Saturday, February 28, 2009

Parent Teacher Conferences (3rd Advisory)

If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at this school, I promise not to believe everything he says happens at home. English schoolmaster, Wall Street Journal, January 4, 1985
Yesterday was our Parent Teacher Conferences. A couple of parents brought my students with them. I had meaningful conversation with the parents who showed up. I discussed to them their child's progress while showing them their child's portfolio, I showed them the benchmark assessment online results from the Promethean board (parents LOVED it!), and explained to them why it would not make sense if I give their child a good grade but is not showing proficiency in any of the learning standards. Some students are just few points away from reaching proficiency, and their goal is either to be on or above grade level in academic skills.
I explained to the parents how they can help their child at home reach their goal. I showed them our class website and asked the parents (students know how to do this already) to come up the Promethean Board to solve some BCRs and answer practice probes from Discovery Education. They get to play their favorite games when they get the correct answer. We had so much fun, it was a hit! Parents were very receptive and supportive; it was a very productive PTC!
Are there any more reasons why my students will not achieve? Not me as I am doing all the academic supports, intervention, accomodation and modification that they need. Parents who showed up pledged their involvement. As one parent puts it "even if Ms. Angala and I work hard to help you [student] and give you all the supports you need, you will still fail if you don't help yourself".
Correct! Ms. Angala is not giving away A's and B's for free, students need to work hard and show progress and proficiency.
Facilitative Conferences: Alliances for Success
Betty Jo Simmons, professor of education at Longwood College, urges teachers to engage in facilitative conferences to nurture productive parent-teacher relationships. Simmons proposes five keys to successful problem solving in facilitative conferences:
  • 1. Be honest. Provide parents with specific and accurate information in a calm, nonaccusatory manner.
  • 2. Assure parents that their child is liked. Convey that you care about their child and that he or she is important.
  • 3. Describe the responsibilities to be shared. Clarify the roles of parent, teacher, and student in achieving success.
  • 4. Involve the student. Include the child in discussion of academic progress or behavior concerns.
  • 5. Provide encouragement. Reassure parents that whatever difficulties the student faces can be resolved with collaboration.

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