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!
This is something we have been doing at our Preschool for the past several years, just moving it to before school this school year. Our Lower school has also started this practice. I am hopeful that we can continue to iterate this practice to make it better for teachers and for families each year, and to spread the idea to others that might want to adopt the practice.