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Getting the Most Out of Conferences: Five Tips

It’s that time of year again: leaves are changing colors, temperatures are dropping and the holiday season is just around the corner. This time of year means many things, but one of our favorites is parent-teacher conferences. Whether sharing data celebrations or problem solving homework difficulties, parents and teachers are the ultimate cheerleaders for all students, and conferences are a huge opportunity to collaborate around students’ academic and social progress. When going into conferences with your child’s teacher, you may want to consider jotting down a few specific questions. Here are five questions – generated for you by our teachers – to help you get started:

1. What are my child’s strengths? How can I support my student’s greatest areas of need?

While you may want to know specifically what your student needs to work on, it’s helpful to know the strengths your student brings to the table as well. If you know what he’s good at, you can know how to use those strengths to build on his challenges. Related to challenges, ask your teacher how you can support academic progress at home through games, play and other educational opportunities.

2. What do these assessments really tell us?

Teachers often use a variety of assessments to help us learn about your student. Ask for an explanation of the results so that you clearly understand what the numbers really mean. Is my student on grade level? How does he compare to his peers? What areas did he struggle in? Did he try his best?

3. What are some community resources that I can access to support my student outside of school?

Community resources rock. There are many agencies and programs in your community that may be able to assist your student in everything from reading to homework. Teachers can be a great resource for recommendations!

4. How can I be involved in school given my work schedule and other commitments?

We know you are busy, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. Ask your teacher about opportunities to be involved even if you can’t make it into our schools during the regular day! Research shows family engagement improves school readiness, student achievement and social skills.

5. What are some ways that I can support my student with her homework given her current challenges, like ___________.  

Homework is a common challenge for many students.  Be as specific as possible with your student’s teacher related to her homework difficulties so that her teacher can provide the most effective strategies!

Rocketship Parents: The first round of conferences will be taking place in all of our regions: Nashville (November 3-4), Milwaukee and the Bay Area (November 7 and 10). If you haven’t yet signed up for a conference, please reach out to your Rocketeer’s teacher today! 

Teachers, what are your favorite parent-teacher conference moments? Parents, how have conferences helped your student? Tweet your ideas at us!

Logan came to Rocketship in 2013 after spending three years in a neighboring district in east San Jose. She learned about Rocketship’s inspired full inclusion model and knew within her first days as a Rocketeer that she was in the right place to influence change for all students. Logan is most inspired by her students who seem to inherently understand that learning can be messy and difficult, but who are willing to jump in headfirst anyway. Logan lives with her husband and her dog in sunny Santa Cruz and spends her extra time playing on the beaches or hiking underneath the redwood trees in her backyard.

Follow Logan on Twitter: @loganjuve

Published on October 29, 2014

Read more stories about: Parent Experience.