Stay organized by using helpful checklists for the conference. The following is a list of useful items to include:
1. School characteristics and current academic performance data (completing homework, absence from school, testing grades, etc.).
2. feedback from the teacher regarding the student’s academic performance and specified problems (during the year and during the current semester).
3. calendar of upcoming scheduled appointments (maintenance, electives, extracurricular activities, etc.).
4. a list of professionals (books/books of reference, Lurkers, roam musicians, Advisors, special teachers, cafeteria helpers, special volunteers, etc.).
5. a list of professionals who make office visits (school term time nurse, library appointment trapper, etc.).
6. a list of activities (school trip, after school bus ride, summer camp, free time etc.).
7. a list of volunteer services (school volunteer program, other clubs/parties, in-school service, brainstorming time, shopping cooperative, etc.).
8. a list of volunteer phone calls (in addition to regular parent-teacher conferences).
9. a list of contests and scheduled assistive devices (For example: remote controls, pagers, an iPod, etc.).
Finally, the conference log should include a section for all-important conference information. Include:
1. date of the first day of the conference (should be in December to avoid conflicts with the school year).
2. the names of the alternate conference contact people (school counselors, special educators, medical consultants, etc.).
3. the date and location of a post-conference breakfast (typically on the first day after the conference is over).
4. the student’s name (and any conflicts with the parents regarding the student).
5. permission slips for medical and dental emergencies (for the parents as well as the main child).
In the conference log above, if a medical or dental emergency occurred, the parents would be notified and allowed a tryout ( Joshua: I had a stuck tongue). This would take place in the school nurse’s office. In other cases, there are coordination meetings held by the student’s group that handle problems over the phone. These meetings or a video of these are available on the web. This eliminates the need for constant calls between the parents and teachers.
Having a written record regarding the conference (including any emails sent by the primary teacher and/or the reading specialist) will help both the parents and the teacher(s) be aware of any potential problems that might occur or monitor the overall interaction between the teachers and the parents. It preserves the child’s privacy and protects the sessions from direct sunlight.
[Exumenmental note: A suggested reading log and/or questionnaire is one part of the eligibility meeting for the special education curriculum. Meet at your school district, learn by doing, participate in the development of the Child Finding Process. The final rule should be determined by the school district for the benefit of the student within the class and ultimately its education. All records must be kept for a specified period of time and must be central to the educational programming to assure proper child instruction and/or content protection. No exceptions.
Some families have already made such observations and have presented them to the educational specialists from the school. In these cases, the child may not be provided and participate in the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) process. Keep in mind, however, an IEP request must provide for options in hearing on the request but also, the child must be participating in the regular consideration of the IEP.]