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Families Value Time with Teachers During Conferences

Family-teacher conferences can be nerve-wracking for some. Norris Middle student Emma McAdams sees the meetings as an opportunity.
“I like sitting with my parents during the conference,” McAdams said. She appreciates having a shared conversation with her parents and teacher.
Omaha Public Schools connected families with teachers in October during two days of conferences at each level. The meetings offered an update on each student’s academic progress and overall well-being. Teachers often review assignments, tests and homework.

“Conferences are great for families to meet the teachers and hear more in-depth how their students are doing,” says Buena Vista High Principal Carrie Carr, Ed.D. “It also facilitates a communication network if anything arises in the future.”
Cheryl White is a reading teacher at Norris Middle. She reminds families that conferences aren’t just about what a student is doing right or wrong.
“It’s about being with the family and seeing the student as a whole learner rather than a score in the grade book,” said White.
Norris Middle parent Guadalupe Perez-Aguilar attended conferences with her daughter. She said these meetings are one of the school's most meaningful events.
“You’re able to ask questions, get to know the curriculum, what classes they’re taking and what specifically they’re struggling with – and how I, as a parent, can help,” Perez-Aguilar said.

Student participation helps them get direct feedback. Students work ahead of time to prepare a portfolio for families to see. During the meeting, students may ask questions or guide their families through what they know.
“I want to include her. I want her to voice her opinion,” says Perez-Aguilar. “If my daughter disagrees with something, I want her to let me know.”
Conferences are essential to building a solid home-to-school relationship. These events help families stay engaged in their student’s learning.

“Knowing that family and school are on the same page and trying to help the student be successful is really important,” White said.
Omaha Public Schools will offer family-teacher conferences in the spring as well. Families can contact their student’s teachers or school with questions at any time.