National standards have set the bar for academic achievement, which means that today it is clear what a student should have achieved by certain points in the school year.
Parent teacher conferences are a terrific opportunity for parents to get an accurate picture of their child’s academic achievement and how he is functioning in the classroom. The key to a successful parent teacher conference is to maximize the exchange of information, in a limited amount of time.
Here are 6 important questions for parents to ask at conferences for students in kindergarten, and 1st and 2nd grade:
At this point in the school year, what is the expected reading level? Is my child on level?
Are my child’s math skills meeting the standards?
What can I do, as a parent, to enhance my child’s academic progress in reading and math?
How does my child interact socially with classmates? Does this behavior affect his/her academics?
What do you see as my child’s strengths?
What is the preferred way to communicate? (Email, phone calls, notes, etc., and what is a typical response time?)
Parents should also remember to:
Bring a notebook and take notes, so that you can remember what was discussed and any important suggestions made by the teacher.
Let the teacher know of any changes at home that could affect academics, such as the arrival of a new baby, a job loss, etc.
Finally, remember that you and your child’s teacher want the same thing—a successful and happy school year for your child!
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.