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Practical Perspective: Parent-Teacher Conferences

 

We hope the school year is off to a great start!  As you begin to prepare for fall conferences with parents, we want to provide a few tips and considerations to assist you with your planning.

 

Before:
  • Have a plan for how you will communicate about parent-teacher conference sign-up. Make contact early and offer meeting choices. Offer to have a phone conference for parents that are not able to attend in person.
  • Send reminders for the meeting. Consider leaving a phone message, sending a reminder note, and/or email.
  • Prepare student folders and work samples to discuss and show during the meeting.
  • Have an agenda for the meeting structure that includes time for parent concerns and questions.
  • Find out if the student will be attending the conference with the parent. Depending on the student, consider having them actively participate in the conference by discussing their strengths and areas in which they'd like to improve during the school year. If the student will not be participating in the meeting, plan to have an activity to engage them.

 

During:
  • Start with the student’s strengths. Avoid jargon and be specific with your statements.
  • Discuss student progress and highlight student data and work samples to support statements.
  • Share curriculum, the student’s daily schedule, classroom procedures, and policies.
  • Ask the parent to identify student strengths and ask if they have any concerns.
  • Share tools or tips that parents may find helpful and can possibly utilize in the home environment (e.g., communication symbols, social stories, reinforcement).
  • If you are going to discuss behavior concerns, prioritize one or two areas and discuss your plans for support.
  • Document the meeting, take notes, and consider sharing a copy with the parents.

 

After:
  • Follow up with the parent with any agreed upon items or required actions.
  • Remember that parent communication does not need to be confined to formal parent- teacher conferences. Look for opportunities to make positive phone calls home, too!

 

Whether you use this post as a reference guide or a checklist, we hope that it helps with your conference preparations!

 

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