Twice a year, Gwinnett County elementary and middle schools set aside time for parents and guardians to meet with their child’s teachers to talk about the student’s academic progress. The first of those Early Release Days are set for later this week.
On Sept. 27-28, students in grades K-8 will head home two-and-a-half hours earlier than usual so that teachers and parents have an opportunity to meet for planned conferences. (In some schools, students are involved in the conference as well.)
Generally, elementary school teachers try to meet with every family, while middle school teachers (who have more students) may concentrate on meeting with the parents of struggling students first, and then add other conferences by request.
To get the most out of your parent-teacher conference, here are a few tips:
- Talk to your child before the conference. What are his favorite subjects? Least favorite? Why? Anything he’d like you to know beforehand? Emphasize the positive nature of this meeting. Be prepared. Write down your questions and information you’d like to share. Any changes at home, such as a new baby or a family member’s illness that might have an impact on your child’s schoolwork? Bring paper and pen so you can take notes.
- Arrive on time and work with the teacher to stay within the set meeting time. If you have more to discuss, arrange a follow-up visit.
- Ask for specifics about your child’s work and progress. What will she be expected to master? How is she doing? What about behavior and social skills? Talk to the teacher about your child’s study habits and what you’ve observed about work done at home.
- Have an open mind. If your child is having problems—whether academic, behavioral, or social—you and your child’s teacher both want the same, positive outcome. Ask questions, but also listen. The conference is an important time to work together for an honest assessment of your child’s progress.
- Determine the best way to stay in touch. Regular notes, e-mails, and calls will help create and maintain the important home-school connection.
- Follow through at home. You and your child’s teacher may come up with some at-home strategies to try. Touch base and let the teacher know how things are going.
Remember, you can ask for a conference any time during the school year if you have concerns.
Find additional tips for parents on a host of topics-- from ways to support learning for your young child or stay involved in your teen’s education to tips for helping your child deal with peer pressure and stay safe on the Internet. You’ll also find at-home academic support like these skill boosters for math and literacy.