|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
A parent-teacher conference is a great opportunity to:
Parent-teacher conferences usually happen once or twice a year at progress reporting periods. They are brief meetings, only lasting about 10-30 minutes. Conferences are typically scheduled 1 to 2 months in advance. Most schools set aside specific dates and times for conferences, but if they conflict with your schedule, try to find a mutually convenient time. Otherwise, ask your child's teacher if you can schedule a phone conference instead. If necessary, divorced parents can ask a teacher to schedule separate conferences.
Other school staff who support your child's learning may attend the conference, too. An administrator might attend at the request of the parent or teacher if a problem or special need cannot be resolved by the teacher. In some cases, the student will also be asked to attend, but parents can ask for private time with the teacher as well.
Conferences focus on learning, although your child's behavioral and social development also might be discussed. You will probably hear feedback about your child's progress and areas of need. Other topics of discussion might include standardized test results, individualized education plans (IEP), and 504 education plans.
Before the Conference
Some parents may have been tracking their child's schoolwork and progress all along, and already know what issues are most important to discuss with the teacher. Some may have been talking with teachers at IEP or 504 plan meetings. For those parents, the conference is an opportunity to update each other on how the student is progressing. Other parents may be talking with the teacher for the first time.
Whether it's your first conversation with the teacher or one of many, it can help if you go to the parent-teacher conference with a sense of how your child is doing and what you want to discuss. Even if you know all is well, attending parent-teacher conferences shows your kids that you want to stay involved in their academic life, which can even help boost progress at school.
These tips will help you make the most of those important minutes at parent-teacher conferences:
If any school-related problems arise with your child, contact the teacher or other school staff via phone or email. Don't wait for the conference to address any serious issues.
During the Conference
Teachers usually meet with students' parents in back-to-back meetings, so try to be on time for your meeting.
At the meeting, remember to:
After the Conference
To follow up after the meeting:
During the entire process, keep in mind that you and your child's teacher should have the same goal in mind: To help your child succeed in school.
Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD