Push/pull parent conferences

Tradition is the reason behind most parent conferences. It's always been done this way.

Photo of Derek Moore
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In most cases, the parents that attend the conferences are there because they dutifully read the notices that have been disseminated a week before and attend because they always have. Those parents that don't attend are the ones that need to be there, but we still insist on following the same pattern of talking to parents 

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Photo of Clint Heitz

If you'd be willing, I would greatly appreciate your support for Guideposts to Success by heading to the post and leaving a positive evaluation, as well as suggestions to grow the idea even more and change the tradition! Thank you!

Photo of Lisa Abel-Palmieri

I think you are right on: "Those parents that don't attend are the ones that need to be there, but we still insist on following the same pattern of talking to parents "

How might we solve this? How about going out to them? Getting a sub and giving them for lunch or at home if they don't work? What other ideas?

Photo of Derek Moore

Seen a few experiments with alternative ideas. One was for the school counsellor to give the parents that should be there a personal phone call and chat one to one. Another idea is announce the parent conference, but indicate that only invited parents need apply.  I suspect that distance from school, available time, cultural assumptions about the role of teachers and parents and  historical baggage are some of the factors that contribute towards parents non participation, and it's very hard to guess which of the above factors predominate. It might be helpful to look at student and parent information records and see if their is a correlation between no show factors that have been identified compared against a register of parents that
did or did not attend. You may see a particular pattern and design an intervention that is based on this pattern. 
have or have not attended. 

Photo of Charles Ellenbogen

I've also been wondering about place. Do some parents - because of their own experiences as students and parents - have an aversion to even being in the school building? What would happen if we did it at a neutral site? Also, what would happen if we provided child care? Our parents who do come (not many) are often with 1 or more younger children which makes it hard for them to focus on the conversation.

Photo of Brett Brownell

Hey Derek, looks like your post hasn't been published yet. If you're done drafting, select the blue "Publish" button at the top of the post to have it added as an insight. Thanks for jumping into the Collaboration!

Photo of Derek Moore

Thanks Brett. Half formed idea here, still waiting to see if inspiration happens