At the small private school, kids have many of the same teachers from year to year, and because kids see so many teachers each week, the weekly staff meeting at times will discuss specific issues with students. Even when we moved cross country and started at a new school, the new school wanted to hear about how the previous year had gone. They were happy to have the information from us, but before the beginning of the school year. It wasn't discussed at conference but at enrollment.
Yes, my experience too. My eldest entered school after a lifetime of unschooling and we met with the school to discuss placement. I had brought along a writing sample and the math textbook she'd recently used, though I left them in the car. The teacher asked to see them, so we got them. He looked it over and agreed to grade advancement on the spot. We also talked about dd's learning style, what she was looking for from her school experience, her out-of-school interests and what support she expected she would need in transitioning to school. My middle two also entered school after unschooling, but the last year of their unschooling was overseen by one of the teachers at the school in an umbrella-type homeschooling program. He knew my kids' abilities and interests really well, so he arranged their placement in advanced courses and discussed the reasoning with the teachers teaching those courses.
The teachers were made aware of my kids' unique needs at the time of enrolment. In fact the teachers' understanding and willingness to accommodate was the basis on which we made the decision to enrol.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
y dd's education for a long time but I feel like I have turned a corner now.
I agree with pp's who have cautioned that they would be worried about a teacher not knowing your dd's potential by now. In my experience it has meant that there are issues with something in the learning environment ranging from the teacher being set on not differentiating to poor classroom management and motivation skills. I suggest keeping a close eye on the work coming home to make sure it is what she needs.
For my DD, the work that comes home is not a full representation of what they do in the classroom-- thankfully. It's pretty much the type of thing you see when you are "teaching to the test" (ugh) but I know they do more than that. I'm not thrilled that they DO do so much teaching to the test, but there's nothing I'm going to do about it.
2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11
As said in this post, I volunteer a lot at the school and have since DD1 has started kindy 5 yrs ago. But, I work out of my home and both my girls are now FT in the same school so its easy for me to do the volunteering, if I had a nursling, it would not happen like it does. Also, our school is very small and several of the teachers have children at the school or did at one point. So by force of socializing, we know every teacher in the school for one reason or another. My kids find out on the last day of school the year before who their teacher is next fall and they spend time with the new teacher that day. Its also normal to email back and forth with the teacher over the summer regarding your child. Two years in a row, I have received a call the week before school starts from the teacher and she spent 20 mins talking about my daughter. So by the time November hit, DH and I were already talking to the teacher for some time and we had a lively discussion. We talked about the Acceleratd Reader etc and like OP said, some ideas for science since our daughter has a thing for science and also history. DH did that part since he volunteers at the school teaching a few things or as a guest speaker.
For my youngest, I had the teacher for my older daughter so it was more- what can I do to help with the class since she knew us already for years. She also knew my youngest since she was a tot and her history so she has also had a great first term. But again, a small school and you are there a lot, its very easy to approach you and all the teachers email back and forth to you, plus check it daily. It also helps that I run the bookfair so again, I communicate with all the teachers, reading spec, speech, librarians etc because they know me.
I agree with the OP, I would also bring a sample in if I am not seeing that come home. It took up 3-5 mins of the conference, she listened and did it in a friendly and helpful way and it made a difference. OTH, if she came in with guns loaded, a laundry list,, talk at the teacher etc (which I have seen other parents do in her situation IRL,) thats a different situation all together. Those parents always seem to have issues year after year.
On the question of how often I communicate with my children's teachers -- it depends.
My most common form of communication is an email. I've found it works the best because teachers are busy!!! Then they can read and respond at an appropriate break point in their day.
I volunteer twice a week at my kids school, and sometimes talk to the teachers for a moment then, but often I don't because it's usually a point where they are really busy. I volunteer because I enjoy it and also because it helps me know what is going on, but I don't find it a great time to communicate. None the less, just being around the school as at times meant that a teacher mentioned something to me that I was glad to know about that I'm not sure I would have known without just bumping into them.
I have requested meetings at other times as needed, but it's really random. We had one with with a bunch of meetings because my DD was having a lot of problems, but during a smooth years, extra meetings are very infrequent.
Our conferences are 25 minutes...I've found that some of the teachers I haven't really cared for will cram as much material(samples of work done in class) into the conference as possible to avoid time for actual discussion.
If I have an actual issue I want to discuss I sort of will rehearse it in my head. If something comes out of the conference, or if some sort of action is to be taken then I will write it down so that I have the date in my mind.
One time one of my kids was supposed to have a speech eval, that was never done...sort of a long story, but the teacher had signed her name on the form with a statement she'd make a recommendation....but never followed through. The school was very disorganized at that time.
Thank you for this thread. I had another bad parent teacher conference yesterday. Teacher gives me a run down of all the reasons why she doesn't like me, my kid, and how behind my kid is...yet offers nothing to improve or help the situation. I suggest us starting to consider special ed or an IEP just to get eyes rolled at me. I also got an eye roll when I mentioned that I have a Early Childhood Development degree and that I am doing all I possibly know how to do for my daughter at home already (I really am, I am out of new ideas here). She is already in therapy, OT, special tutoring, has been held back a year, etc. Eventually you think the school would have an idea or a plan as to how to help this. Cause continuing to blame me for homeschooling her during kindy is getting us nowhere. I just don't know how to force the kid to talk in school when I am not there. And frankly home school is looking better and better again (all of her daily school work gets sent home unfinished for me to tackle with her any dang way).
Sorry for the vent. I have actually learned a lot from reading this thread and I am grateful for it.
As pp have said, you need to "start the clock" in a letter of request for an evaluation; the school has 60 days from the date they receive parental consent for evaluation to do the evaluation; your written request should note that this letter is the consent for evaluation. (And, if you did not do it in writing, it never happened!). If you are able I'd consider a private evaluation as well--perhaps at a place like this.
We ended up leaving a school in it's first year in a well-off superstar district due to how they mishandled my ds and completely overlooked his SNs while telling me he had none, and put him in a smaller charter that is working well for him. The special ed team at his current school is more on top of things--and ds isn't frozen with anxiety when he sees this principle.
I recommend reading "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy" for a guide to the process; Wrightslaw also has a book on IEPs.
Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents
If's she's already got outside services in place, you might not need another evaluation. I had private evals done while I was waiting for the school to schedule DS's first meeting. I brought the results in (from his private therapist and from his OT) and those replaced some that the school would have done. And really sped things up.
To update: I changed my dd's school during winter break. Her new teacher is wonderful. She is caring and concerned and has already got the ball rolling for testing and special classes (and dd has only been there 2 weeks!). She isn't finger pointing at all, she just wants to help my dd succeed. Such a difference! I am so happy that I changed her school. For us, it was the best thing I could have done. Thanks for all the help and advice. :)
Melaya (29) - Mom to Z (9) and soon to be I (due Nov 2013)
Birth mom to M (7), O (5), & C (2).