ES Tips for successful conferences




As parent conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday of this week, here are some tips for getting the most out of a conference with your child’s teacher.  This is a great opportunity to begin a conversation with your child’s teacher—one in which you can learn about how your child is doing in school, in addition to giving information about your child’s life at home, including their interests, strengths and needs.  Here are some ideas to consider:


  • In order to focus on the learning that your child is doing, be sure to review your child’s school work, homework, etc. before the conference in order to ask questions you may have about your child’s progress or performance in class.  (If there is a pressing concern that you have, it may be beneficial to email the teacher in advance of the conference so the teacher has time to address that concern or question.)


  • Teachers want to see their students succeed, just as parents want their children to be successful in school.  If there are areas of improvement, ask how you can support your child’s learning at home.


  • If your child is in third, fourth, or fifth grades, they will be involved in the conference and should have some ideas of the learning goals that they have.  In addition, they can be part of the conversation of how they will work toward meeting their learning goals.


  • Make a plan with your child’s teacher for your child to work toward his or her learning goals.  If it appears that your child may need some extra help from school, ask what services that are available at school and in the larger community, if necessary.  The student support team has a list of resources that are available in the community that cover a variety of different fields.


  • Finally, be sure to follow-up with the teacher and with your child.  If you run out of time at the scheduled conference, be sure to make an appointment to meet with the teacher to continue your conversation.  In addition, be sure to talk to your child about the conference if they did not attend.  It is important for them to know that you are involved in their education and dedicated to their learning.


Close school and home communication can have a positive impact on student achievement.  We all want our students and children to reach their highest potential.


This article incorporates some ideas presented in the Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers and Parents published by the Harvard Family Research Project.


Harvard Family Research Project. (2010). Parent-Teacher Conference Tip Sheets for Principals, Teachers and Parents. Cambridge, MA. President and Fellows of Harvard College.


For additional information, please go to: