Teachers will be available from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 and Nov. 2. Notices have been sent home over the past few weeks inviting parents to select a time to come in for a conference. These conferences, although only 15 minutes in length, can offer both teachers and parents a great opportunity to extend lines of communication between home and school. Conferences help keep parents informed about their children's progress — both academic and social — and for developing cooperative strategies that can ultimately benefit every student.
Productive conferences take careful planning on the part of both parents and teachers. In many cases, the conference may be the only time that both parent and teachers will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face during the school year. To that end, please allow these suggestions to be given to make the most of the short time you both are given.
Before the conference: Talk to your child. Ask how he/she's doing in class, inquire about what's going on during lunchtime, recess, and when he/she goes to special classes like music or gym. You need to find out whether your child is perceiving everything accurately or if he/she's misunderstanding a situation. Save selected work samples that you have questions over or may not understand how or if it is being taken for a grade.
During the conference: Arrive early and on time, with conferences being only 15 minutes and teachers having back-to-back meetings, the time will go quickly. If you are not sure about the communication routine be sure to inquire about the protocol. Ask if your child’s teacher prefers email, phone calls or written notes. Take some notes yourself. Jot down the positive comments your child’s teacher has mentioned to share with your child.
In regards to technology, ask to have some names of websites or pages used in school that could be used to create a bridge between home and school.
Ask questions such as how is my child doing socially and emotionally? Share any new events at home that may have happened, change of hours at work, new baby; so inform your child's teacher of such circumstances. What are some areas needing improvement and/or what does your child excel at?
Following the conference: Talk with your child about the positive aspects of the conference. Share your pride in their accomplishments as well as your concerns, if so expressed through the meeting. Be positive, we all can and will show improvement both academically and socially. Explain that you and their teacher are eager for them to work together to have a successful rest of the year.
It is my sincere hope that as your child’s conference day approaches, that you can use some of these suggestions to have a positive and successful meeting with your child’s teacher this fall.
Local columnist Ken Moore is the Maplehurst Elementary principal.