Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Parent Teacher Conference Days

I have a beef and a question to ask of all the teachers out there regarding Parent Teacher Conference days.

In my home county of Frederick County Maryland, there are several days each year set aside for teachers to conduct parent teacher conferences. In the fall, because teachers meet with the parents of all kids, there are three days in a row in which there are half days, i.e. the students go in four hours late or leave three and a half hours early. In the spring, there are two days since the teachers don't meet with every child's parents. (I should note that the teachers my daughter has had are very reliable with email and are willing to meet if necessary).

The downside to these availabilities is that, of course, it messes with my schedule on a supreme level. I, of course, make time to meet with the teacher. But I also have to make arrangements for the care of my daughter on those other days when she goes in late or leaves early. That is hugely disruptive to my schedule and I am sure the schedules of every other parent. For example, one day students will go is four hours late. The next day, they will get dismissed three hours early.

So here is my question, why break the days up? Why do we have to disrupt two or three school days by late arrival or early dismissal when a whole day can be set aside for conferences and not disrupt multiple days for students and their parents. It is far easier to find care for my daughter for one full day off than two half days with different time frames.

I remember from my school day (oh so many years ago), I don't recall getting out early or going in late for parent teacher conferences. Back then teachers had full teacher planning days, where I assume planning, parent conferences and professional development took place. (I have to assume since when I was a kid, I just looked at the day off as a day off.) So when and why did it change. At least in Frederick County, teachers have professional development days separate from teacher work session days and separate from parent conference days. It seems incredibly inefficient.

I would love to see and explation for this structure.


SB7 said...

When I was growing up in Montgomery County we also had strings of multiple half-days in a row and I found it just as annoying as you do now.

The best reason I can think of is that it gives parents with inflexible schedules the choice of a couple of different days and times to meet with a teacher. If you consolidate those half days down to one full day and a parent has to work then they're just SOL. (Assuming of course that the parent and teacher can't or won't find another time slot that isn't during officially designated parent-teacher meeting time, which seems like the kind of assumption a large school system would make.)

Anonymous said...

I suspect is has to do with ADA. If the schools sees the kid, they get full ADA for the day. If there are no kids because the whole day is for conferences, no ADA.

It would be a lot easier for me to deal with a whole day off than a week of half days. Not to mention the kids would likely learn a lot more. Not too much gets done on the short days.

Gtoz said...

We did not get days off from school, either. Parent/Teachers met in the evening. Of course that was before the NEA invaded our education system.

Not only does the day (or half days) off mess up the parent's (i.e., taxpayer's) working schedule, it is a waste of gasoline to run a bus for only a half a day of school.