Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences By Understanding What Your Child Is Learning

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Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences By Understanding What Your Child Is Learning

By Anne E. Mead, Ed. D.

It’s that time of year again, when parents attend parent-teacher conferences to learn how their children are doing is school. Conferences are a dedicated time between parents and teachers to speak about your children, what they are excelling in and how you can support learning at home. Regardless of how your children are doing in school, it is an important time to talk to the teacher one-on-one.

To make the most out of the conference experience, talk to your children beforehand as to what their strongest or weakest subjects are, what your children like about school and whether there is anything the parent should talk to the teacher about. Make a list of questions you would like to ask the teacher, such as how your children are doing academically, whether they are listening and following directions and getting along with other students and whether they know when to ask for help. Conferences are usually about 15-20 minutes, so be well prepared. Try to ask your most important questions during the first part of the conference and know that if you run short on time, you can request another conference. Also consider whether there is anything the teacher should know about your child.

Be on time for the conference and be your natural self. If you need an interpreter, alert the teacher. Remember to be calm during the conference as it should be a two-way conversation between you and the teacher. If you disagree with what the teacher is telling you, ask for more clarification. The teacher is equipped to help your child be successful; therefore, ask for explanations about anything you don’t understand.

The teacher and you may create an action plan that includes key people to help your child. After the conference, talk with your child about the action plan and begin to work on it. Before the conference ends, ask about the best way to communicate with the teacher. Working together is essential, so knowing the best time to talk is important.

Often, parents feel they don’t understand the concepts being taught, the new common core and how best to work with their children at home. Each year, the Danbury Public Schools sponsor “Family Camp: Together We Can Achieve More.” Family Camp is an opportunity to bring families together to share strategies and ideas that benefit our students. This year’s Family Camp will be held on Sat. November 10 at Rogers Park Middle School, 21 Memorial Drive in Danbury, from 8:30 am-12:30 pm. Sessions will be geared toward families in all grades and will cover key math and language arts concepts that families can support. The conference is free of charge, and breakfast is included. Raffles and events and activities for children will be provided. For more information or to register, call the Danbury Family Learning Center, Inc. at 203-797-4734. Invite your neighbors—families with children not yet enrolled in school are welcome.

Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or meadan@danbury.k12.ct.us.

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October 24, 2018

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