New conference schedule promotes early involvement

Second semester conferences are scheduled to be held a month apart rather than on consecutive nights to increase parent participation.

While it may seem as if it has only been a matter of days since school resumed session, preparations for second semester parent-teacher conferences are already underway. This semester, conferences are scheduled to take place on two different dates; the first on Thursday, Feb. 18 and the second on Thursday, March 6. On both days, conferences will be held in the evening from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

In past years, semester conferences have always been designated to take place on back-to-back evenings. Often, the turnout at the fall conferences is noticeably greater than the turnout in the spring. In order to solve this problem and increase attendance at the spring conferences, Dr. Sonny Arnel asked for the input of teachers in determining the date of the event.

Teachers were asked what they would like to be different in regards to conferences this semester. Each department offered suggestions, and Dr. Arnel met with the department chairs, as he does every month, to narrow these options down to the ones that were most reasonable. He then shared the choices with the faculty via a Google Doc, and teachers were given the opportunity to vote from among these options.

“Getting parents involved earlier was the thrust of the teachers’ focus,” Dr. Arnel said. “We want parents to be able to form partnerships with teachers early on.”

It was decided that the two dates would be spread out along the quarter rather than taking place during two consecutive nights right before spring break. Parents are encouraged to attend on both evenings. Holding one of the conferences at the beginning of the semester will give students the opportunity to make any necessary changes before the end of third quarter.

“One of the conferences will be held earlier in the quarter so that parents and teachers can discuss issues that students may be having and then come up with a plan for how those problems can be solved,” Dr. Arnel said.

Scheduling the conferences nearly a month apart will allow parents to address any potential academic concerns early on. This way, students will also receive the opportunity to work on third quarter grades before they are finalized. Parents will additionally be able to monitor their child’s progress throughout the quarter.

Once both conferences take place, Dr. Arnel will once again get together with the department chairs to evaluate the outcome. The turnout will be reviewed and the benefits of having two spread out conferences will be discussed. If holding conferences this way proves to be more successful than the usual back-to-back conferences, this change may potentially be implemented for coming years.