Sunday, October 25, 2015

Parent-Teacher Conferences

This year there are a few changes with how some things take place during our school year, like parent-teacher conferences. In the past, we've had our first round of conferences just after the end of our first interim, only six weeks into the school year.

Our principal was new to our school last year, and she asked the faculty for feedback on certain things at our school. One bit of feedback we gave was that we really felt like our first conferences were too early in the year.  As you know, at the beginning of the year, it takes some time for the students to learn the routines, and we have to spend a bit of time with beginning of the year assessments as well as review. Our faculty felt that we weren't able to have meaningful conferences with parents so early in the year.

Our principal listened.  This year we're having our first round of conferences next week. We just completed our tenth week of school, so we have a good understanding of our students as learners - their strengths, areas of weakness, and goals for them. I also had my students complete a self-assessment where they judged how they were doing on things like following directions, completing assignments, turning in homework, etc.  On this form, they also listed one strength and one goal for themselves in reading, writing, and math.

This is the first year that we are completely departmentalized, and we will meet as a fourth/fifth grade team with all fourth and fifth grade parents...that's 58 conferences in two days. As a team, we've tried to be as prepared as possible by having parents complete pre-conference surveys with any concerns they may have. We've also created a shared Google Doc that has talking points from each of us for each student. Finally, we have the self-assessment from the student.

Although parent-teacher conferences are tiring, I believe they are of great value. This is an excellent opportunity to continue developing a relationship with parents and to really work as a team in order to make the best plan for their child to experience as much growth as possible and to develop as a learner.

What do you do to prepare for parent-teacher conferences?

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