SchoolFamily Voices

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.

3 Essential Questions for a Midyear Check-in

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For most school districts across the country, January is the halfway mark of the school year, even if your district follows a trimester model. Most important, it’s the perfect time to have a “check-in” with your child’s teacher, whether or not this is a planned conference time.

The check-in can be a scheduled meeting with your child’s teacher, a phone call, or even an email. To start the conversation, here are three simple yet essential questions to ask the teacher:

  • Is your child’s reading on grade level at this point in the school year?
  • Are his math skills where they should be now?
  • Is his social and emotional development on par with other students in the class?


The answer to these three questions will give you a blueprint on how to proceed with the remainder of the school year. From January to the end of this school year is a very large block of time with few interruptions. Much can be accomplished to ensure grade-level success.

Key information you want to know includes:

  • If your child is on grade level, keep doing what has worked at home to support this success.
  • If she’s above grade level, ask the teacher for suggestions to enrich reading or math at home.
  • If she’s below grade level, ask the teacher for ideas to help fill in missing gaps. Also ask about the possibility of getting extra help or support from within the school.

The academic rigors of Common Core State Standards makes it important to have this information now. This allows you and the teacher time needed to support, enrich, or help your child catch up before the end of the school year.


> 6 Questions for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference

> 3 Skills Critical to Common Core Success


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