The Norman Transcript

October 19, 2012

Is it important to attend parent-teacher conferences?


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Q: My daughter makes good grades and doesn’t get in trouble at school. She has friends and is involved in our church youth group. My husband and I are wondering about the importance of attending parent/teacher conferences, as we are very busy people.

— Kelly, Norman

Dear Kelly,

In this day and age, we all live busy lives. However, we feel there is nothing more important than your child’s education. Parent/teacher conferences are not just for the “bad” kids. It’s designed to let you get to know the teachers and their expectations. Just being able to put a face with a name and seeing where classrooms are can be great conversation-starters with your daughter.

Teachers spend a lot of hours with students and, believe it or not, sometimes our kids don’t act the same way around us as they do others. We feel a great gift to give our children is to be involved in their education until they walk across that stage.

Q: Our third-grade daughter is nothing like her older brother and sister. She doesn’t like going to school at all, only wants to read what she’s interested in reading and despises writing. She’s actually very smart but just doesn’t enjoy school. At this point, we are beginning to consider private school. Can you tell me the pros and cons of private vs. public school?

— Gina, Moore

Dear Gina,

With 49 years of public education experience between the two of us, we do not feel we are the best source of pros and cons of private education. Our feeling is this — school is school. Your daughter will be required to read and write no matter where she attends.

Perhaps there could be an underlying reason for your daughter’s dislike of school. Is this problem new this year? We suggest talking to her teacher(s) and seeing what her behavior is like in the classroom.

From our own experience, one of our kids came home crying saying how badly he hated school, yet the teacher said he was delightful in class and never seemed to have a problem.

If you choose to go the private school route, we suggest taking your daughter for a visit and really investigating the school so you can be satisfied with your decision.

Q: My son will soon turn 18 and is a senior in high school. I have just been informed that once he turns 18, he’ll be able to check himself out of school and block me from his records. Is this true?

— Bob, Oklahoma City

Dear Bob,

Yes, this is true … just as it’s true that doctors don’t have to discuss your child’s medical issues with you once they are 18. Our hope is that you have the kind of parent/child relationship where this would not even become an issue.

Attendance secretaries are vigilant about students’ attendance records, and if missed days or truancy become a problem, the grade-level principal will be notified. In some cases, the resource police officers can even write tickets for truant students.

Q: My neighbor told me her eighth-grade son qualified for Oklahoma’s Promise and now has a four-year college scholarship. Can you please tell me what that is and what I need to do to apply?

— Susan

Dear Susan,

The Oklahoma’s Promise program pays for college tuition to an Oklahoma college or university. The requirements are 1) must be an Oklahoma resident, 2) must apply when student is in eighth, ninth or tenth-grade year, 3) must be the child of parents who earn $50,000/year or less and 4) must meet the curriculum and grade point average. Please go to okpromise.org for complete information. It’s a great program.

Sally and Jeannie are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children,Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily reflect the views of any certain school district. Send questions to questions.classact@gmail.com.

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