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Parent-Teacher Conferences

Kids and teens do better in school when parents get involved. Attending parent–teacher conferences is one way to be involved and help your child succeed.

A parent–teacher conference is a great opportunity to:

The Basics

Parent–teacher conferences usually happen once or twice a year. They're brief meetings, lasting about 10–30 minutes. Most schools set aside specific dates and times for conferences, but if they conflict with your schedule, try to find another time that works. If you can't make it into school, ask your child's teacher if you can schedule a phone conference instead. If necessary, divorced parents can ask a teacher to schedule separate conferences.

Other school staff who support your child's learning may attend the conference too. An administrator might go at the request of the parent or teacher if an issue can't be resolved by the teacher alone. In some cases, the student may attend the conference, but parents also can ask for private time with the teacher.

Conferences focus on learning, although behavior and social concerns might be discussed. The teacher will review your child's progress, including strengths and areas in need of improvement. You also might talk about standardized test results, individualized education plans (IEP), and 504 education plans.

Before the Conference

Some parents track their child's schoolwork and progress and already know what they need to talk about with the teacher. Some may have been talking with teachers at IEP or 504 plan meetings. For those parents, the conference is a chance to update each other on how the student is doing. Other parents may be talking with the teacher for the first time.

Whether it's your first conversation with the teacher or one of many, it can help if you go prepared. Know ahead of time how your child is doing and what you want to discuss. Even if you know all is well, attending conferences shows your kids that you're interested in how they do in school.

These tips can help you make the most of those important meetings:

If any school-related problems arise, contact the teacher or other school staff by phone or email. You don't have to wait until parent–teacher conference time to handle your concerns.

During the Conference

Teachers usually meet with parents in back-to-back meetings, so try to be on time for your meeting.

At the meeting, remember to:

After the Conference

To follow up after the meeting:

Keep in mind that you and your child's teacher have the same goal: To help your child succeed in school.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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