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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

New Questions You Should Ask at the Parent Teacher Conference

While there are many articles covering the exchange of information at parent-teacher conferences, some recent developments should also be stressed.  

“Common Core Standards” are now federal mandated models for K-12 education, and they have been implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia.  

An additional development is that school policies have caused parent / teacher meetings to be condensed, to accommodate larger numbers of parents and guardians.

Discussing Common Core Standards is important because parents can easily get grade-level expectations through their state department of education that clearly define reading, writing, and math standards, for a particular grade level. So, in addition to the important question “What is my child’s current achievement level and how does it compare with other students in the same age group?” a good follow-up question would be “How does my child rank in grade level expectation using Common Core Standards?

Another very important question to now ask is “How does my child learn best?” While most students learn by a combination of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (hands-on) strategies, usually one is more dominant. Some children are more visual, some learn best by listening, while others benefit more from actual doing. By this time in the school year, most teachers have a sense of your child’s learning style. The answer to this question helps you understand ways to help your child at home. It also reinforces how well your child’s teacher knows him.

School Family has an excellent downloadable for parents titled Back-to-School Conference Questions.  Bring those questions to the parent-teacher conference, and use the questions mentioned here to supplement them. This will help you maximize the time you will spend with your child’s teacher. The information exchanged could lead to a very positive effect on your child, and ensure a successful school year.

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