Even before parent-teacher conferences began Wednesday afternoon, parent participation had already topped last year's high levels.
Just under 85 percent of parents and caregivers had attended conferences and other meaningful meetings with their children's teachers prior to Wednesday. Last year, the figure was 80 percent for the entire 2014-15 school year, up from 73.2 percent the previous year, the first time data was kept.
The state law behind The Cleveland Plan, a customized blueprint for education reform in the city, calls for parents and caregivers to meet with their children's teachers by December, but CMSD continues to encourage and count participation after the deadline. The law sets no penalty, which makes the numbers even more impressive.
CMSD has spurred participation by offering different styles of conferences and providing parents with student data and other important information.
Approaches have included student-led conferences, where students who have been trained in the method discuss their progress and set goals for themselves. Other schools have instituted Academic Parent Teacher Teams, which meet several times a year to review student data, or “clinic style” conferences, with teachers grouped at individual stations in the same room for parents’ convenience.