Conference Tips

1. Invite both parents. But, be sure to find out first if a student comes from a single-parent home and if both parents should be invited.

2. Contact parents early in the year. Outline your curriculum and expectations and let parents know how they can reach you.

3. Allow enough time in the conference. If you are scheduling back-to-back conferences, give yourself a short breather in between each one.

4. Prepare in advance to answer specific questions parents may have about their child's ability, skill levels, and achievements.

5. Get organized before the conference. Assemble your grade book, test scores, student work samples and attendance records.

6. Greet parents at the door. Also, you will help parents feel welcome and relieve their anxiety if you greet them by name. Check records in advance to make sure you ave parents' (and stepparents') names correct.

7. Avoid physical barriers. Don't sit behind your desk or ask parents to perch on uncomfortable chairs.

8. Open on a positive note. Begin conferences on a warm, positive note to relax everyone. Start with a positive statement about the child's abilities , school work, or interests.

9. Be specific in your comments and suggested course of action.

10. Forget the jargon. Try not to use "educationese" because it sounds like to double-talk to parents.

11. Ask for parents' opinions. Hear them out, even if the comments are hostile or negative.