How to Prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences

How to Prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences

How to Prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences 1500 1000 Dr. Menon

Ahh, fall. Along with apple cider, bonfires, and pumpkins, it’s also time for your child’s first parent-teacher conference of the year. This article will help you prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences – from ways to prepare before, points to remember and phrases to use during, to actions to take after the meeting. These tips can be modified for use in review meetings of special education plans such as an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 plan (formal plan for special accommodations in the learning environment).

Before the Meeting:

  • Make a list of questions.
  • Ask your child how s/he feels about school/teacher/peers/progress.
  • Think about examples of your child’s behavior/strengths and weaknesses based on what you see at home. Use them to compare to what you may hear at the meeting. It’s not a case of “you vs. school” but different environments can strongly affect a child’s performance and behavior.

During the Meeting:

  • Take notes.
  • Be mindful of meeting start and end times.
  • Show that you want to partner with the school team – it’s in your child’s best interest that everyone gets along.
  • Adjust your tone to be cooperative and collaborative. Possible questions:
    • Could you tell me about my child’s day so I can understand what it looks like?
    • Can you explain how what you’re seeing from my child is the same/different from other kids in the classroom?
    • How are my child’s test-taking skills?
    • Is my child participating in class discussions and activities?
    • How are my child’s social skills? Picked as a work or play partner? How does s/he work in a group?
    • Does my child seem happy/sad/angry at school?
    • Have you noticed any unusual behaviors?
    • What are my child’s strongest and weakest subjects (examples)?
    • How is my child doing in making progress toward grade level / IEP goals?
    • What training does the staff have in (specific intervention or program)?
    • What does that (accommodation/instructional intervention) look like in the classroom?
    • What can I do at home to support my child’s learning / IEP goals?
    • Can we make a plan for keeping in touch about how everything is going?

After the meeting:

  • In the case of an IEP meeting, write an email or letter to the case manager summarizing what decisions and questions came out of the meeting. By putting them in writing, you make sure everyone is on the same page and gets those next steps on their calendars. Review, sign the final IEP, and return it by the deadline they give you. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.
  • Send a simple but genuine thank-you note, even if you didn’t agree on everything.
  • Update your child. Be sure to mention the positive things people said along with the challenges. Describe new supports and services in specific terms (“Ms. Smith will come to see you on Tuesday to work with you on math. She has my permission to help you.”). If your child joined you at the meeting, ask about how it went from their point of view. Praise the participation. It’s the beginning of self-advocacy!
  • Organize your school records/IEP files/meeting notes at home. Keep track of dates to follow up, check on progress.

With this framework in mind, you can make the most of your meeting time and foster a great home-school partnership. Well, we hope this article have helped you prepare for Parent-Teacher Conferences that you will attend in the future. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss your child’s educational needs, please call ISBH and ask about scheduling an appointment with Dr. Menon. You can also book a free consultation call with Dr. Menon HERE.