The school where I teach now is the 3rd public school of my career (and hopefully my last-I LOVE IT). Before that I taught a year at a private school, and a year in a church 4K program. That's quite a bit of change for an 11 year career. And with all the change, I have learned that there is one constant. The community plays a HUGE role in the success and atmosphere of the school. It's one of those things that I was told, but didn't really GET until I witnessed it first hand.
I've been at schools where I simply say to the students, "We need (fill in the blank)." and have it on my desk the next day and one where I provide the many of the basics. I've taught at schools where homework was expected by parents, and some where it was frowned upon, especially during sporting seasons. The list of differences could go on and on...
So why does it matter? Well, to me it matters because it gives me just one more perspective on reaching my students. If I'm familiar with my school's community and its expectations, I have a better idea of what type of activities I can do with and for my children. Is it worth my time to put study guides on my website? If I send home facts practice sheets for independent practice will they get done? If I need a parent to come help me with a project at the last minute, do I have one who is willing and available? Will I be able to send home the actual graded test with a student and know that it won't be saved for the little brother/sister? Can I count on parental support with behavioral issues or do I need to 'kill my own snakes' so to speak? Are Mom and Dad able to read the notes I send home? It matters more than I ever knew it could.
I am very fortunate to teach within a super-supportive community that values education and the hard work that goes into it. Parent volunteers are in and out of the school constantly. If I send a note home, I'm pretty confident that the parents will receive it and read it. Parents generally support the teacher and students are respectful. This is due to parental influence at home. It makes a difference.