In Oak Ridge Schools, we recognize that communication plays a key role in creating and fostering strong, positive relationships between our schools and families. Communication is a two-way street, and as such, we intend to create a reciprocal, respectful environment. The purpose of this page is to offer a standard format for ongoing shared communications. Because communication can take place in a variety of forums, the message and purpose of the communication will often determine appropriate actions.
Recommendations for Successful Communications
When detailed and sensitive issues arise, it is important to have a direct, face-to-face communication, telephone conversations, or hard copy, written communications. When the communication requires ongoing dialogue, such as bringing forward a question or concern or when a discussion is required on a topic, the preferred channels of communication are ones that allow for an immediate and ongoing interaction between the people immediately involved in the situation. This type of communication allows us to establish a personal connection, building desirable relationships.
Please follow the recommended protocols listed below and allow for first contact to resolve the issue when possible. Tone is difficult to read in an email, and sometimes even on the phone. When engaging in two-way home to school communications, carefully separate fact from opinion and confirm information received through others before considering it factual. Recognize that flexibility and collaboration are essential to effective problem resolution.
Family Communications to the Schools and District
When family members have concerns about school issues, they should be addressed in a timely manner, working directly with the staff person(s) involved, using the following steps:
- Begin with the classroom teacher. If the issue is not resolved,
- Continue the communication with the school assistant principal, and then school principal.
Most concerns can be addressed at the school level when school staff and administrators engage in open and collaborative discussion with family members. If the issue is still not resolved at the school level,
- Discuss the situation with an appropriate central office administrator.
Any level of the above discussions may be initiated by telephone or email, but may evolve into a face-to-face meeting, which allows for the best and most collaborative discussion to take place.
It is important to be respectful in all forms of communication, regardless of selected channel used or the people involved. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect, whether it’s in a face-to-face meeting, in a telephone conversation, or through email.
Whether the response is needed from the home to the school, school to the home, or among schools and/or departments, a timely response is merited. Oak Ridge Schools Administrative Procedure 5.611 states the following: At a minimum staff is expected to respond to emails or phone messages within 48 hours or two business days.
Guide for Whom to Contact
The Oak Ridge School district administration, faculty, and staff are eager to accommodate your needs, questions, and concerns in the most efficient manner. Please use the following guide to help you determine appropriate contacts:
- Student issues
- Scheduling a conference
- Questions about student grades or behavior
- Questions about specific activities related to the classroom
- Curriculum specific to the classroom
School Front Office Personnel
- School-wide events
School Assistant Principal
- School programs, policies, and procedures
- Unresolved issues after teacher contact
- Security or safety related to school or student
- Feedback and/or suggestions about school-wide issues
- Unresolved issues after assistant principal contact
School Administration Building (SAB)
- Unresolved school-level issues
- District-wide programs, policies, and procedures
Thank you for your desire to communicate with us. Directories for contacts at each of our schools and central office can be found on our various school web pages at: www.ortn.edu
School and District Communications to the Family
As a district, we use Skyward Messenger to announce upcoming events, community engagement opportunities, emergency preparedness (including instructions for inclement weather), and crisis response messages. Families with updated phone numbers and e-mail addresses in Skyward will receive these important messages in a timely fashion.
Our district web page can be found online at www.ortn.edu. Important information for parents, as well as good news posts and calendars detailing upcoming events for each school in the district can be found at this address.
Canvas is our Learning Management System, and is the tool by which teachers communicate upcoming assignments, due dates, and ongoing progress toward student grades. Skyward is our official student management system, and final grades recorded in Skyward are the ones that will be reflected on official documents, such as report cards and transcripts.
S’more newsletters are published by our secondary schools, and links to updated newsletters are sent to families on a regular basis for Jefferson and Robertsville Middle Schools and Oak Ridge High School.
Our staff members utilize e-mail and phone calls for communication to families regarding school and classroom information or specific information sent to you regarding your child.
Our goal is to make communication of important school information as easy for parents to use as possible.
Social media is quickly becoming a common communication tool used by our district. We appreciate the speed at which we can share information and make it accessible to a wide audience, making it just one of several valuable tools in our communications toolbox. We recognize it has limitations, especially due to character allowance and specialized audiences, so we try to target these communications accordingly. In general, we use Oak Ridge Schools’ official social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our WordPress web posts) as a one-way form of district announcements of special events and celebrations, and important announcements for inclement weather. We prefer two-way communications occur as face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and e-mail exchanges.