New parent-teacher conference format

Administration aim to increase attendance

Macy Rice

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Due to the lack of participation at parent-teacher conferences in previous years, changes have been made by Career and Technical Director Melinda Rangel and principal Lisa Moore, as well as by the MTSS Family Engagement team.

The MTSS Family Engagement team includes teachers as well as administrators who share the goal of getting families involved with student events, such as conferences. These changes have been made in hopes of making conferences more student-led.

“Instead of teachers being in their classrooms, teachers will be set up in the commons and in the halls in the front of the building. Students will sign up with their seminar teacher for a ten minute conference time,” Rangel said. “The conference focus will be on academic success, so the hope is that all students will come to their conference with their parents and the student will lead the conference. In between those ten minute conference times are 25 minute break times that are open, where parents and students can go see any teachers that they need to speak with individually.”

Earlier this year, Moore conducted a needs assessment survey of faculty, and out of 69 surveys returned, 35 faculty members recognized the need for increased participation at conferences.

“Lisa (Moore) and I came up with this plan in order to meet what the teachers had asked for, then we shared it with the MTSS Family Engagement team, which is a group of teachers. After the teachers made a few suggestions and small changes to our plan, we shared it with the rest of the staff.”

Since student attendance at parent-teacher conferences is not a requirement, administration has included an incentive for students to participate. Math teacher Erica Rickard is one teacher who supports the new plan.

“Superintendent Deborah Hamm has approved the incentive that if a student attends their conference, they will not be required to attend one day of seminar and will be released from school early,” Rickard said.

Teachers have always been the ones to lead the conference and speak directly to parents, but now students will be the ones answering their parents’ questions.

“It will make things easier for the teachers. It will be very different though, since students typically don’t come see their seminar teachers. I hope that I still see my regular students also, because those are the students that I usually see during conferences,” Rickard said. “I think that this will be a good change, as long as students are still checking in with their regular teachers, during those breaks between each ten minute conference.”

As conferences occur twice each year, the fall conference nights will be Oct. 20, 25 and 27. This will be the first set of conferences that are student-led.

“This will be our first time, so it may need some tweaking or improvements. The plan is to continue in this format as we move into working with students, creating individualized plans of study and helping students create career paths for themselves,” Rangel said.