Gradebooks are a great starting point but what if we extend their functionality to have continuous dialogue?

Parent/teacher/student conferences should be a continuous dialogue rather than a 15-minute meeting twice a year.

Photo of Revathi Balakrishnan
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Is a parent-teacher-student conference any different than a doctor-patient talk? 

Just as a doctor and a patient have a continuous dialogue regarding the patient's health, so must there be a continuous dialog between parent and teacher and child regarding the child's education. This means creating systems and processes that facilitate this. 

Just like hospitals are creating health charts online which keep updating the results of blood tests that patients can access any time, schools should create online educational charts for each student (MyEducation) that parents and students can check in on from time to time. Gradebooks are a great starting point but what if we extend the functionality of the gradebooks to capture notes that the teacher sees fit to include? 

These could be (apart from grades and other relevant scores determined by the district)

Kudos notes: "Your child has improved on his organizational skills." can be written as "I noticed today that he had all his papers with him when I asked the class to take out their math work. Happy to see that his organizational skills are improving.'

Improvement notes: "Keeping his materials organized is one of the goals that we had decided on. I notice that he is still struggling with this. How can we help him with this?"

Points to talk about during conferences: This kind of communication can make a 15-minute conference more productive since teachers don't have to bring parents up to speed.

Professionalism: Makes the teacher/student/parent conference more professional by sticking to the facts, everything is on record. All plans are documented.

Parent and Teacher Dialog screen: This is where the official communication takes place so that everything is logged in.

Schools decide what is an appropriate amount and frequency of notes, minimum and maximum limit of notes so to not overwhelm the teacher or parent.

 As for benefits, there are many as outlined in the link provided for a healthcare system but viewed through the lens of education.

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe something you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research.

Best practices abound. It is up to us to take them and tweak them to our profession.


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Photo of Clint Heitz

Revathi - Your idea fits in wonderfully with the one I've got in the selection process. If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the posts and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea. Thanks!

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