How To Quickly Prepare to Rock Your Parent-Teacher Conferences

It’s that time of year again–parent-teacher conferences. If I’m being completely honest, I used to dread them. However, after some experience and time to perfect my preparation, parent-teacher conferences have become a time to connect with families and learn more about my students while sharing updates about students’ progress in the classroom. Let’s dive into how to efficiently prepare to rock your parent-teacher conferences.

Parent-Teacher Conference Preparation

The most successful conferences will be those where you feel prepared to share important information about each student. I like to create a conference note page for each student so I can be focused and ensure there isn’t anything I miss. It’s also nice for parents to take home and review with their child or a family member who couldn’t make it to the conference.

I like to include recent assessment scores, “glows”, “grows”, and “next steps”. I align what I have listed as an area for growth with the next step. I want to show families that we are going to be addressing their child’s needs.

Grab this free editable conference note page in my TpT store.

free parent teacher conference form

I pull up my grade book and assessment data (we use Acadience Learning). I evaluate each student and type comments to highlight their strengths, areas of growth, and academic or behavioral needs.

Accentuate the Positive

Always, always, always have something positive to start the conference. Sometimes we have to dig deep but there is always at least one positive thing to say. Focus on growth. Think about their interactions with you and their peers. Share a little story about something they did or said. Starting the conference by mentioning something non-academic like “Johnny always shares about how excited he is for soccer practice!” is a wonderful way to show that you have built a relationship with the student and are interested in their life outside of school.

If you are having a hard time thinking of ways to word different strengths and needs, check out this list of comments to choose from!

Back it up with Evidence

Whenever you have a specific concern whether it be academic or behavior, make sure to have factual evidence to share with parents. The more specific and concrete examples to back up your concern, the better you will be able to share how they can support their child at home and what you will be implementing at school to help.

Maybe a student is struggling with reading. It’s important to be prepared with data and assessments to show parents exactly what they are struggling with and how they can help at home. Make sure to share what they have done well, too. For example, “Johnny has mastered short vowels. He is now working on blends and digraphs. He is struggling with s-blends. We are working on this skill during reading time and his spelling list is s-blends. Please complete his spelling homework each night so he can have repeated exposure. Have him read the list of words in addition to practicing spelling.”

Anticipate Questions

A few weeks before conferences, I like to send home a questionnaire. This will help me better plan and make the most of the short conference time. Parents might ask for extra materials to practice at home so you can have those ready to provide. Or, they might have a question for another staff member who works with their child. Getting input beforehand allows you to be proactive and ultimately have less to follow-up with after the conference.

Ask for Support

When you have a student who is facing many challenges, don’t hesitate to ask for help from the reading specialist, guidance counselor, or another support staff to join you in the conference. Often having another staff member present can help show parents the many stakeholders involved in their child’s education and offer another perspective. So, reach out to any support staff who work with your student and invite them to join in the conference. Even if they are unable to attend, ask them to write up a short report you can share with parents about their progress when working with that staff member.

The 1-1-1 Strategy

We all have those students who have many opportunities for growth and require a lot of support. But, I encourage you to focus on ONE thing they need to work on the most. Then, share ONE thing parents can do to help at home and ONE thing you will be doing at school to support them as well. This will really help intentionally focus on one specific area. Otherwise, a parent might leave the conference unsure of how they can help support their child’s learning.

Rock Your Parent-Teacher Conferences

Remember that preparation is the key to success, but your expertise and authenticity will leave a lasting impression. Embrace the opportunity to showcase not only the academic growth, but also the unique magic that happens in your classroom. The best conferences are ones where you can learn about your students through the eyes of their parents so don’t be afraid to ask them questions, too! So take a deep breath, get ready and rock your parent-teacher conferences! Don’t forget to download the Editable Parent-Teacher Conference Note form and click the green start to follow The Sassy Apple Teaching!

Share it:

You might also like...