For starters, parents can sign up online to reserve a time slot to meet with JGMS teachers on October 15th and October 29th. Based upon feedback from both parents and teachers, we have made a slight change in some of the conference formats. All math, science, English and social studies teachers will collaborate in a team centered approach during parent-teacher conferences this fall. As a reminder, your JGMS middle school students are placed on one of the following grade level academic teams: 6 Yellow, 6 Orange, 7 Navy, 7 Purple, 8 Green & 8 Grey. All teacher-parent conferences for our special education teachers, guidance counselors, foreign language teachers and arts and wellness teachers will be still individual based. An informational letter was mailed home last week and it outlines the teacher-parent registration process with instructions to access the website. Please note that number of conference time slots available are limited and the duration of the conferences are ten minutes.
Given the varied formats and the limited amount of time for parent-teacher conferences, the following resources and list of suggestions could be useful for you to make the most of this time. The Harvard Family Research Project provided a series of tips for parents to use. The Harvard Tip Sheet for Parents is attached, however the 3 recommendations below will hopefully be prove to be useful in framing a conversation during parent-teacher conferences so that time can be used effectively:
1. Talk with your student before the conference. Take advantage of this opportunity to better understand your student’s perception of their own learning. Understanding your student's self-assessment before parent-teacher conferences will also allow you to identify any meta-cognitive blind spots that your student currently has of their learning. Additionally, talking with your student before hand will provide you with a nice compare and contrast after communicating directly with your student's teachers. Be sure to follow up with your student afterwards.
2. Don’t become too overly focused upon specific assignments or get into a debate over grades during teacher-parent conferences. This prioritizes grading over your child’s learning and other communication methods can better provide you with this type of information. Instead, please check the Bedford Public School Aspen website for learn about graded assignments in your student’s classes ahead of time. Also progress reports and quarterly grades will communicate similar information with comments provided by our teachers. Please remember that you can always directly email your student’s teachers about specific tests, quizzes, projects and assignments.
3. Instead focus upon student learning, growth and areas for improvement. Come prepared with a list of questions that you would like to ask the teachers. Be prepared to both listen and ask questions. A successful parent-teacher conference will frame a discussion around learning, provide examples of progress and also highlight areas for improvement. Teachers may share artifacts of learning as an example to illustrate a main point they are stressing in the conversation.
Besides for these three general tips for parents, the following linked resources can be helpful as you prepare for conferences. The website edutopia has an article titled, “5 Resources for Parent-Teacher Conferences”. Also nprEd has an excellent article which is appropriately titled given the format of our JGMS parent-teacher conferences, “How to Make the Most of Your 10 Minutes With Teacher”. Also, the Scholastic website has an article titled, "Make the Most of Your Teacher Conference".
Finally, please do not fear if you were unable to reserves a conference time slot with your student’s academic team. You can always communicate with our teachers in other ways. Here is a complete list of all JGMS faculty members with email addresses. Additionally, you can always call John Glenn Middle School at (781) 275-3201.