Conference system changes aim to serve all families
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The high school and junior highs are changing not only with what grade configurations there are, but with how conferences are being conducted. Secondary schools have veered away from the block conferences to now having the teacher’s email or call all parents to report progress and to extend an invitation to meet.
Conferences have normally been organized in two evening blocks, but now they are a blend of digital and in-person conferences. Teachers are tasked with emailing/calling up to 175 parents with how their student is doing in school. The administration believes they will be able to reach the parents of the students who are struggling that wouldn’t normally come to the in person conferences.
Some parents are loving the new way conferences, as it is making it easier on them and they love the feedback they are getting from the teachers.
Kirsten Ross, said, “I think it is a good idea. I have been receiving mine and enjoy the feedback. I feel like it is more work for the teachers, but for those parents who don’t check Skyward, it’s an additional way to reach them.”
On the other hand though some parents do not like the new way of conferences and prefer to have them in person, because they believe they are losing some of the personal effect of meeting with teachers and getting a more personal response of how their student is doing in school.
Teri Reinseth said, “I would prefer to meet the teachers in person and talk to them. I feel like I got good, better info than these rather stale standard emails and letters that we are getting now. Not to mention only having seen a few of them.”
This is also a lot of work on the teachers. Teachers have to send up to 175 emails to all of their students on their own time.
Reinseth said, “That’s a lot and that’s likely why there are mass email letters being sent. This seems like a lot for the teachers.”
It is unclear if the new way of conferences is the right way. One thing is clear though every kid needs to receive an email and even though it is a lot of work for the teachers it has to be done.
Math teacher Darby Whitehill said, “Well as a life long learner, I do try to study and try new things, so this is definitely trying something new, but I like the component of reaching out to all students. I am uncertain of how and when it’s going to happen and what it’s going to look like in the end. But I do like the idea of trying new things, trying to fix things that aren’t working well and try to improve them and to make the school a better place.”
There are a lot of mixed signals from parents and teachers a like about the new way of conferences and how they are being conducted. Although there is mixed signals one thing is certain every parent deserves to hear how their student is doing.
Whitehill said, “I do think every student is important, every student is valuable and so I think every student should be communicated with or maybe the families should be reached out to, but I don’t know if email is the answer.”