Yes, it is that time of the year again when parents visit their children’s schools. Spring open house nights help parents stay informed about children’s progress toward meeting goals.
Parents across the district attended the fall open house nights. These gave parents an opportunity to get to know their children’s teachers. They offered an overview of school culture, teachers, curriculum and unique programs. During the fall open house events, teachers made parents aware of their expectations.
Spring open house nights will give parents a chance to see and hear how their children are performing in school. Teachers will discuss where students are doing well. They will also discuss the areas parents need to focus on to help students find success in the classroom. Many schools will also display students’ work for parents to view.
Ninth Grade Schools/High Schools — March 1
Middle Schools — March 3
Intermediate Schools — March 8
Elementary Schools — March 9
Early Childhood/PreK Centers — March 10
Campus leaders stress that parents should not confuse open house with a parent-teacher conference. At an open house, teachers will not have time to discuss your child’s specific needs. Instead write and email or send a letter in your child’s folder with your concerns. You can also call to schedule a parent-teacher conference.
Before a parent-teacher conference, prepare questions and collect samples of your child’s work. Parent-teacher conferences should center on three major topics: the child, the classroom and the future. Remember to take notes and schedule an immediate follow-up meeting if something is unclear.
For ideas, visit the Harvard Family Research Project’s Tip Sheet for Parents. The site provides information on how to conduct productive, successful parent-teacher conferences.
According to Heather B. Weiss, the parent-teacher conference is no longer a once-a-year check in. They should occur as soon as parents notice a student struggling. Parent-teacher conferences can provide useful insight for immediate and clear next steps. Weiss is founder and director of the Harvard Family Research Project.
“Conferences are now a progress report,” said Weiss. “Parents should schedule these as soon as there is a concern. Time is crucial for students’ learning and progress. Parents should come out of conferences with steps they can actually do to help their children.”
Parents can also try to connect with the school guidance counselor. He or she can provide information about resources the school offers. This could include gifted testing as well as resources outside of school. Call the campus to find the correct personnel.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Wanda Bamberg encourages parents to attend open house nights and schedule parent-teacher conferences. Parents should communicate regularly with teachers as well as be involved in their children’s education and interest areas.
“The research shows that family engagement is key to student success,” said Bamberg. “Parent engagement is associated with higher grades, higher test scores and better attendance. The result is higher motivation and an increase in students pursuing post-secondary education.
“We want both the teacher and the parent to have a positive experience. When parents and teachers work together, students make greater gains. And that is something we all want for our children.“
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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