- Spanish - Site Map - Contact
Union Student Safety HelpLine
Originally posted October 5, 2012
At Rosa Parks, there are 140 families with more than one child at our school. In previous years, parents had to come to the school for two, three, or four separate parent-teacher conferences in the fall and the spring. This system was not working well for families. So, we changed it up this year and scheduled family conferences. Families with more than one child met with all of their children’s teachers at once. This is how we did it.
1. Determine Sibling Matches – Our student data system tracks students with a Family ID. Siblings should share this number (we found a few cases that did not have matching Family IDs). After pulling the student information, we sorted it by Family ID and eliminated students that did not have siblings at Rosa Parks. To make scheduling easier, we then eliminated the duplicates so that we were working with just one row per family on the spreadsheet.
2. Schedule Conferences – One person creates the schedule for all of the family conferences. To create the family conference schedule, the person scheduling conferences has to look at each family, and then look at all of the teachers involved with the family to find a common time that all teachers are available.
3. Inform Teachers – Each teacher was given a schedule for his/her conferences. The schedule let them know the time, family name, other teachers, and location associated with the conference. The master schedule was sent out to all certified staff so that specialists could determine the conferences they needed and wanted to attend.
4. Inform Families – After creating the family conference schedule, the dates and times can easily be merged into a letter that goes home to families. We sent this letter home in English and Spanish because over 50% of our families speak Spanish.
5. Reschedule – We did our best to reschedule conferences for the entire family if they could not attend at their assigned time. Teachers coordinated this effort as needed. If it could not be rescheduled as a group, teachers scheduled individual conferences with students.
6. Conference – Families checked in at the office when they arrived. The receptionist directed them to their family conference location where they met with all of the teachers of their children at once. Teachers used the time to learn about the children from the parents’ perspective and to share information from the classroom. Parents are the experts on their children. We wanted them to tell us how to better teach and connect with their child and family.
FEEDBACK FROM TEACHERS:
All of the feedback we received from families was positive. It was much easier for them to only have one conference. We completed a teacher survey after the event and this is what teachers wanted to share with colleagues about Family Conferences:
• Sometimes you just have to dive in to it. You can't necessarily have all you i's dotted. The comments from families were so positive. Having tenured teachers sitting with new teachers was so helpful in answering some of the questions about services at Rosa Parks.
• It is a nice way to see your co-workers in action!
• I didn't feel nervous with these family conferences. I hope the parents left the school feeling like their children have a wonderful support team at school.
• I had more parents show up and they left happy, knowing they were finished with their children’s conferences.
• It was great hearing what other teachers are doing in their classrooms.
• The connections we made with the parents were wonderful. The feeling from the parents that we cared not only about their children, but about them as well was worth it.
• It showed the families that we are interested in meeting their needs.
• When there is difficult news to share, you have support from other teachers who have worked with a child that can share their experiences as well.
• Having the support of other teachers who are experiencing similar things in their classroom is very helpful.
• It was nice having a more global outlook of the school and not just my little corner of the world.
• Builds community: teacher/child; teacher/child's sibling; teacher/family; teacher/teacher; teacher/family/specialists.
Erin N. Velez
Parent & Community Liaison
Union Public Schools
Rosa Parks Elementary