With conferences coming up, you may be wondering what’s the best way to use your 15 minutes with the teacher. Kelly Wickham, an assistant principal at a magnet school for technology in the Midwest, wrote a blog for Babble with conversation starters to help parents get specific information they need about how their children are doing academically. Here is her advice.
“1. What are the skills my child will be expected to learn this year and how is she doing so far? If she masters them, will she be challenged with other material? You can go into the learning styles of your child – kinesthetic, visual, auditory – to help understand the how of their learning new material. If you know what the skills are, you will know what they can work on at home.
“2. How is progress monitored in your classroom and what do you do when my child doesn’t learn the material? How does this affect their grade? Speaking of grades, ask teachers what percentage tests, quizzes, in-class assignments, and homework is worth. This is key. This also opens up the door to discuss classroom accommodations or what we call RtI, a Response to Intervention. Also, ask if organizational issues are part of the overall grades because THEY SHOULD NOT BE. If students are learning how to do something they ought not be penalized harshly for it.
“3. How much classroom time is used to get ready for State and local assessments that you have to give? Do these things line up with the State Standards or the Common Core? Good assessments don’t take time away from intended learning just so you can have students ready to pass the test, but address the skills that students need to master by age-appropriate time at each grade level.”
Our elementary school has conferences for every child. Our middle school doesn’t do conferences for every child. If your child is having trouble of if you request it they will see you. I’m not sure how Walsh’s new school is going to handle conferences but they are very available via email if you have questions.
Do you find conferences to be useful or are you talking to the teacher already if your child is having problems?