Parent-Teacher Conferences: Critical to Student Outcomes

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Critical to Student Outcomes
Dr. Renée Greenfield, Head of School 博客
Listen to Renée read this article aloud.

We’re off and running with a new school year, and the excitement—the 乐观—among teachers and students are palpable. Foundational to a Carroll education is collaboration with families, and that gets started right away with the first parent-teacher conference of the school year.

What I’ve learned working with parents is that they come to conferences with a mix of emotions. And they’re looking to schools and teachers to deliver on three key fronts:

  • to know and appreciate their child, 
  • to understand how their child learns, and
  • to have a plan for their child.

在卡罗尔, 我们的 approach is purposeful and straightforward, and leads to some pretty impactful conferences and, 反过来, student outcomes.

Our dialogue during conferences is about what students 可以 do and what they are working towards. Absent from 我们的 conferences is discussion of what 我们的 students 不能做.

Here’s a peek at 我们的 approach:

Purposeful Design

Our 9月 parent-teacher conferences are the first of f我们的—是的, f我们的—that occur over the c我们的se of the school year. Among public and other independent schools, we offer twice as many opportunities for conferencing. Reallocating six days of classroom instruction to conferences is an intentional choice, because we recognize the invaluable role they play in the growth of each student. Here’s the sequence across the school year:

Parent-Teacher Conferences: Critical to Student Outcomes


  • We learn all we 可以 from new and returning families alike about their children—their strengths, areas where they have made progress, and areas where they want to grow.
  • Together with parents, we set goals for the year.

11月 & 3月

  • 借鉴 data—classroom measures, academic assessments, and recent neuropsych reports—we’re able to share with parents their student’s progress across all domains: academic, 社会, 情感, 和行为.
  • We also learn from parents how their child is responding to their individualized learning plan and to any instructional adjustments that may have been implemented earlier in the school year.


  • Year-end review and goal-setting for the next school year.
  • Many Grade 9 students as well as some middle schoolers participate in this final conference, helping them to practice their self-confidence, 自我意识, and self-advocacy skills.  

Partnership with Parents

When parents arrive for their conferences, they don’t meet with one teacher or advisor. They meet with their child’s entire teaching 团队, often five or more adults. It’s an approach that epitomizes 我们的 deeply collaborative approach. Educating students with dyslexia is 我们的 专业知识, and we’re eager to help families make sense of the neuroscience and data to better understand how their child learns. Families are the 最终 experts of their kids and we rely on their observations and feedback. When we learn directly from parents about their child, and when we come together to better understand 我们的 students and trust in one another’s 专业知识, we optimize their progress. We also recognize that every parent, 每一个家庭, is at a different place in their dyslexia j我们的ney; we meet them where they are.

A Learning Plan

Families don’t leave Carroll conferences wondering, “What’s next?” In addition to establishing goals, every parent-teacher conference defines an explicit learning plan going forward, whether that means staying the c我们的se or making adjustments. Integrating what we learn about each and every student from 他们的家庭 is critical to the design of that plan.

So, 是的, when 9月’s installment of conferences got underway earlier this month, I felt inspired and energized by all that’s to come for 我们的 students this school year. 在卡罗尔, parent-teacher conferences are just one of the many ways that 我们的 students and families experience transformation and 归属感.

Are you a current Carroll family with a memorable parent-teacher conference story? I invite you to share it with me –


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