Working together to improve education

Published 8:06 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

In a long-established tradition, students from Suffolk’s public schools will stay home today while their teachers wait in their classrooms for parents to show up for a talk. Some parents will do so, but many of those whose children would benefit most from such an opportunity will choose to avoid the meetings.

For most kids, parent-teacher conferences represent little more than a school holiday. For teachers and parents, however, they present a vital opportunity for the adults to team up to improve education. What’s necessary for that teamwork to happen, though, is the participation of both teachers and parents.

With teachers and parents as busy as they are, there are few opportunities for them to get one-on-one or two-on-one time to get to know each other and discuss the educational needs of the children whose best interests they share. This time is especially important for the parents of students who are not doing well in school or who have special needs.

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Much of the work done by school administrators — as opposed to teachers — is aimed at improving education for students in general. Parent-teacher conferences, on the other hand, can be one of the best tools for improving education on an individual basis.

If you have a child in one of Suffolk’s public schools, take advantage of today’s chance to get to know your child’s teacher. It could be one of the most important things you do for him all year.