Event fosters belonging

Children and their parents don’t always walk out of parent-teacher conferences with a smile on their faces, but this year Oskaloosa Middle School is hoping they all will.

In addition to traditional conference times, offered from 1-4 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.Thursday and 8:30-11 a.m. Friday, the school will host a Family Fun Night complete with teacher-led workshops, games, Book Fair and a barbecued dinner.

“We are doing parent-teacher conferences a little bit differently this year,” said Principal Andy Hotek. “In recent years, communication between school and home has grown exponentially, and with that we have noticed that attendance at parent-teacher conferences is dropping because now parents
are continuously informed.”

Using Parent Portal, guardians are able to check their students’ performance in the classroom from the comfort of their own homes. Email, the My
Homework smartphone application and student Chrome Books have allowed for students and their parents to be constantly connected.

“The format we have been using for conferences was set up in the ages where we did not have all these forms of technology and it was the one time that parents could get together with their students’ teacher,” Hotek explained. “We think it’s time that this format is changed.”

This year, Thursday evening will provide Indian students a time to introduce their parents to the school and several of the programs going on inside of it.

From 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Hotek will be on site greeting parents in between flipping pork burgers and hot dogs on a grill donated by Hy-Vee

After a tailgate-style dinner, parents will have a chance to hear student testimony expelling how involvement with Oskaloosa Concession Stand
[Y.E.S] is making a positive impact in their lives.

Parents will also be able to attend a workshop to better understand what’s going on in their child’s school.

Topics include How to Borrow E-Books from the Oskaloosa Library, Understanding MAP/Iowa Assessments, Google Classroom and more.

“What we really hope to do this year is welcome parents to school,” said Hotek. “We like to see parent participation, and this [night] won’t necessarily be about checking their students’ grades, but rather a time for them to see what’s going on at school and to create a greater sense of connectedness and belonging.”

Story provided by Danielle Lunsford


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