Before the conference
- Schedule a time to meet. If you can't go at the scheduled time, ask the teacher about other times.
- Review your child's work, grades and progress reports.
- Talk with your child about his or her progress in school.
- Talk with others — family members, after school staff, mentors — about your child's strengths and needs.
- Make a list of questions to ask during the conference.
- Think about ways you would like to be involved in your child's learning so that you can discuss them with the teacher.
During the conference
- Talk and listen. The conference is a time for you to learn about your child's progress in school, but it is also a time for the teacher to earn about what your child is like at home.
- Ask specific questions.
- Is my child performing at grade level?
- How is she doing compared to the rest of the class?
- What do you see as his strengths?
- How could she improve?
- Ask to see examples of you child's work. Ask how the teacher gives grades.
- Share your thoughts. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings about your child. Tell the teacher what you think your child is good at. Explain what he or she needs more help with.
- Support learning at home. Ask what you can do at home to help your child learn. Ask if the teacher knows of other programs or services in the community that could also help your child.
- Support learning at school. Find out what services are available at the school to help your child. Ask how the teacher will both challenge your child and support your child when he or she needs it.
After the conference
- Make a plan. Write down the things that you and the teacher will each do to support your child. Write down what you will do, when and how often. Make plans to check in with the teacher in the coming months.
- Schedule another time to talk. Communication should go both ways. Ask how you can contact the teacher. And make sure the teacher has a reliable way of contacting you. There are many ways to communicate -- in person, by phone, notes, email -- make a plan that works for both of you. Be sure to schedule at least one more time to talk in the next few months.
- Talk to your child. The parent-teacher conference is all about your child, so don't forget to include him or her. Share with your child what you learned. Show him how you will help with learning at home. Ask for her suggestions.