Establish strong relationships with students and families to cultivate a culture of learning and respect

More Detail

Connecting with students and families to cultivate a culture of learning includes the following:


Impart a collective vision that all students can succeed


Build positive, genuine individual relationships

  • Proactively, positively engage with students and families
  • Respect diversity across all lines of identity

Communicate student learning information regularly

  • Initiate positive, constructive, and helpful dialogue

Motivate everyone to do their best

  • Foster trust and joy: be trustworthy and joyful
  • Celebrate achievements!

See the one-page Instructional Excellence Summary covering all the key elements.

Study Guide

See this printable study guide with discussion questions and real examples from educators:

For Multi-Classroom LeadersKey Element of Instructional Excellence: Connect 

Instructional Excellence Support Tools

Use this action list and tool to guide and support your teachers:

Instructional Excellence Action List: Connect with Students & Families—print a copy of this detailed, checkable action list for each teacher you lead

Instructional Excellence Support Guide Overview and Support Tool—use this tool to record observations, provide feedback, and identify next steps

Videos—For Multi-Classroom Leaders & Other Instructional Teacher-Leaders

Watch these short videos of educators discussing the elements of Connect, organized by action:

Discussion Questions

Use these discussion questions to help guide your instructional team through the elements of Connect:

    1. Which actions in this element of instructional excellence are strengths for you or your team?
    2. Which actions in this element of instructional excellence are weaknesses for you or your team? Think about actions you never take, fail to take as often as needed, or do not take as well as needed to achieve strong learning growth consistently.
    3. What one to three specific changes will you or your team make to use your strengths more often or more consistently and improve weaknesses in the coming months?
    4. Make a brief action plan with specific goals, roles, and time by which you will make specific changes!
    5. Did your changes produce better learning results? If so, keep them. If not, think again about what other changes to make!

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