Spring conferences provide great insight into your child’s progress and are a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the parent-teacher/advisor relationship. In order to get the most out of this brief encounter, we encourage parents to consider these four important points:
1. Before you arrive, be prepared.
While teachers/advisors are the “main event” at conference time, your role as the parent is no less vital. To prepare for the meeting, review your child’s last progress report as it’s helpful to know where your child was previously to be able to recognize growth and continued challenges. Consider asking these questions:
- How can I best support my child's learning?
- What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Are my child’s challenges/weaknesses age-appropriate or should I be concerned?
- What course selections are available for my child next year?
- Are there helpful websites to help my child with his/her anxiety?
- When will I receive the next update on my child’s progress?
2. When the time arrives, be there and be on time.
Attending the conference is essential to building the relationship with your child’s teacher/advisor and maintaining lines of communication. By arriving on time, you communicate to teachers that you respect and appreciate their time. Keep in mind you are not the only parent with whom the teacher is meeting—try to stay within your allotted conference time. You can always schedule a follow-up phone call or check-in if needed.
3. Plan for the future: Keep the lines of communication open.
Arrange a way to communicate going forward. Ask whether the teacher’s preferred method of communication is phone calls, e-mails, or continued meetings. If you want to monitor certain behaviors or skill development for your child, set a future check-in point. For example, “Let’s all encourage Johnny to e-mail his teacher for math support if he does not understand the assignment this week. Why don’t we check in again on Monday for an update?”
In Middle School, if you have further questions related to a class that your child’s advisor does not teach, establish the best way to communicate those concerns. Should you reach out directly to the classroom teacher or is the advisor able to facilitate that discussion?