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8 Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference


It is important to communicate regularly with your child's teachers from kindergarten through high school, especially if you are the parent of a child with special needs. You can get to know your child's teachers through parent-teacher conferences, Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, volunteering, and school events. Almost every school holds some form of parent-teacher conferences. These tips will help you make the most of conferences:

  • Before the conference, review the work your child has brought home from school. You may find areas of concern to talk about with the teacher or other invited professionals. Bring the work with you.
  • Ask your child if there is anything he or she would like you to bring up. You might also ask what your child thinks the teacher will say. This will allow you to anticipate some of the issues that might come up at the conference.
  • Decide whether to leave your child at home with a babysitter. It will be easier for you to concentrate if you do. At some schools it is becoming more common for older students to attend conferences with parents. Find out if this is the case at your school.
  • Be punctual. Teachers usually have several conferences scheduled in a row and will appreciate your promptness.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. With younger children, you may want to ask more about behavior or learning styles. With older children, you may need to discuss curriculum or plans for high school (and beyond). Some questions to consider include:
    • What are your goals and expectations for your students this year?
    • What can I do to help my child and reinforce learning at home?
    • Are the accommodations effective?
    • What are my child's strengths and weaknesses?
    • What areas need more work and improvement?
    • Does my child participate in class? Is my child actively involved in learning?
    • How much homework do you expect students to do each night?
    • What kind of homework do you assign?
    • What projects will be assigned this year?
  • Develop an action plan. If you're concerned about your child's academic performance, work with the teacher to develop a plan for improvement.
  • Look at the goals and objectives on your child's IEP. Now might be a good time to review the progress your child is making and see if changes need to be made.
  • Remember to thank the teacher for assisting your child and taking the time to meet with you.

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