A parent night is a great opportunity to connect with your students’ parents, familiarize

them with your teaching style and classroom, and let them know what you expect from

their children in the coming year. More than that, it is the perfect opportunity to get

parents involved with the school and volunteering. However, parent nights, family nights,

and open houses leave little time for one-on- one conversations or extended meetings.

Here are a few tips on how to host a successful parent night at your school:

 Pick a theme. Parent nights are a perfect opportunity to share an important idea,

goal, or aspect of your community with your students’ families. Examples of

themes may be Reading With Your Family, Music In Our Schools, International

Food, or Technology in the Classroom. These themes can help parents understand

what your school considers important and allows them to continue the themes in

their own homes over the course of the year.

 Have a parent involvement pledge or sign-up sheet. Parents often want to

volunteer but don’t go out of their way to call a teacher or inquire into

opportunities. Having them pledge a few hours of their time or sign up to help

with a specific task or event while at a parent night is an ideal way to recruit help.

 Display student art. Make your school warm and welcoming by displaying

recent student art along hallways or by creating a mural in the school’s lobby,

lunch room, gym, or auditorium.

 Offer guided tours. Parents will be more likely to go to their children’s schools,

visit with teachers, and become more involved if they know their way around the

school’s halls. As an alternative to a tour, send parents and children on scavenger

hunts in which they visit all of the important places throughout the school.

 Share teacher expectations. All too often, parents do not understand how a

child’s school day is structured or what skill level their children should achieve by

the end of the academic year. A parent night is a prime opportunity to give an

overview of your classroom environment and curriculum. Have sample textbooks,

a sample schedule, or even a slide show or Power Point presentation of daily


 Avoid individual conversations about students. This is not a parent-teacher

conference, but rather a general welcome for everyone. If a parent would like to

discuss their child with you in depth, set up a separate appointment for them in the

coming weeks. Make sure every parent has your contact information.

 Make sure parents know when the open house is! Perhaps the most important

aspect of a successful open house is getting the parents in the door. Don’t shy

away from several different modes of communication, including the school

newsletter, emails, a website bulletin, or even personal phone calls from teachers.