Dear RHS Families,
Being involved in your student's life at school and being an active partner with the school regarding their academic success are essential indicators for graduating on time and with choices. Also, if you stay informed about your student's classes and activities, you'll be better able to give him/her help or guidance when he/she needs it.
Meeting with your student's teachers for a brief chat at the beginning of the school year and during parent-teacher conferences is essential for establishing a good relationship with his/her teachers. It will make it easier for you to work together if problems arise during the year. Your student's teacher can also help you understand what your student experiences every day and inform you about his/her schoolwork and responsibilities.
Do you have college concerns? Worried about grades? Need to have a routine chat? Parents and teachers meet for a variety of reasons throughout the school year. Whatever your reason for visiting, it's important to remember that you and your student’s teachers are partners in helping your student in the transition to adulthood. The combined support of teachers, counselors, and you will be essential to help your child get on the right track to achieve his goals. As Parents-Teacher conferences approach, I thought perhaps the following tips might be of use before the conferences, and at any other time you meet with teachers:
To have a productive meeting, parents must ask questions.
1. Is my student giving his or her best effort?
Conferences are typically a time for teachers to walk parents through their student's grades, progress, and areas for growth. But grades don't always tell the full story. A bright teen could pull off acceptable grades with minimal effort, but teachers can often tell if a student is phoning it in. If this is the case, parents and teachers can work together to help the students work up to their potential.
2. What could my teen do that he or she is not already doing?
Almost every student has room for improvement, and in an increasingly competitive college admissions landscape, each grade or activity could count. Whether it's taking advantage of internship or extra credit opportunities, filling out college applications, or merely turning assignments in on time, teachers can tell parents what their student needs to do to make his/her academic performance to the next level.
3. What can I do to make your job easier?
Parents and teachers should be on the same team—the student's team. By investing time at home to ensure homework is done and teaching the teen to take ownership of his/her schoolwork, parents can help teachers do their job more effectively; "Place the responsibility for 'doing well' and turning in work on time on the person who has the most control over making that happen—the student themselves."
Some additional questions you may want to ask:
- How has my student performed in your class so far this year?
- What skills and knowledge will my child be learning in your class?
- Will my student complete any significant projects or term papers this year?
- How do you determine grades on assignments? How do you decide on her overall grade for the class?
- If my student is a fast learner, how can you and the school make sure he/she is challenged?
- Is this a college-track class? How does this class help students build skills to succeed in college?
- How can I help my students succeed in your class this year?
- What resources would help my student do her work better? Are there additional books or resources available at school or in the community that would help him/her?
Talk to Your Student Beforehand
Ask your student if he/she has any questions or concerns that they would like you to discuss with his teacher and find out what he/ she likes and dislikes about the class. Let your student know what you plan to talk about with the teacher - when your child is involved in decisions about his education, he/she is more likely to take responsibility for his/her work and performance.
Aside from any questions you have, it's also important to let your student's teacher know about your concerns or any circumstances that might affect his work in school. Update his/her teachers or high school counselor if any significant changes occur in your family. Some families are reluctant to reveal private matters, but you might consider merely alerting his counselor or teachers that your family is going through difficult times.
Keep an Open Mind
You may find the teacher has constructive feedback about your child. Keep an open mind to the teacher's comments. Neither your student nor his/her teacher is perfect, so if a problem arises, it's essential to consider both sides of the story. The best solution is one that helps your student succeed in school.
Take notes during your meeting to record the essential points that were made. Let your student know what you discussed and if you and his/her teacher made any decisions or came to any conclusions. Set up another meeting with the teacher, if necessary, to monitor your child's progress or to discuss any continuing problems or concerns. I hope you have a great Parent-Teacher conference time.
Thank you, and I look forward to saying hello!
Gia San Martin, RHS Principal