An Insider Look at Parent-Teacher Conferences


Hope Thomas, Staff Writer

While November is known nationally as a time to celebrate Thanksgiving, for Danbury High School students, it’s also the season of parent-teacher conferences. This year, conferences are taking place from November 21st – November 22nd. On Monday (November 21st), there are virtual conferences from 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM and in-person conferences from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM. On Tuesday (November 22nd), conferences will only be held virtually from 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM. Parents can sign up using Parent Square for appointments. 

Parent-teacher conferences are very important to many students. Srishti Ramakrishnan remarks, “I learn what I need to work on as this is the first time I’ve been given personal feedback.” In a classroom with over twenty-five students at times, it can be difficult for teachers to check-in with every student. Conferences designate time for each student to have insightful and specific feedback for improvements. The words of encouragement that teachers provide students during conferences often encourage students to continue striving for excellence throughout the year. For example, an anonymous student remarked how their chemistry teacher encouraged them to be more confident in their answers. Before this meeting, they were afraid of answering questions wrong. However, after their conference, they began to be more vocal in class and learned to love chemistry. Now, they hope to pursue a career in chemistry! Small pieces of encouragement from teachers during conferences truly guide students to see their strengths. 

One of the most unique aspects about parent-teacher conferences are teachers learning more about student’s personal lives. Teachers may inquire about a student’s hobbies, passions, strengths, and siblings. This information allows the student and teacher to form a bond beyond the classroom. When asked if she feels more connected to students after meeting their families, Ms. Hendrickson ecstatically responded, “Absolutely, I’m one of the few people that like the nosy parent.”

During parent-teacher conferences, understanding the parent perspective is extremely important. Parents can receive genuine feedback about their child’s progress. Prasad George consistently participated in parent-teacher conferences for his three children: Benjamin George (DHS Alumni), Priscilla George (DHS Alumni), and Andrew George (sophomore). He values these meetings by saying, “I get to know the teacher which creates a sense of accountability. I will know whom to contact if there is a need.” The relationship built between parents and teachers during conferences often persists throughout the rest of the year. 

Despite the many benefits that come from parent-teacher conferences, there are many who do not sign up for meetings. The rate of attendance for conferences significantly decreases as students age. When asked why her parents do not attend conferences, Y Nguyen explains, “my parents don’t speak English.” The diversity found in Danbury High School means students speak a plethora of languages in their individual homes. It can be very difficult for parents to communicate with teachers if there is a language barrier. 

Autumn Scott mentioned, “DHS has such a large Hispanic population that language barriers could be more of a widespread problem than understood.” Parents may wish to sign up for conferences but feel they cannot because they are not proficient in English. Students serving as translators may feel they have lost the purpose of conferences where teachers directly interact with parents. While there is no single way to solve this conflict, Danbury High School could consider using translators that can accommodate the most commonly spoken languages. 

Although conflicts have arisen from parent-teacher conferences, the meetings have overall proven to be successful. A designated time for personal feedback does not happen often, so parents and students should take advantage of this when possible. Danbury High School encourages as many students as possible to sign up for conferences to build deeper relationships with their teachers. The school hopes that the relationships formed through conferences willbring the community closer together.