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Three Strategies To Improve Parent-Teacher Conference Attendence

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Parent conferences are one of the best ways for a teacher to communicate with a student's family and help formulate strategies for improving learning both within the classroom and at home. Unfortunately, it can be hard to effectively schedule a meeting with every family, especially with the busy schedule's that many are contending with. The good news is that there are some strategies you can use to ensure every student gets the benefit of a parent-teacher conference.

Strategy #1: Utilize remote conference technology

It's much easier to have a conference remotely than it used to be. Phone conferences are the simplest method. This way a parent can more easily attend the conference while at work or even from home if they are unable to come into the school. You can even have a conference with multiple parents, such as the father and the mother, even if everyone is at a different location. Web conferencing is also becoming more common and easier to implement on the small scale of the parent-teacher conference. The benefit of web over phone is that you can upload information, such as student work, for both you and the parent to review together.

Strategy #2: Use a written conference format

Sometimes the problem for parents is the huge chunk of time an hour long conference takes up. Instead of long conferences once a semester, do mini written conferences once monthly. You can begin by emailing out action lists to each family -- these would include current progress as well as any individual notes on the student. The parent can then respond via email with any concerns they have. These notes can also be sent home, with the expectation that they will be returned promptly with a parent signature to show that the parent reviewed them. This ensures you keep in contact with parents even if they do not come to any actual conferences.

Strategy #3: Streamline conference scheduling

One issue for many busy families is working the conference into their schedule without overwhelming yours. This is where scheduling software can come in handy. The software will send out an alert to every parent on your email list when conference time comes around. You then upload your scheduled conference blocks and the parents can easily select the one that works best for them. This way you aren't trying to contact every family by phone and figure out a schedule that works for everyone. This gives you more time to focus on the actual conferences while giving the families an easier way to fit a conference into their schedule.