After spending a decade in the classroom it is no secret that this night, Parent-Teacher Conference night, is a favorite amoungest all teachers…NOT! It is a night full of anxiety because you never know how a parent will react to what you have to say about their child, whether bad or good, beleive it or not. (I actually had a parent get upset with me because I mentioned how well her son was doing in class, that he was a leader, and that he had big things coming!)
Anyways, thanks to Sarah Sparks and her blog on Parent-Teacher Conferences Get a Makeover, I was able to read about Ruth Hill Elementary School in Newnan, Georgia and how they take full advantage of these situations. We all know that getting parents and the community involved can be a daunting task, but what if it was as easy as just educating our parents on how to teach their children at home, as well as provide supplies to complete assignments?
One study shows that that over 75% of parents will be present at their schools open house and those numbers are almost dupilcated for a scheduled parent-teacher conference. These are crucial times in the learning process because we are given a gift. The gift is a face to face meeting with the parent(s) of our students where we have another opportunity to teach and make a difference in our students lives.
How you might be wondering? The teachers at Ruth Hill Elementary have their parents set a 60 day goal for their child and then model these activities for their parents so they know how to help their kids at home! After this 60 day period, they meet to discuss the process, make new goals, provide resources, set a date, and meet again. This process continues throughout the school year.
This model is called APTT (Academic Parent Teacher Team) and it was pioleted in Creighton School Distrcit in Arizona and is now used all across the country. Creighton School District has very high low income family rates, around 80%, and this model has shown to be very effective. It is used in cities around the U.S., Chicago and Houston to name a couple, as well as state wide use in Georgia and Wisconson.
This is one area that I missed as a teacher, the opportunity to teach my parents how to be teachers at home. Everyone wants more parent and community involvment, but this is different. This is different because parents are not just “involved”, they are actually empowed. These are parents who have activtely become a part of the education process.