One of the most important elements of my teaching philosophy is to maintain ease of communications with both the students in my class and their parents at home.
Toward this goal of enhancing communication, my students are all set up with a communications network where they each are assigned two buddies of their own choosing and a third student who they may not be as close with to work together as a team for success. Each team is responsible for working together to notify each other of upcoming work, homework assignments, quizzes and tests as well as what we have done in class when students are absent. This system provides a student group to make sure no one is left behind. In addition, each student team is paired with a second team to make sure that no group is without direction or understanding for future assignments. Each group is able to contact me via my website, email or Emodo when/if they are confused about something that they have been tasked with.
Parents are kept in the loop on a regular basis. In the beginning of the year, I spend a few hours programming ALL parent home and cell phone number into a database that connects with Google Voice. Through this system, I am able to update "messages" on Google Voice that is connected by the parent phone numbers directly to their child. So, essentially, if Mrs. Lee calls my Google Voice number she will receive a message about her child based on the number she is calling from. If Mrs. Brown calls, she will receive a recorded message about her child.
Each parent can leave a voicemail based on the missing work and/or comments that I have about their student's progress.