How to make Parent Teacher Conference a better experience

Dawn Ramsey, with Jordan School District, shared some tips on making Parent Teacher Conference a better experience. Parent Teacher Conference is a perfect opportunity to be involved in your child`s education. It gives parents a better understanding of how their child is doing in school, and what we can do to help them at home. It is SO important to attend, even when they are in Middle and High School.

Parents should be focusing on growth for each child, so the questions should be guided around academic and behavioral growth. Parents should also be asking what specific things can they be reinforcing at home in regards to these two areas.
It`s also important to note, that if the teacher tells you your child is struggling, academically or socially, or that they have certain behaviors that could use some improvement- that we as parents listen with an open mind and a willingness to help our child improve or adjust certain habits or behaviors, if necessary.

Specific to Elementary School

  1. How is my child doing socially?  (I ALWAYS want to first know if they are behaving and getting along with others.)
  2. Is my child on grade-level for Reading? Writing? Math? Science?
  3. How do you personalize (differentiate) learning in your classroom for students of all skill levels?
  4. How will you respond if my child struggles? If s/he excels?
  5. How do you show the students that you care about them? (stickers, stamps, notes, special recognition)
  6. How do you promote social development? (e.g., How do you address challenges that happen at recess?)
  7. How is my child's reading? Are there any concerns you've identified? (fluency, comprehension, word identification)
  8. 8. How can I help my reluctant reader at home?
  9. How can we improve his/her keyboarding skills at home?

Middle & High School

  1. Again, I ALWAYS want to know if s/he is behaving, respectful, kind, engaging in the work, etc...
  2. How do you determine whether or not students are learning before they take the unit test and it's too late?
  3. What criteria do you use when selecting homework?
  4. How is academic progress measured (how are homework, tests, quizzes weighted)? Are behaviors like attendance, participation and such included in the academic grade?
  5. How will occasional absences for school sponsored extra-curricular activities affect my child’s grade?
  6. What is your homework/make-up work policy?
  7. If my student does not perform well on a test, is there an opportunity to re-take it?

If you cannot make it to a scheduled parent-teacher conference, contact the teacher and they will be happy to meet with you another time.

Another important way we can be involved in our child’s education is to VOTE. So much of what happens with education is affected by what happens during an election. Please don’t let concerns over our national elections keep you from voting. In Salt Lake County we are doing something different this year. For the first time it is a mail in ballot election, only. (Again- SL County only. There will be a couple of places for in-person voting.)  Ballots are being mailed out today. There are important races throughout the state that affect education, including our Gubernatorial race, county and city councils, state and local school boards, and in the Jordan and Alpine School Districts, our voters get to vote on a Bond initiative to help fund the building of the new schools we so desperately need. Attending PTC is important, but we can have a significant say in what happens in our local schools if we will exercise our right to vote.