After my first year teaching I went to a conference where Harry Wong was speaking. During his presentation he stressed having clear policies and procedures in place for both students and parents. He also discussed the importance of documentation. After the presentation I decided I wanted to have a class handbook for parents.
I already had an introductory letter that I had adapted from a co-worker the year before. I used this letter as the basis for my handbook, and added more detailed explanations of my class policies and procedures. I edit the handbook before the start of each school year.
Policies and Procedures for Parents
I include an acknowledgement sheet for parents to sign.
Handbook Sign Sheet
I put my handbook into a 3 pronged pocket folder. This allows me to put a copy of my class welcome letter and a student information card in the front and the acknowledgement form in the back. I put the handbook pages into page protectors. I think this looks nice and keeps them from tearing up. I also include a list of snacks and recipes that was provided to us by our school district.
I put a label on the front of the folder.
I send the handbooks home on the first day of school, and ask that parents return the acknowledgment sheet and student information card by the end of the week. I always make extra handbooks to have for new students who come in later in the year. It is nice to be able to provide them information about our class immediately, and I think it helps to make them feel more comfortable.