Parent Resource

Preparing for the Parent-Teacher Conference

by Dr. Samantha C. Sweeney, Ph.D., School Psychologist,

The second quarter of the school year has just ended in the Washington, DC area. This means that many children are receiving their second report card. For many children and families this is the critical report card. Children have gotten a chance to get settled into their new classroom. They are used to the routines and requirements in their classrooms. They know their teacher; they know the other students. By this time in the school year, the expectation is for children to be performing. But what if your child’s report card is not what you expected or what they expected? What if your child is struggling in one area or another? Now is the time to meet with the teacher. At many schools, this is automatic. All parents and caregivers meet with their child’s teacher to discuss progress thus far. However, if this has not already been set up, this is a good time to contact your child’s teacher and set up a meeting.


The following article helps parents make the best use of those precious few minutes with the teacher. I believe that the most important advice offered in this article is to come to the meeting prepared. Gather as much information from your child and his/her grade reports prior to the meeting. If you don’t, you will spend at least half of those 10-15 minutes just reviewing what has already been sent home. You want to be able to move into the problem-solving phase of the meeting as soon as possible and coming prepared is the best way to accomplish this. Additionally, it is important to approach the meeting as a partnership. Don’t assume that because your child is struggling that the teacher is doing anything wrong-or your child for that matter! There may be a number of things that influence why a child is having a hard time and putting your heads together as a team is going to help decipher and solve the problem.

So send out a quick email and schedule time with your child’s teacher. Even if your child is doing really well, it is worthwhile to meet. The teacher knows your child in a different context than you do and there is likely some information that he or she can provide that helps you better understand your child. Enjoy the article and the meeting!