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CMSD considers revamping parent-teacher conferences

CMSD will study ways of making parent-teacher conferences more convenient and inviting for families.
A section of The Cleveland Plan, the District's state-approved blueprint for reform, requires that all parents or caregivers have face-to-face contact with their children's schools at a parent-teacher conference, open house or other event by December. There are no penalties for parents who fail to comply.
Data show that 63 percent of families have had such contact this school year, though some occurred after the deadline. In a conference call with District representatives Friday, State Rep. Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat who sponsored The Cleveland Plan, asked what the District was doing to move participation toward 100 percent.
Tracy Hill, executive director of family and community engagement, said recommendations call for extending hours for the semiannual conferences. In the past, the conferences, arranged in conjunction with the teachers union, have been held immediately after school at a time when parents were to also pick up their children's report cards.
Hill said some parents have said the conferences don't go much beyond the report card pickup. She said recommendations also call for sharing more student data with the parents, providing advice on helping at home and conducting the conferences during grading periods so there is time to intervene.
This school year's participation rate could increase after interim reports are sent home in the next two weeks. After that, Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon will send a letter to the remaining parents and caregivers, notifying them that they will have another opportunity when spring conferences are held March 21. Williams agreed to add her name to the letter.
The Whitney M. Young Leadership Academy, for sixth through 12th grades, led the District in contact with parents, reporting face-to-face meetings with with 87.6 percent.