School Puts a Twist on Conferences Kids Get in on Parent-Teacher Time Together
Craven, Karen, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Karen Craven Daily Herald Staff Writer
Kindergartner Andrew Krajewski sat with his mother Barbara on Monday as his teacher praised his ability to recite his address and phone number.
At another school, Barbara might not have been able to bring Andrew with her to the annual parent-teacher conference, but at Oakbrook Elementary School in Wood Dale, students not only are welcome at the conferences, they lead them.
Andrew's teacher, Donna Breckenfelder, introduced the concept of student-led parent-teacher conferences three years ago. Since then, nine out of 15 teachers at the school have hopped on the bandwagon.
The conference is more than a conversation with the teacher. Parents visit work stations set up in the classroom where kids get to show off their reading skills and art work and demonstrate their knowledge of colors and shapes using blocks.
At one of the stations, parents and children sat down with the teacher to discuss the child's progress in school.
Parents like Krajewski said they prefer the format over the traditional parent-teacher conference because it gives them better insight into their children's performance.
Barbara Welmers, whose son Matthew is in first grade, likes that her son is included.
"It makes him feel important, and it makes me understand what he does everyday," Welmers said.
After they've visited all the stations, parents have juice and cookies with their children and are encouraged to make written evaluations.
One mother wrote she thought her daughter was struggling in school, but seeing the child in action made her feel better about her child's performance. Other parents said they learned where their children need to improve.
"It gives the parents a true picture of the school situation," Breckenfelder said.
The conference also fosters a better relationship between the student and teacher, parent and child and teacher and parent, Breckenfelder said. …