A New Kind of Parent-Teacher Conference Might Be Coming to Your School

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photo: Bill Wilson via Flickr

If you’ve got a kid in school, you probably know the drill when it comes to the twice-yearly parent-teacher conference: You show up. You sit in tiny chairs as a teacher gives you a 15-minute roundup of your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You leave. Done and done.

But the traditional P/T meeting may be in for a major overhaul, thanks to a new program that aims to get parents more involved with their children and teachers more involved with the parents.

“The traditional parent-teacher conference is isolationist,” Maria Paredes, a former teacher who created a model in 2012 known as Academic Parent-Teacher Teams, or APTT, told The Washington Post. “It is me and the teacher, maybe my child, and I don’t hear about anyone else in the class.”

Here’s how it works: The APTT program holds 75-minute “team meetings” three times a year, during which the teacher meets with the families of all of the students at the same time. This gives parents the opportunity to share ideas as a team while teachers share strategies they can all use at home. Then, once a year, the teacher meets with the parents individually to develop a specialized “course of action” to help the student best succeed, including suggesting games and activities that parents can use to help their kids learn.

“It’s a whole shift with how we think parents can collaborate with teachers. Parents can also collaborate with each other,” Paredes told the The Washington Post. “We can keep everybody in the know on what’s happening in the classroom.”

Nearly 600 schools in 22 states have already adopted the program. To find out more about it, click here.

Are you happy with your school’s parent-teacher meetings? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.