7 Ways to Get the Most Out of a High School Parent-Teacher Conference

Get the most out of parent-teacher conferences by asking questions.
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Research shows family involvement in education is key to a student’s success. Yet, many parents reduce their involvement with their child’s school as their child grows older. By the time a child reaches high school, some parents have stopped attending parent-teacher conferences altogether.

Your involvement in your teen’s education is vital. Get involved with your teen's school and participate in parent-teacher conferences.

Here’s how you can get the most out of those conferences when your child is in high school:

1. Learn About Your Teen’s Classes Before You Go

It can be hard to remember which classes your teen is taking and which teachers teach each subject. So it’s imperative to talk to your teen well in advance of the parent-teacher conference. Learn which classes your teen is struggling with, what classes aren’t challenging enough, and which teachers your teen is learning from.  

2. Write Down Your Questions and Concerns

Without written notes, it’s hard to stay on task and easy to forget the most important points you want to make during a conference. Write down the specific questions you want to ask each teacher or the topics you want to address. Carry your notes into each conference and make sure you get all your talking points addressed.

3. Consider if There’s Anything You Want to Share

If your teen has encountered difficult circumstances - perhaps you’ve gone through a divorce, had a death in the family, or endured financial problems - you may want to share that with the teacher.

You don’t have to go into great detail but you could simply say, “Things have been a little stressful.” Letting the teacher know that could lead to better understanding of some of your teen’s struggles.

4. Take Notes While the Teacher Talks

It’s likely you’ll forget a lot of what you hear by the time you get home, so it’s important to take notes.

If you’re talking to several teachers in one day, this is especially important because all of your conversations will likely blend together by the end of your meetings. Write down what each teacher has to say about your teen’s progress and any areas of concern.

5. Leave with a Clear Plan of Action

Before time is up, make sure you know what steps are going to be taken to support your child’s education. Are you going to encourage your child to say after school for extra help? Are you going to start monitoring your child’s homework more closely? Is the teacher going to check-in with your child about upcoming projects more often? Establishing a clear plan will ensure both you and the teacher have a good understanding of the next steps that will be taken.

6. Talk to Your Teen About the Meeting

The meeting between you and the teachers shouldn’t remain a secret to your child. Whether the teacher expressed concerns or had nothing but good things to say, pass that message along to your teen. Make sure your teen knows what the plan is and the steps everyone is taking to support her education.

7. Follow-Up with the Teacher

Don’t wait for a problem or a failing grade to follow up with the teacher. Follow up within a few weeks of the conference to report about what you’re seeing at home. Is your child studying hard? Is she struggling with her work? Ask questions or simply send a note to say things are going well. 

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