Developing Positive Partnerships

Lynn Ziraldo, former Executive Director with the Learning Disabilities Association of York Region, maintains that a positive school climate can help professionals, parents, guardians, and educators work constructively together to address concerns related to programs and services before they become a source of conflict (Ziraldo, 2016). Ziraldo identifies the following steps to promoting a positive school climate:

  • Educators encourage and maintain regular interaction between the school and families.
  • Everyone is treated with respect.
  • The school culture develops a sense of community and caring relationships.
  • Parents are involved in school activities.
  • Everyone feels safe and secure.

With respect to the school-family relationship itself, Ziraldo (2016) identifies the following characteristics of an effective parent-teacher team:

  • Take time to meet with each other and to listen carefully.
  • Treat each other as integral parts of the planning and decision-making team.
  • Allow each person to express opinions and give suggestions.
  • Approach disagreements in a manner that encourages mutual problem-solving.
  • Encourage a second opinion when there is unresolved disagreement or when there is no answer to a difficult situation.

According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC), the key to any successful partnership is to establish a relationship of mutual respect and appreciation. LDAC created a two-page fact sheet, “Effective Teacher-Parent Partnerships”, which outlines tips and suggestions for teachers and parents.


Click here to access a copy of the two-page fact sheet, “Effective Teacher-Parent Partnerships”.

For successful school-family meetings, Ziraldo (2016) offers the following suggestions:

  • Focus on the best interest of the student.
  • Concentrate on determining a positive course of action.
  • Encourage parents to come to the meeting with questions.
  • Share information about the students’ strengths, needs, programming goals and instructional strategies.
  • Share information with the student; by attending parent teacher meetings, students can present their ideas and perspectives and learn to advocate for their needs.
  • Set up a procedure for follow up.
  • Summarize the information, as this will be the basis for the next meeting.
  • Express appreciation for each other’s participation in the conference.