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Tips on what to ask during pandemic parent-teacher conferences

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s time for spring semester parent-teacher conferences. With so many changes at school, our Olivia Lyons got some expert advice for parents going to meet with their children’s teachers.

Reporter Olivia Lyons: Students have now been in school for one year since the start of the pandemic. So, during parent-teacher conferences, what should you as a parent be asking your student’s teachers?

Ed Dechen/Fifth-grade teacher: How are they adjusting socially? Are they anxious to be back at school? That’s kind of my number one.

Melissa Solomon is a school counselor at Rutland Intermediate School. She suggests parents ask about their child’s strengths, which subjects they like and what can parents do to assist their student.

“If they like school. If they’re happy here. A lot of kids don’t like to learn or to read or to write, but they’re with their friends and it’s been tough this past year,” Solomon said.

Rutland City Public Schools had their conferences last week. All the parents I spoke with say they took part and suggest parents in other districts do, as well.

“You want to know how your kids are doing and making sure that everything is going well in school,” parent Christine Corbin said.

“It’s awesome,” parent Sherlyn Anderson said. “It works either way, in-person or on a phone call or Skype or Zoom.”

Rutland Intermediate School Principal Kerry Coarse says parent-teacher conferences went remarkably well this year.

“As a school, we had about 85% participation, which is pretty astounding,” Coarse said.

For the first time ever, Dechen met with every family. He says the ease of talking virtually was a big contributing factor to getting all parents to participate.

“I had a meets with a parent who was in their car because they had just finished work,” Dechen said.

Does Coarse intend to keep the virtual format after the pandemic?

“Absolutely, yeah,” the principal said. “There are so many things from this past year that we will continue. Some we will gladly leave behind.”

Proving we have gained some positives from the pandemic.

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