DACC Promoting Parent Partnerships
Parent-teacher conference night is soon approaching and you will have the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with your high school student's teacher(s). What better time for some helpful tips on how to get the most out of partnering with your high school student's teachers, administrators, counselors, and other school officials. DACC parent-teacher conference night is scheduled for September 26th from 4:30-8:00 p.m.
1. Show up on conference night. Showing an active interest in your son/daughter's education is critical to their academic success. Make sure you know when parent-teacher conference night is and if you can just stop by or need to schedule a conference time. Remember that an invitation to parent-teacher conferences does not mean your child is in trouble!!
2. Come prepared. Before the conference, be sure to have a list of topics and/or questions you wish to talk about with the teacher(s). If your son/daughter is not planning to accompany you to the conference, be sure to ask them about how school is going and if there is anything he/she wants you to discuss with his/her teacher(s). Make sure you arrive on time for your conference and have a set agenda and stay focused, as it will help keep the conference from going on for too long a period. It is good etiquette to leave on time so other parents have equal time to speak with the teacher.
3. Share information about your son/daughter. You know your son/daughter best--what motivates them and how they best learn. Share what you have learned from prior work with other schools and teachers. Keep in mind that teachers need to know important information that will help them understand your child's needs.
4. Bring your son/daughter along. What better way to learn about what kind of work they are doing in class than to have them personally share some of their work during the conference. It also provides an opportunity for your son/daughter to hear firsthand what they are doing well and what needs to be improved. Remember, today's lessons are the foundation for future success.
5. Partner with the school and teachers. Share your e-mail and/or cell phone number and stay in contact with the school and/or your son/daughter's teachers. Let them know when it is best to call. Teachers and school officials want to be available to talk, but they don't want to jeopardize your job. If evenings are the only time available, then let them know that. Be open-minded about suggestions from the teacher. Ask what you can do at home to support your child's academic progress.
6. Follow Up. If your son/daughter did not accompany you to the conference, share with them what was discussed. It is critically important to follow up after the parent-teacher conference to find out what's changed or different. What good does it do to have a plan in place but not evaluate it a few weeks after the conference? How will we know if progress is being made or whether to change the plan if we don't follow up? Teachers also have a responsibility to follow up if they promised to talk with the principal about a concern or need to get back with you regarding a question you have.
7. Get Involved. Ask about volunteer opportunities available at the school. There are committees to join, snacks that could be prepared and donated to celebrate student success, and community-school activities to get involved with. The more involved you are at the school the more you will feel a part of the school community.
I hope that you have found these tips interesting and helpful. Please check out the following links for more tips about getting the most out of parent-teacher conferences:
If you have any suggestions for future topics or wish to comment on the column, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Please feel free to stop by my office on parent-teacher conference night. I look forward to meeting you in person.
~ Mr. Tom Wilson