TERRE HAUTE —
While details are still being ironed out, the Vigo County School Corp. is planning to reinstitute elementary parent-teacher conferences next fall.
In 2009, the state announced that schools could no longer schedule half-days for parent-teacher conferences, which is what Vigo County had been doing.
Now, the district is looking at scheduling adjustments that will allow elementary schools to resume parent-teacher conferences.
“We saw the value of parent/teacher conferences and we want to provide the opportunity,” said Christi Fenton, VCSC assistant director for elementary education.
Both parents and teachers value the conferences, which helps ensure “we’re on the same page in working with children,” she said.
According to Superintendent Dan Tanoos, “The School Board was very interested in us pursuing that, and Chrisi Fenton has done a phenomenal job working with the [Vigo County] Teachers Association, our principals and a committee.”
The district “will add planning time for [elementary teachers] through some unique scheduling,” Tanoos said. The changes will not create any additional costs to the school district.
Teachers will receive additional planning time throughout the year to make the conferences possible, Fenton said. Currently, elementary teachers receive three 40-minute planning periods per week. Under the proposed changes, they would have four 40-minute planning periods per week throughout the school year.
School officials will ask classroom teachers to meet with every parent in late October at the time children receive their first report cards.
While teachers may use all their planning time and schedule some conferences before and after school during a one- or two-week timeframe, in return, the teachers would have that additional planning time the rest of the year to compensate.
The district has had discussions with the Vigo County Teachers Association.
The district is able to add a planning period because of block scheduling used at the elementary level, Fenton said. The added planning period involves a time frame when classes are at the media center, which means media specialists will take on added responsibility during that added teacher planning period.
Even though parent-teacher conferences haven’t been part of the school calendar the past few years, teachers still have made accommodations to meet with parents if there was a concern or a need, Fenton said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.