Kids with School Supplies

Autumn 2016 Parent Teacher Conferences

You and your son or daughter’s teacher(s) are partners in your child’s education. Fall parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner, and this is your opportunity to check in on your child’s progress and strengthen your partnership with his/her teacher.

Often the difference between a thriving student and one who is struggling is an involved parent or guardian. We talked to Steve Morford, Principal of Spearfish High School, about the importance of participating in Parent Teacher Conferences:



Should students attend conference meetings?

We leave it up to the parent whether to have kids with them – there are benefits and drawbacks. Most parents do not bring students. Many parents choose to come alone and are more comfortable with that option.


How has online grading impacted conference attendance?

Parent teacher conferences are different with gradebooks online instead of a book. Sometimes that makes parents feel like they don’t need to attend, but [attending conferences] creates a shared responsibility between the school and families, and [fosters] open communication that is simply not the same through technology.


Do parents of high schoolers attend conferences with the same frequency as parents of younger children?

You’re going to find that parents attend conferences more at a younger age, but high school students are heading into career readiness before they head to work or further education. It is important at this stage that parents and teachers communicate effectively, and this is best face-to-face.

Teachers are ready to share and go through student data and what they are doing. [The tone is] approachable [with an] emphasis on learning.



How should parents prepare for Parent Teacher Conferences?

That depends on your student. What is the goal for your student? Ask your student which questions they want to know from their teacher. Ask your student why their grades are the way they are.

Parents should be ready to receive feedback on why things are getting done in the classroom the way they are.

All kids are different and teachers know that. Each son and daughter is cared for as X and Y, [receiving] individualized instruction; students are not compared.

Parents should ask questions on homework material, and ask what the student’s behavior is like within the classroom.

Ask about the grading scale: each teacher can grade in a different way, but the scoring is the same. [An explanation] should be in the syllabus, but many parents don’t read or understand that.

Every class structure is a little different. Life is like that, and I wouldn’t want 45 of my teachers to do the same thing. Helping students become flexible learners is part of college and career readiness.


What can parents expect when they attend conferences?

If parents are lined up, you’ll have 10 – 15 minutes max per teacher. It is the parents’ prerogative to choose which teachers need to be spoken to, and to prioritize which to meet with. If you have more questions, be sure to schedule another time to meet. Any time you want to come, we can set it up through prep block.


Any other thoughts you’d like to share about Parent Teacher Conferences?

Spring is usually half of the autumn attendance, and we’re not sure why. Fall conferences help you support your student making a great start – spring conferences ensure you help them keep going strong until the end of the school year. Both meetings are important.

High attendance comes from parents who care about education, and whose children are often A & B students. Parents of IEP (Individualized Education Plan) students are also very good at coming, but these kids are already identified.

Your student is doing well because you care. We encourage all parents to attend Parent Teacher Conferences to support your children’s growth and learning.


Conference with Confidence - these questions can help
Conference with Confidence – these questions can help


These questions will help you Conference with Confidence, no matter your child’s age/grade:

  1. How is my child doing socially/emotionally?
  2. In what areas does my child need improvement?
  3. What is s(he) particularly good at?
  4. Academically, is he performing at grade level?
  5. Does s(he) need extra help in any areas?
  6. What specifically can we do to help at home?
  7. (If your child has an IEP) Have you (the teacher) read the IEP?
  8. What accommodations are being made for his/her IEP?
  9. (For tricky concerns) ______ has been a challenge this year. Can you tell me more about this? From your perspective, what are the best next steps we can take?
  10. Is there anything else I should know, and can I/we help you in any way?
  11. What is the best way to contact you?

School Conferences Across the Black Hills

Rapid City School District

Elementary School

Thursday, October 13,     4 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 20,     4 – 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 15     4-7:30 p.m.

Middle School

Thursday, October 6,        4 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 3,    4 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 17   4 – 7:30 p.m.

High School

Thursday, November 3,    4 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 3,    4 – 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 15,     4 – 7:30 p.m.

Rapid City High School

Thursday, September 29, 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 27,      4 – 7:30 p.m.



St. Paul’s Lutheran School

Wednesday, November 9

Thursday, November 10

Friday, November 11



Zion Lutheran School

Thursday, October 27,    PK Conferences

Thursday, October 27,    1 – 6 p.m.

Friday, October 28,         8 – Noon



Douglas School District (Box Elder)

Monday, November 7,     3:30 – 7 p.m.

Thursday, November 10, 3:30 – 7 p.m



Meade School District (Sturgis, Piedmont, Whitewood, Rural)

Elementary School

Tuesday, October 4, 4 – 7 p.m.

Middle School

Monday, October 3, 4 – 7 p.m.

High School

Tuesday, October 4, 4 – 7 p.m.

All Schools

Thursday, October 6, 4 – 7 p.m.



Hill City School District

Monday, October 3, 4 – 8 p.m.

Elementary – Gins Gym

Middle / High School – Burden Gym



Custer School District (Custer, Hermosa)

Monday, October 3,  4 – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 4, 4 – 8 p.m.



Hot Springs School District

Thursday, October 27, 5 – 8 p.m.

Friday, October 28,      9 a.m. – Noon



Lead-Deadwood School District

Thursday, November 17, 1 – 7 p.m.



Spearfish School District

Elementary School

Monday – Friday, October 17-21, Scheduled Individually

Middle School

Wednesday, October 12, 3:45 – 7 p.m.

High School

Wednesday, October 5, 3:30 – 7:30 p.m.



Belle Fourche School District

Elementary School

Thursday, October 27, 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Friday October 28,       8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Middle School

Thursday, October 27, 4 – 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 28,      8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

High School

Tuesday, October 11, 4:30 – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 25, 4:30 – 8 p.m.