This fall, the traditional parent-teacher conference looked a little different.
With Covid-19 protocols in place, in person conferences were out of the question.
“It’s a little challenging,” said Principal Doug Austin. “Obviously, being virtual is not as good as in person, but I think it is the better option we can offer.”
English Teacher Mary Lundquist felt virtual conferences were a benefit, both as a teacher and as a parent with children in the district.
“I really enjoyed it [virtual conferences],” said Lundquist. “There wasn’t as much hustle around the school trying to find their classrooms but I really missed the crowd. At the same time, we could just really focus on the information the teacher was presenting and it was easy.”
For her own conferences as a teacher, Lunquist learned new ways to interact with her students and their parents.
“I am going to learn from that and send a link in an email for the parents that signed up,” she said.
Counselors also had their opinions about how the new format would work.
“I think it helps that it gives families a bit more flexibility on scheduling by not having to come to the school,” said school counselor Anna Ruel. “I think there is some advantage from it.”
Teachers wanted to see their students’ and parents’ faces which could be problematic on a virtual platform like Zoom or Google Meets.
“I’m hoping parents unmute their cameras so we can see them,” said Lundquist. “ know that’s sometimes a challenge with some online classes.”
With few parents signed up the day of conferences, Lundquist was hoping more would attend.
“I think it could increase people showing up,” said Ruel. “ I feel at a High School level, parents are less likely to come to conferences [in person].”
With all the different modes of learning, like everything from online to hybrid, conferences might be even more important this year.
“Parents will want to connect with the teachers more,” said Ruel.
Even though some people might prefer online conferences, Principal Austin isn’t sure the model will remain.
“If it was a normal year,” he said, “ I think we would still do it in person.”