We’re a few weeks into school, and parent-teacher conferences are starting soon. KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen gets advice from an elementary school principal on how to make the most of your parent-teacher conference.
Here’s the edited interview with Molly O’Malley-Argueta, principal of Allegheny Traditional Academy in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Kristine Sorensen: What can parents do to make the most of a parent-teacher conference?
Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: Conferences are a place to build relationships and find out how the child is doing in their classroom. So it’s important to be in attendance, and it’s important to ask great questions of the teacher.
Kristine Sorensen: What kind of questions should we ask?
Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: You want to ask the normal questions, “How’s my child doing academically?” “How are they doing behaviorally? Socially?” But something that I always encourage parents to do is to start really thinking about growth mindset: The harder you work, the smarter you get.
When children are challenged, they get smarter. So a great question that a parent could ask is, “How is my child doing when he/she is challenged?” How did they react academically and socially, because it can be frustrating. When you think about when you’re challenged day to day, your body goes through different emotions, and so it’s important that our students are challenged and that they react positively to that challenge.
Kristine Sorensen: If parents can’t go to the parent-teacher conference at the designated time, the teachers still want to meet, right?
Principal Molly O’Malley-Arugeta: Absolutely. And parents need to relax. Do not stress about not being able to attend. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. We know things come up. And schools want to accommodate parents. So all you have to do is just call the principal or email the teacher and set up a time that works for you. We want you there, and we will accommodate any time that works for the parent.
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