Parent Share Conferences

Before the start of the year, we invite parents to be the expert in a parent-teacher conference all about their child's interests/needs/etc.

Photo of Erin Carey
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By treating our parents as their child's first teacher and expert on their child, we involve them in the process of learning about their child and setting goals for that year's learning as well as learning well into the future. Parents are invited to come in to talk with all of their child's classroom teachers before the school year even begins. This way, they can share some of their home life with us - favorite toys and activities, books their children are interested in, songs their children love, and some of their family culture - to be incorporated in our classroom culture and in the building of that year's curriculum and environment. 

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Photo of Paul Kim
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Hi Erin. Thanks for sharing this idea. I like how it flips the idea of home visits which helps address all of the logistical issues that can exist for teachers. This is a great example of how the parent-teacher relationship can be institutionalized in a positive manner and shift some of the power dynamics.

I am wondering if you can share more information about how MVPS organizes these visits -- what does the invitation to parents look like? are there specific protocols for the conversations? how long are the conversations? Also, I am wondering what the participation rate is and is it consistent across all demographics.

Hope you will share more about your work. THANKS!

Photo of Erin Carey
Team

Paul,
Thanks so much for the great questions!
I know that these conferences happen from our youngest learners (infants) all the way through our lower school (4th grade this past year), but I work most closely with the preschool, so only have information for children from infants through our PreK 5 class.
The invitation to parents comes through our online parent communication system (we use a platform called Kaymbu, happy to chat with anyone who is more curious about that!) about a week and a half before school starts. Each classroom team sends out a short (about 30 seconds) intro video with text that looks something like this:

Dear PreK families,

We are so excited to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year! We cannot wait to meet you and your children, and are looking forward to spending the next year with you. We have included some helpful information and some important dates for the first part of the school year.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have!

Parent Share Conferences
Taking place on August 9 and 10, these conferences are designed to build relationships between parents and teachers. Please note: while we are so excited for the start of school to see your children, these conferences are for teachers and parents only.

Please sign up for a Parent Share Conference by clicking below.
Sign up for a conference.

If you are unable to attend a Parent Share Conference on the above dates, please know that we will be happy to set up a time with you during the first few weeks of school.



Parents are invited to sign up via SignUpGenius, and we have about a 85% participation rate (higher in the preschool ages and lower for our infants and toddlers).

Conversations are framed around a few standard questions, but are open to flow in an organic way. Teachers begin by asking parents to tell us about their child, their likes and dislikes, and about something fun they did over the summer. They can then follow that conversation, or have some question prompts to help them keep the conversation natural - If we were to fast forward time to next summer, what do you hope your child says about his/her experience in school this year? What's the story you hope he/she would tell? Is there anything else you can tell us about your child that you think would help us support his/her learning? Is there a question you hope we would ask you about your child?
The conversations are scheduled to last 15-20 minutes each, with an invitation to schedule another session should there be any more questions or other information to be shared.


I hope that all of this answered some of your questions! Please keep them coming and feel free to ask more or provide any feedback that you would like! We are always looking to improve!

Photo of Paul Kim
Team

Erin,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I forgot to mention I am a fan of MVPS. I have known Bo Adams for some years and am doing a presentation with Meg Cureton at NAIS Annual Conference in a few weeks.

I like the questions that are used in the conversations and see broad ranging applications. I am going to digest the additional information you shared and respond again. THANKS! Paul

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