels and by various leaders within the parish and school community and always within the guidance of our parish and school mission and beliefs.  In order to address concerns properly it is important to understand this process.

  • The pastor is the final word on all matters concerning policies, personnel and finances of the parish and school.
  • The principal supports the pastor’s decisions and determines matters having to do with curriculum, personnel, behavior codes and day to day operations of the school.
  • School Board formulates and recommends policies to the pastor for approval.  The principal is responsible for developing administrative procedures for implementing policies.  The staff collaborates in that effort and in the implementation of policy within the classroom.
    • Clear and consistent communication and implementation of policy helps everyone to work as a community for the good of the student and the school.
    • School Board policies are published throughout the Family Handbook, recently revised policies are published in the Thursday Newsletter.
  • The School Board works closely with Parish Finance Committee and principal to advise the pastor in setting the tuition for each school year.
  • The instructional leader of the school is the principal who works with the staff to develop and maintain a curriculum appropriate for the learning, emotional, and spiritual needs of all students within the school. 
  • The principal and staff, with input from parents and students, design behavioral and academic expectations developmentally appropriate for each level of instruction and which enhance the learning community.
    • These expectations are communicated verbally to both students and parents at the beginning of each school year, and throughout the year.
    • The expectations are also listed in this handbook.

Resolving Disputes between Parents/Guardians and School Personnel

St. Margaret of Scotland Parish School promotes an atmosphere of collaboration in order to maintain an excellent learning community for our students and believes if a dispute or disagreement should arise between parent/guardian and member of the SMOS staff, the parent/guardian is encouraged to follow the guidelines in the St. Margaret of Scotland Family Handbook.  Disputes that are solved peacefully and equitably will best serve the needs of all.

                                                                                                (School Board Policy October 2007)

In the event that there is a concern over a student’s behavior or academic performance the normal channel of communication would be to address the concern with the teacher most closely involved in the situation.  If the concern is not settled, further discussion is needed and the principal might be invited to be involved. The parent or teacher will request a meeting at which the parent(s), teacher, principal and, possibly the student, are able to discuss the problem.  It is especially encouraged that older students be included in discussions that affect them directly.

If the concerns are not settled after speaking with the teacher and the principal, the parent is then encouraged to seek assistance from the pastor. 

  • It is through working together that the needs of the child will best be served, rarely is it necessary to include the pastor. 
  • Most often the principal is invited into the conversation in order to be kept abreast of anything that directly impacts students.