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Talking with Teachers . . . Writing a Letter

Sample Letter to a Principal/Sample Response

These ideas about how to approach a written communication about your concerns focus on being clear, establishing common ground, and building a platform for effective follow-up.

  • Identify yourself and your child(ren).
  • Provide some context for the basis of your concern: what you want to address (before identifying your concerns about whatever it is), how you learned about it, who else, if anyone, you have spoken with about it.
  • Outline your concerns clearly. Avoid blaming. Explain why you are disappointed or angry or frustrated or confused. Make clear what you think is at stake – what consequences, misinformation, assumptions, etc. may flow, directly or indirectly, from this incident/program/practice.
  • Let the recipient know that you hope s/he shares your concerns.
  • If the school has a diversity statement, plan, or policy of some kind, reference that your interest in this matter is consistent with the school’s express commitment to being inclusive, respectful, etc. (use the school’s  language if it makes sense in the context of your concern).
  • If you are aware of any, make gentle reference to successful programs or approaches and/or community resources that may be useful to the school.
  • State in concrete terms what you hope the recipient might do to address your concerns effectively.
  • If you have willingness, time and/or expertise, offer to help make next steps possible.

Last Updated: 10/22/08