CMSD continues to see gains in parent participation.
Parents and caregivers representing nearly 55 percent of the District’s students have had conferences with their children’s teachers so far this school year. That is up about 4 points from the same point last year.
The state law behind The Cleveland Plan,
a citywide blueprint for education reform, requires parents to meet face-to-face with their children’s teachers by mid-December but does not carry penalties.
CMSD, which has nearly 39,000 students, continues to push opportunities for contact even after the deadline. Participation reached 80 percent by the end of the 2014-15 school year, up from 73.2 percent the previous year, the first time the data was kept.
“Our parents are coming,” said Tracy Hill, CMSD’s executive director of family and community engagement. “They are taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with staff around their children’s education.”
In the latest data, elementary schools continued to report higher participation, increasing 5.4 points to 60 percent. High school participation rose 2.6 points to 44.3 percent.
Three elementary schools – Buhrer Dual Language, Clark and Louisa May Alcott – reported participation of 90 percent or higher, with Buhrer hitting 99 percent. Twenty-five schools reached 70 percent or more.
CMSD attempts to spur participation by offering different styles of conferences and providing parents with student data and other important information.
Approaches include student-led conferences, where students who have been trained in the method discuss their progress and set goals for themselves. Six elementary schools and one high school have adopted the strategy.
Four schools are piloting the use of Academic Parent Teacher Teams
this year in kindergarten and first grade. Instead of individual meetings once or twice a year, parents and teachers hold three 75-minute meetings throughout the year.
Thirteen schools, mostly high schools, offer “clinic style” conferences, with teachers grouped at individual stations in the same room for parents’ convenience.
The District conducted phone surveys with 4,973 parents after conferences were held in late October. According to Hill, 90 percent said they felt welcome and found the conferences to be meaningful.