Parent-teacher conferences both virtual and in-person

Parent-teacher conferences both virtual and in-person

By Farrah Fasse and Katie Madigan

Oct. 27 and 28, North hosted parent teacher conferences. For the first time ever, parents were given the option to attend conferences in person or virtually by making an appointment. English teacher Sarah Clinet thinks that parents having a choice in time and platform is beneficial. 

I do really like that parents are scheduling this year,” Clinet said. “I think it allows everyone a little bit more of a chance to make sure that they are seeing the people that they need to see.”

Parents received an email on Oct. 18 with a link to make a five minute appointment for their conference using the PTC Wizard scheduling system. Zoom conferences will occur on Oct. 27 and in-person conferences will be the next day on Oct. 28. Appointments can be made until Oct. 25. 

Assistant principal Katy Vernier says that although the Zoom conferences were designed to cater to families with COVID-19 concerns, their benefits extend further than that.

I think that providing the option allows families to choose the mode that is most suited to their needs

— Sarah Clinet

           “I’ve heard parents say that they really like the Zoom conferences because they can manage it while also managing their lives,” Vernier said. “The Zoom is also ideal for some families with jobs that are different times or families (with) , and it can just be helpful to do it from … the convenience of your own home.”

           Clinet also expresses the convenience of the online conferences, as they make it easier for parents to organize around their busy schedules. She believes that when parents don’t have to physically attend conferences, more will be able to meet with their children’s teachers because they can make the conferences work with their other plans.

“I think that providing the option allows families to choose the mode that is most suited to their needs,”  Clinet said. 

Business teacher Richard Cooper agrees with Clinet and Vernier that virtual conferences are more accessible to parents, and also believes that making appointments virtually allows him to talk with more parents. 

“There’ll be times, since I’m an elective teacher, I’ll get kind of a cluster of parents. And then I’m just kind of sitting there hanging out,” Cooper said. “And when it’s virtual, it’s like I’m back to back … I see that as a (positive) because, again, I get to talk to more parents and get to have more meaningful conversations.”

Vernier says that in addition to the appointment requirement, in-person conferences will have other changes as well. To follow COVID-19 protocols, teachers will be spread further out than usual, which will cause an overflow of some teachers into the Commons. She believes that this extra spacing will also help keep conversations between teachers and parents private. 

For Cooper, the main takeaway from conferences for parents should be a better understanding of their child’s classes and typical school day.

“(It helps them) kind of get a taste of what the actual class is about, and then also just to get a feel for me as a teacher,” Cooper said. “And so then what students do in the classroom, and then the conversations they have with their parents when they go home, everybody’s kind of on the same page.”