October is known to be a month full of scares, but parent teacher conferences shouldn’t cause you any fear! This month we’ve put together resources to help you tackle your upcoming conferences with ease. Check out the tips below for both in-person and virtual conferences!
Do you have students struggling or feeling uncomfortable in class? Explore this article from Edutopia to support a safe and inclusive environment for your students. Learn more about students who may have different needs to feel safe and included in the classroom. One way to learn more is through training from Equality Florida. The more deliberate teachers can be about creating safe and inclusive classrooms the better the classroom environment for everyone.
5 Questions You Should Consider When Reviewing Your School’s Online Presence
With COVID-19 temporarily moving much of our lives online, now is the perfect time to review your school’s online presence. For many families, the first impression of your school is just a click away. It’s not enough to simply list your school’s mission, vision, and values anymore. Instead, a good online presence will demonstrate the overall philosophy and culture of your school. What does one click reveal about your school?
What is the purpose of your site? Is it a learning hub or hub of school information?
A hub of information- make sure to include easy to update calendars and important dates, downloadable newsletters, photos of activities and celebrations, and links to community resources for parents and families
Learning hub for students- provide password protected links to the school’s e-learning platform as well as links to other resources for students and families to access at home. Find alist of resources here!
Does your website reflect and respect the diversity at your school?
Ask your families how they feel your school is bridging racial, class, and cultural differences. Consider the survey on page 12 ofthis documentfrom the Nebraska Department of Education.
How well does your website foster two-way communication with parents & families?
Make the link to communicate easy to find on your website.
Link your social media pages so that families can follow along with school events and interact in a way that is easy for them.
Ask your parents and families how they feel about your school!
Click hereto find surveys for parents & families, checklists, needs assessments for new families, and more.
Are you staying current with the times?
Given our current national situation, consider how out of touch it might seem to have no mention of virtual learning plans, technology, contingency plans, or virtual communication on your school’s website.
For ideas on what to include in your learning planclick here!
What does your school’s social media say about your culture and philosophy?
Remember to demonstrate your mission, vision, and values. If collaborative learning is important to your mission, reflect this by sharing photos of group science experiments, posting videos from daily classes, or tweeting about the activities of your debate team.
Be sure your images and videos are current and show off what makes your school unique. Stock images and photos from other websites do not have the same effect as snapshots from a day in the life of your students.
Maintain consistent branding between your website and social media sites. Parents looking to learn more about your school should be able to easily identify your school from the matching branding.
For tips on how other administrators are using social media at their schools click here!
Frameworks of Tampa Bay is a nonprofit organization that empowers educators, youth services professionals, and parents and guardians with training, coaching, and research-based resources to equip students with social and emotional skills.Read more about the courses they offer here. For more information please contact:
Saima Qadree- Program Development Officer
Student-Led Conferences offer an opportunity for students to take ownership of their learning and lead the conversation about their progress. Though these conferences require a little more preparation, the student-led approach solves some of the biggest headaches and pitfalls associated with parent conferences.
Will they even show up?– Attendance improves when parents are encouraged to attend with their children.
Parents are more likely to attend knowing their students are the stars of the show. Not only will parents get to see their child shine in a leadership role, but they will also receive valuable information about success and opportunities directly from their child.
Lack of follow through – Knowing they must discuss their successes and challenges with parents encourages students to take ownership of their learning all year!
Student-Led Conferences ensure that students are reflecting on their performance, recording progress, and setting personal and academic goals. Parents are encouraged to partner with teachers to provide support for the student’s goals.
Defensive Parents – When students lead the conversation, parents are more likely to show support and encouragement rather than anger and defensiveness.
When students are responsible for explaining their growth and progress, teachers no longer need to justify the areas that students are struggling. Parents hear directly from the student and are able to brainstorm solutions with the teacher and student to become a part of their student’s growth.
Want to learn more? If you are interested in trying Student-Led Conferences at your school, consider attending one of our online webinars or contact your regional coordinator to schedule an in-person session at your school!
Check out these exciting free resources for the month of October!
Reading Eggs through Edmentum: Looking for support for your struggling readers aged 2-13? Reading Eggs is an award-winning program that uses games to engage students in learning to read. Reading Eggs is offering a FREE 4-week trial through October 31st.
Book It!:BOOK IT!motivates children to read by rewarding their reading accomplishments with praise, recognition and pizza from Pizza Hut. The program is simple, flexible, fun and free to use in your classroom! BOOK IT! was created in 1984 and currently reaches more than 14 million students and 37,000 K-6 grade schools annually.
Lead4change: Lead4Change is a FREE leadership program where students identify and use their leadership skills by doing a service project. The ready to use lesson plans will take you through the steps of leadership and service. All resources are available to registered members for free.
Are you feeling concerned about having the clear, honest, and difficult conversation with some of your students’ parents? It’s important to remember (and to remind your teachers) that in order to build a positive growth mindset in our students, we must first be honest about the real progress or lack of progress our students are making!
Remember good feedback includes clear, coherent, actionable, timely, and honest information about student progress. One assessment or assignment should not tell the whole story of a student’s academic status. Consider the option of creating a student portfolio of work. This way, students and parents can see a more complete picture of performance and growth in the classroom. This may even be a great way of initiating student-led conferences in your classroom!
Check Out these Resources for Students with Unique Abilities!
Shriners Hospitals for Children is teaming up with the legendary rock band Foreigner to remake a classic and sell the group’s CD’s as a fundraiser. The band is donating a version of their chart-topping song, “I Want to Know What Love Is,” which was recently recorded and sung by band members and children who are Shriners patients in Tampa. Watch this inspirational video and see how you can help support the Shriners Hospital right here in Florida! Click here to learn more!
For schools serving students with unique abilities, theFlorida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) is a wonderful resource. FDLRS Centers across the state provide an array of instructional and technical support services to school district Exceptional Student Education programs statewide. The four central functions of each FDLRS Associate Center are Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development, and Technology. Find your local FDLRS center for free professional development related to serving exceptional student education, parent information and training, adaptive technology resources and much, much more!