How to Be a Principal Parents Want to Talk To: A Checklist


Being a school principal is not an easy job. You need to be able to manage the school, lead teachers and staff, and interact with parents in a way that builds trust and fosters good communication. Parents can be your biggest supporters or most vocal critics, but a principal who can engage with parents effectively is more likely to create a strong school community that benefits all stakeholders. The following checklist will help you become the kind of principal parents want to talk to.

1. Be approachable:

– Smile, make eye contact, and engage in small talk when you meet parents in the hallway or at school events.

– Have an open-door policy where parents feel welcome to visit your office.

– Establish regular office hours when you are available for parent consultations.

2. Be an active listener:

– When meeting with parents, give them your full attention and avoid interruptions.

– Repeat or paraphrase what they say to ensure understanding on both sides.

– Ask open-ended questions and resist the urge to interrupt or interject immediately.

3. Show empathy and understanding:

– Understand the challenges parents face and validate their concerns.

– Share relatable personal experiences if appropriate.

– Show appreciation for their efforts in supporting their child’s education.

4. Keep communication channels open:

– Share regular updates about school policies, news, and events through newsletters, social media, or emails.

– Encourage teachers to share classroom updates and positive news about students with parents.

– Offer multiple options for contacting you: email, phone calls, or even text messages if appropriate.

5. Collaborate with parents:

– Equip parents with tools and resources they need to support their children at home.

– Include parents in decision-making processes when appropriate; value their input on important topics like curriculum or school programs.

– Create parent advisory committees and schedule regular meetings for feedback.

6. Demonstrate follow-through and accountability:

– When parents express concerns or suggestions, provide a clear response or action plan.

– Deliver on your promises – if you say you will call back with more information, make sure you do.

– Own mistakes when they happen, apologize, and share plans to address the issue.

7. Celebrate successes:

– Recognize and showcase achievements of students, teachers, and staff throughout the year.

– Acknowledge parent contributions to the school during events or through school communication channels.

– Create a positive school culture that celebrates growth and improvement.


By implementing these strategies, you will develop strong relationships with parents and create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. As a principal who is approachable, communicative, empathetic, and collaborative, parents will be more likely to support your vision for the school and contribute to its success.

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