Parent-Teacher Conference Makeover

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.



State of Educational Blogging – 2015

Read the FULL article here!

Using Blogs in your classroom to connect with students and engage them in their learning process?  As an educator we are constantly looking for ways to reach out students on a level that pushes the boundary of understanding to comprehension.

Educators across the world are turning to Blogs to provide students with an opportunity to communicate with peers in a format they are comfortable with that promotes collaboration and ownership.  Teaching students to own what they say and to think before they speak is incredibly powerful.  For those that work in schools and your kids have Facebook accounts, you know exactly what I mean!

This article will provide you insights on how blogs are used, best practices, and platforms that commonly used.  It is a great resource for those of you who are already using this avenue to engage participation in the learning process but more importantly for you who are interested but have not jumped in.


Educate Yourself on ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act has finally arrived provided educators some pleasure as we do not worry about the door hitting the No Child Left Behind Act on the way out.

ESSA will be in full effect for the 2017-2018 school year with an estimated 15 million dollars in grant money available.  That amount will raise slightly each year before breaking 16 million in 2020.  The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a great summary of the act, funding, goals, and purpose.

Click here to navigate to Education Week as they share with their subscribers inside scoop to how states, and districts will share more power under the ESSA Act and how your school can prepare to meet the new goals that have been set to receive maximum funding!

Additional resource!  Added on March 4, 2016.

TEDed – Every Kid Needs a Champion

MUST WATCH – Amazing video from TEDedCHAT with Rita Pierson.  Rita spent has been a teacher for 40 years and discusses the importance of relationships with our students.  She discusses in the video how colleague said to her, “They don’t pay me to like the kids.  They pay me to teach a lesson, the kids should learn it… case closed” Her response: “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

rita pierson

She challenges educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level and see where you can take them!