INDICATOR III-B-1: Learning Expectations


Prepared by Karen Schwartz for WGEE and the DESE

INDICATOR III-B-1: Learning Expectations:   Consistently provides parents with clear, user-friendly expectations for student learning and behavior.

Vignette #1  –  Reflecting upon and remedying mistakes made in her first year of teaching help a 6th year high school science teacher start the year off on a better foot with parents and students. Experience has taught Ms. Hardy that the initial communication with parents can be pivotal in setting a positive tone for this crucial partnership

Vignette #2  –  In an attempt to improve communication with parents in their elementary school, a group of teachers gathers as a “taskforce” with the mission to address this school-wide issue. They find that in order to truly meet the communication needs of their community, they must start by asking parents what they want to know and how they want to learn it.

Vignette #3  –  A sixth grade teacher and mother of two elementary grade students shares how parenting school aged children has helped her appreciate the value of “hands-on” experiences and manageable homework assignments as user-friendly ways to genuinely understand and support the learning and behavioral expectations of her children in school. 

Vignette #4  –  Inspired by newer colleagues, a veteran teacher gets support to create a class blog and website. With the initial hope of improving ongoing communication with parents and students, Bill shares that the website creates valuable and unexpected opportunities for learning.

Vignette #5  –  Eager to tap into new communication technology yet overwhelmed by the possibilities and their implications for use, a group of teachers gathers to explore, share, and evaluate what might work best for their school population in their quest to make learning expectations more visible to parents.

Vignette #6  –  Grappling with how to make the parent-teacher conference a meaningful and useful means of sharing expectations for learning and behavior with parents, a middle school teacher considers strategies for making the most of this often-underutilized moment of connection.

Vignette #7  –  When a second grade teacher starts communicating more regularly with parents about expectations around the behavior and social culture of her classroom, she finds that this team approach yields better results for improving student behavior and outlook in the classroom.

Vignette #8  –  A teacher discovers that by creating welcoming opportunities for parents to come into school to see and engage in the process of their children’s work, he can effectively share his classroom expectations for learning and behavior and make strong connections between home and school.

Vignette #9  –  In her efforts to better connect parents with the work and culture in her classroom, a second grade teacher creates year-long and wide ranging opportunities for parent participation. 

Vignette #10  –  Over time, a high school math teacher learns the importance of proactively communicating with parents about what they can expect from him, what is expected of their children and how they can help support the persistence needed to develop math skills at home and at school. 

  • “The Teacher’s Role in Home/School Communication: Everybody Wins” shares a helpful list of ways that teachers can and should effectively communicate with parents. While the article focuses on parents of special education kids, the points for consideration could be helpful for successfully developing all parent/teacher relationships. The three stages of relationships with parents are particularly interesting.


  • Expectations: Do You Have Them, Do Students Get Them?  –  From the National Association of Secondary School Principals, this compelling article on expectations gets to the heart of finding clarity around academic and behavioral expectations for teachers and their classrooms. In addition to offering questions for teacher self-reflection on academic and behavioral expectations (of themselves and their students), the article highlights why it is so important to not only be clear about expectations, but also make sure that the procedures/protocols/rules/expectations we put in place have purpose and are understood.


  • Standards and Expectations  –  This article focuses on what we know about how standards and expectations impact school success. In addition to the research, the article shares clearly outlined points of behavioral and academic expectations for home, school, and community.


  • This site, which focuses on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, offers a range of tools to help support family engagement in schools. From the “Family Engagement Checklist” to an example letter to parents that explains “schoolwide expectations and school rules for safe environment,” the site could be helpful for teachers, families, and supporting community members.


  • The ABCs of Parent Involvement  –  This 15-minute video from the ABC school district in Southern California shows how this district has created a successful environment of parent/school/community connections. Through such opportunities as a “Parent Leadership Academy” and ongoing parent workshops, the district is finding effective ways to help empower parents to be partners with the schools, and knowledgeable supporters of their children’s school journeys.





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