5 tips for a better parent-teacher conference
October 18th, 2012
04:20 AM ET

5 tips for a better parent-teacher conference

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - For many parents and teachers, it’s the first opportunity of the school year to sit down face to face and discuss everything from curriculum to issues that arise in the classroom.  Here are some tips from both sides of the desk on how to make the most of a parent-teacher conference.

Do your homework

Talking to your child before the conference to find out if he has any questions or concerns of his own can give you ideas of what to address with the teacher.  A good next step:  having a physical list of questions.

The National PTA says that the “questions you ask during the conference can help you express your hopes for the student’s success in class and for the teacher.”

It’s an idea echoed by Ryan Koczot, an award-winning middle school teacher in North Carolina.  “Parents should come to the conference prepared (note pad, pen, list of questions) - just like teachers should be prepared (information on the child, progress report, questions for the parent).”  This will help get everyone on the same page.

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Filed under: At Home • Carl Azuz • Elementary school • Five things • High school • Middle school • Parents • Teachers
5 things teachers want parents to know
October 10th, 2012
04:18 AM ET

5 things teachers want parents to know

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) - During the average school day, teachers are with children as many waking hours as parents are. But many educators believe there’s a short in the communication lines between themselves and parents. When asked what they’d want parents to know about education, not all of the teachers we spoke to wished to be named - but they did share many common concerns from the classroom.

1. We're on the same team

First and foremost, teachers want students to thrive in the classroom, and they could use your help.

Jennifer Bell, a 7th grade social studies teacher in Tennessee, suggests that parents do all they can to ensure that students are doing their homework, exercising, eating well and sleeping. Whether students come to class tired or ready to learn can hinge on parents’ involvement. “We need their support,” she says. “We can’t do this on our own.”

In the words of an elementary school teacher from Georgia, “We are professionals. Teaching children is our area of expertise. Your child benefits more when you support me.”

And while educators expect students to make mistakes, Mississippi teacher Beth Wilbanks Smith asks parents to help them learn from those mistakes. “They will grow to be productive citizens if we all work as a unified force,” she writes.

Five things to know about the SAT
November 30th, 2011
07:16 AM ET

Five things to know about the SAT

by John Martin, CNN

This Saturday, thousands of students across America will wake up, sharpen their number 2 pencils and proceed to take what could be the most important test of their lives – the SAT. There are some differences between the SAT that you probably took and the one students are taking this weekend. Here are five things to know about the big test.

1. What is the SAT?
The SAT is a college entrance exam taken by millions of students each year. The College Board, an association of colleges and high schools that creates and administers the test, says the exam tests skills and knowledge students acquire during high school and measures how that knowledge is applied, which many say is critical to success in college.

2. What is a perfect score on the SAT?
If you took the SAT before March 2005, you probably remember your score was out of 1600 points, 800 from math and 800 from reading. Today's nearly four-hour test includes a critical reading section, a mathematics section, and a writing section. Each section is still worth 800 points; 2400 is today's perfect score.

Filed under: At Home • Five things • High school • Testing