School has been in session for several weeks now. Time for report cards and parent-teacher conferences.

In elementary school, parents are strongly encouraged to meet with teachers, but by high school, far fewer parents show up.

How unfortunate, especially when the high school years are where your child’s academic record is established and will be used for college admissions, employment and military recruiting.

Parents and teachers should be partners in the education of a child. Parent should know their child’s teachers and vice-versa.

Consider these issues:

1. Many parents rely on their child to convey an accurate assessment of classroom activities. Don’t assume your child will give you all the facts.

If your child is not doing well and you haven’t talked with the teacher, you probably don’t have a complete picture.

2. Your child’s success depends on the classroom environment. If that environment is not conducive to learning, this needs to be addressed early in the school year. There may be problems such as class disruptions or a class size that’s too large. Determine what’s going on in your child’s classroom and communicate your concerns to the school’s administration.

3. Every teacher may not view your child the same. In one class he may be seen as laid-back and reserved, but in another he may be viewed as outgoing. Get to know how your child is perceived and work to address problematic issues.

4. Include your child in the conference. Your child needs to know that you support him and want to work with him and his teachers to create a positive learning environment. Discuss with your child any concerns he may have about a teacher or class before attending the conference.

Have him come up with solutions to any issues that may exist, such as how to improve grades, turn in better papers and projects, etc.

5. During the conference, never say anything negative about your child, such as calling him lazy or unfocused, and don’t allow such things to be voiced by the teacher. Instead, keep the meeting positive and work to create a plan that establishes accountability from everyone – student, teacher and parent.

Ultimately, the academic success of a student depends on his desire to achieve, but every student will need the support of his parents and teachers.

So, schedule that parent-teacher conference. Come prepared with questions, and meet with all teachers involved in your child’s education. This will set the stage for a successful school year.

Macie Caldwell is owner of Macie Caldwell Consulting Services (, a Charlotte business that provides information, tools and resources to parents, students and organizations to assist in preparing students early for college.

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