parent-teacher conference tips

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Slide 1: 

Valley View Middle School Parent/Teacher Conference Tips November 8, 2010

Slide 2: 

Conferences are arena-style, which offer a lot of flexibility. There is no signing up for a specific time. Instead, all the teachers are seated around the edges of the gym or cafeteria. Parents wait in the center for the teachers they wish to see to be open, and then move to their tables. In the cafeteria, parents wait at the end of the cafeteria tables.

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Be positive and stick to performance information as much as possible. Begin the conference with a cordial icebreaker, and then get to business. Parents will appreciate moving crisply through the conference. Parents waiting will appreciate this as well. Please limit conferences to a length of 5 minutes.

Slide 4: 

Be accurate and share grades in a confidential manner. Have the information you want to share with parents readily available and well organized. Present information about assessment/grading in a manner that does not expose other students’ performance information. Be particularly aware of data practices and consequently data privacy. If you leave your area, take your grade book with you.

Slide 5: 

Refrain from making comparisons among students. It is best to share information in terms of how their child measures against the standard or objectives for the class. References to student level of improvement are important as well. Be positive, accurate, and realistic. Focus on information that will be helpful for parents.

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Use the effective elements of instruction for conferencing. Start with an icebreaker, clearly set the goals for the conference, provide the information, check for understanding, and close by summarizing or providing direction to the parents or guardians. Parents will respond well to this approach just like your students do!

Slide 7: 

To make the five-minute conferences as productive as possible, it’s helpful if you can prepare ahead of time…one strategy that has worked for a number of staff members and always worked for me was to use a note card.

Slide 8: 

Student Name (First Name/Last Name)—you can write down or students can write down Hour Subject (This side student writes down:) What’s going well for me? What do I need extra support with? Front side of note card—either 3 x 5 or 4 x 6

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(This side teacher adds input) Follow-up/goals? Parent questions/comments? Reverse side of notecard

Slide 10: 

You will be receiving many items for your conferences on Thursday night (i.e. signs, etc.) Please keep these items with you after you have finished conferences on Thursday night. When conferences are finished on Monday night, we ask that you leave these items in the boxes that will be labeled and placed in your respective conferencing area before you leave. The boxes will be collected and stored by the office staff. Chairs will be provided for you at your table, but if you have a favorite chair that you want to bring, feel free to do so. You will be receiving a copy of the seating arrangements in each of the three gyms and the cafeteria. Be sure to wear your Valley View Middle School photo ID. If for some reason you did not get one, please see Maureen or Craig! In addition, be sure to have your table is clearly labeled with your name and have an “Away Briefly” sign to place on your table when you may need it. If you want to include any unique displays or student work, feel free to do so. It may be helpful to know that the physical education department has a few white marker boards. If you want to use one of those, talk to a physical education teacher regarding their location etc.