Hello Donna. This is something I have been struggling with for years now. I number of years ago I worked at a middle school and we played around with doing conferences in teams (how many times do we say the same thing about a student that every other teacher is going to say). One idea I have had would be to separate conferences into two groups. One group (maybe one night) would be a, "Hey, let's all hang out, drink some coffee, have a danish and talk about mu class. Kind of like a cocktail party. During this time parents can come over and meet you. Tell a few stories about their kids. They get to know your face and you get to know their face. Then, a different night where you invite (or parents could request a time) parents to come at a specific time. This is for kids who are having trouble. This is when you, the parents, and the kids could sit down and create a plan for success. Other teachers could be invited if there is an issue in more than one class. As noted above, I think it is really important for the kid to be a part of the conversation. In fact, I usually talk to the kids before the conferences and give them some talking points and have them lead the conference. Anyway, lots of ideas here. Sorry this is so long.