You’ve got mail! La Jolla educators say e-mail is best way to reach teachers

By Ashley Mackin

In tech-savvy 2013, getting a note to a teacher is easier than ever. Just click “send.”

All San Diego Unified School District teachers have an appointed e-mail address, and administrators say that is the best way to reach them.

La Jolla Elementary School Principal Donna Tripi said e-mail is the preferred way to reach her teachers, and that LJES staff checks its e-mail messages at least once a day.

Tripi said e-mail works for reporting “absences, issues with homework (though these questions are better answered through guidelines for the assignments that are handed out), medical, behavioral and student-to-student issues, etc.”

La Jolla High School Vice Principal Will Hawthorne also said e-mail is a preferred way for parents to reach teachers, though it is just one of many forms of communication available.

“Each classroom has a telephone line with voicemail and each teacher has a district e-mail address,” he said. “A handwritten note can be used if appropriate, and I can’t speak for all of the teachers, but e-mail is really the best, quickest form of communication.”

He added, however, that each teacher has his or her preferred method of communication and to verify theirs with instructors.

One local second grade teacher said e-mail messages work best for her and parents are welcome to send them about birthdays, homework questions, field trips, issues with students they hear about at home, and school events.

She said she checks her e-mail at least once a day and tries to get back to parents within 24 hours. In cases of emergencies, she recommends calling the school, which would patch the call to the classroom or relay the message.

“We do a lot of communicating and parents are heavily involved,” she said. “I see that as a positive thing. With open communication there’s less unknown, and, the clearer things are, the easier everything is (for teachers and parents).” She added in cases where a

student has divorced parents, it’s especially beneficial because both parents get the same information easily, instead of physical documents being sent to one house or the other.

For professional and transparency reasons, e-mail messages are preferred over phone calls, because communications can be documented. The only time she gives out her cellphone number, she said, is for field trips, after which she asks parents to delete it.

The district e-mail addresses are typically the teacher’s first initial followed by their last name

Still, parents should verify e-mail addresses with teachers.

Remaining Back- to-School Dates

■ Bird Rock Elementary: Sept. 3

■ La Jolla Elementary: Sept. 3

■ La Jolla High: Sept. 3

■ Torrey Pines Elementary: Sept. 3

■ Muirlands Middle: Sept. 3

■ Children’s School: Sept. 4

■ UC San Diego: Sept. 26