Compiled by Elaine Inaba, Kent EA member & Lake Youngs Elementary Teacher

Organize for Conferences

  • Compile everything pertaining to each student into individual folders (at secondary -- by class), clearly labeled.
  • In each folder, put progress information and student artifacts in the order they will be presented, and decide ahead of time which pieces will be for parents to take home.
  • If other important papers for specific students need attention (such as permission slips that need to be signed), flag those with colored tab.
  • Finally, put the individual folders in order according to the appointment schedule.

Inform Parents

When discussing students, highlight the student's strengths and areas to work on in relation to the skills being taught. Have suggestions printed out for what the parents can do to help students at home, and ask about any concerns parents may have about the class or student progress.

Discuss Students Personally

Parents appreciate teachers who can discuss more than grades. They want to hear that their child is really known for his or her unique qualities. Take the time to share an anecdote or two about the student, letting parents know the ways in which the student contributes to the class. However, in order to maintain confidentiality, never compare a student with other classmates or discuss children with parents other than their own.


Listen carefully to concerns that are expressed and take notes if necessary on any follow-up steps. Keep a notebook handy. As parents ask questions or express concerns, jot them down and then follow-up with a phone call or email as soon as possible after the conference is over. Remain cordial and composed even if parents are upset about a classroom issue.