School News & Notes
September 30, 2008
Deep in bottom of your childs cavernous backpack, crumbled up next to the half-eaten PB and J, you find a parent-teacher conference notice. Dont be nervous, urge education experts. Instead, view this focused one-on-one time as a great opportunity to touch base with your childs teacher and discuss a common goal: a positive educational experience for the young student.Be very brave, advises Kings Beach Elementary School principal Eileen Fahrner. Understand that many of these teachers have sat in the parent seat as well.She admits its nice to hear wonderful things about your childs strengths, but it can be challenging to hear about their shortfalls. However, she says parents should push emotions aside and have a productive discussion with the teacher.At the conference, Fahrner says parents can expect the teacher to have information on the California educational standards and where exactly the childs performance fits into that matrix. Supporting examples of the childs schoolwork will likely be on hand as well.Its important for parents to have the teacher explain these performance standards and how their childs performance will be monitored, Fahrner adds. If the child is not performing satisfactorily in a particular area, ask the teacher what you can do as a parent at home to help or if there are programs that are available within the school that can assist the child.Before the conference, Fahrner recommends discussing school with your child. Perhaps ask which subjects he or she likes the most or least, or if there are any challenging social issues that need to be addressed. This will also provide a good jumpin-off point for parent-teacher discussion.Like any good student, parents should not be tardy for the conference and come prepared with a few questions for the teacher. The National Education Association suggests parents should ask the most important questions first, just in case time runs out. Ask the teacher for specific suggestions on ways to help your child do better. Develop an action plan that everyone teacher, parent and student can agree upon. After the conference stay in regular touch with the teacher to discuss the progress your child is making.Tahoe Truckee Unified School District elementary school parent-teacher conferences are slated for October. In the coming days, students will be bringing home conference scheduling noticesperhaps crumbled with a bit of PB and J on them.