How Principals Can Support Quality Parent-Teacher Conferences #edchat #cpchat

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Parent-teacher conferences are just around the bend in VT, as they are around the states. Personally, I feel as though parent-teacher conferences are ongoing and there isn't necessarily a “season” that they come in style, but you know what I mean. As posts and tweets have started to address resources and ideas for teachers about providing quality parent-teacher conference experiences I've started to think about what kinds of things administrators can do to support high quality conference experiences for all…so I created a short list of ideas in no particular order:

  • Reschedule meetings and commitments for before or after the parent conference period. You want staff to focus on being prepared and ready.
  • Send staff resources like Seven Ideas for Meaningful Parent-Teacher Conferences by Nancy Flanagan and other links to help spark new ideas.
  • Encourage staff to make the most of conferences, connecting with parents as partners.
  • Clear your schedule. I offer over and over again to be available to come to any conferences staff or parents would like me present at.
  • Pre-meet with teachers to review agendas and information for conferences that they might be nervous about.
  • Go out of your way to help accomodate family schedules. We spread our conference window out over a two week period to give lots of options for families and staff.
  • Collect copies of everyone's conference schedule to keep near the phone in the office. Office staff can prevent unnecessary calls and emails to teachers asking for reminders on what time a conference might be by having these lists handy.
  • Make sure that staff have access to data and information that they'll need for parents.
  • Support staff in trying new ideas for connecting with families. We've had many staff develop their parent-teacher conference experience to include students more in the process. It was a move from the norm, but one that I supported.
  • Remind staff that you are there to support them. They should be honest and open with families, having tough conversations if necessary and celebrating with sincerety student accomplishments.
  • Find little ways to support staff through the conference periods, whether that be snacks, extra coffee in the staff room, etc.
  • Make sure that if staff stay late they are not alone in the building. Review conference schedules to make sure to create plans if necessary.
  • Check in often. This is probably the most important thing to do! This will be the only way to know how best to support everyone!




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