May 2021 Newsletter – Family-Teacher Conferences: Director’s Corner: Supporting the Process

Members of leadership are involved in family-teacher conferences differently, depending on the size and structure of the program. Teachers need to own the process as much as possible. Leaders should support teachers and empower them to step into this professional role. Here are a few ways that members of leadership can support the family-teacher conference process, whether it is in-person or virtual:

  • Scheduling – Setting up the program’s schedule for conferences will be necessary because room coverage will be required during conference time. This also means that the budget for payroll will be impacted by family-teacher conferences.
  • Creating clear goals – During a staff meeting, work with your team to create a list of goals for the conferences. Ask employees to brainstorm a list of goals, then come together and revise them to align with the overall goals of building relationships, improving communication, enhancing quality, and strengthening child development.
  • Promote participation – Be sure to encourage each family to sign up and participate in the conference process.
  • Identify and address barriers – It may be necessary to help families to participate, especially if you are using a virtual platform. Share detailed and easy-to-read instructions for preparing for a virtual meeting. If you discover that families cannot participate due to the timeslots offered, add additional timeslots at different times of the day.
  • Introduce the virtual meeting tool to staff – Teachers who are conducting virtual conferences should be able to “walk into the room” with confidence. Make sure each teacher is familiar with and comfortable using the virtual meeting space.
  • Practice scenarios – Conference conversations can be challenging. Help build confidence by role-playing different scenarios with your staff. This can be done individually, with teaching teams, or as a whole group during a staff meeting. Pick topics that are relevant to whole groups if you choose to work with the whole group – or allow teachers to pick their own challenging situations to role-play.
  • Help identify resources – Most programs have a list of outside resources that they share with families. Some resources may be more familiar to your staff than others. Be sure your resources list is up-to-date, accurate, and available to all. In some instances, additional research into resource options may be required. Help staff by doing some of that legwork.
  • Refreshments – If you are holding in-person conferences, it might be nice to provide light refreshments for the families who are participating.
  • Translation services – It may be necessary to employ the use of a translator during conferences. Leaders can take the lead on arranging translators once the conference schedule is set.
  • Documentation – Design or identify documentation tools that teachers can use to take notes and keep track of goals that are set during the meeting. You can work with your team to create a conference summary page that is partially filled out during teacher prep time. The rest of the tool can be completed during the conference and a copy can be given to families at the end of the conference.

For the main article Family-Teacher Conferences, CLICK HERE

For the article Things to Do Before Conferences, CLICK HERE

For the article Things to Do During Conferences, CLICK HERE

For the article Things to Do After Conferences, CLICK HERE