By Urs Cunningham | Posted: Saturday May 9, 2020
At Amesbury School we usually report on student learning and progress every term. In Terms 1 and 3 each year we usually hold student conferences, and in Terms 2 and 4 we complete a written report. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our usual schedule, and we have adjusted our timetable accordingly.
We feel that, with parents having spent so much time working with your children on their learning over the past couple of months, it would be timely for parents to connect directly with teachers to discuss their children. The purpose of this ‘connection conference’ is to allow parents to pass on important information about how their child/ren coped during lockdown, how they are feeling now, and how they have managed with their learning. It would also be a good opportunity for parents to ask questions about your children; you may have noticed certain things about your child’s learning and/or behaviour, and you may want to know more about it from the teacher’s perspective.
During level 2 we are looking to minimise the number of people we are all in close contact within a confined space for periods longer than 15 minutes. Given that conferences are usually held in 20 minute blocks, we will be holding online conferences, rather than face to face ones.
Parents will still book conferences in exactly the same way as usual (see details about this below). When you book, you will receive an online link to use for the conference. You do not need an account or a login for the conference - please see further details below.
Please find booking information below, including the teacher each student needs to book a conference time with.
When the conferences are running - all teachers will be running conferences in the evening (3:30pm onwards) of Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th May.
School interview website - we use the 'School Interviews' website to allow parents to book conferences online. Please follow this link to the website, or go to the site at this address: www.schoolinterviews.co.nz.
The school code for this round of conferences is sm2h3. Enter this code on the home page of the website and it will take you to the booking process for this round of online conferences.
Who to book with - we are asking parents in all hubs to book a conference time with the core teacher your child was working with for their distance learning. Please click on this link: Student Conference Groups, which shows the teacher each child should book with.
How do the online conferences work - We will use a conferencing app called ‘Whereby’. It works in a similar way to Zoom and other conferencing apps, except parents do not need to sign up or have a login. When you book a conference, you will receive a link to the teacher’s online ‘room’. Approx 1-2 mins before your scheduled conference, click on the link and this will mean you ‘knock on the door’ of the teacher’s online room. They will see you ‘knocking’, and when the previous parent has left their conference, the teacher will let you into the ‘room’ to have your conference. Parents will not be able to see each others’ names on the screen, and only one set of parents will be online with the teacher at any time.
What if I don't have a suitable device for an online conference? We are aware that all families at Amesbury School currently have an internet connection. If you do not have a suitable device for an online conference, please make a conference time anyway. Then contact your child's teacher and let them know, and they will arrange for a phone call conference in the same time slot instead.
Who attends the conferences - Normally our conferences are student-led, and students generally attend the conference. However, these conferences are different, and the purpose of them is for parents to connect with teachers. Therefore we expect that most, if not all, of the talking will be directly between the teacher and the parent/s. Students are welcome to be sitting with their parents during the conference, if parents would like this. However, it is not an expectation for this round of conferences.
What will be included in the conference - the connection conferences will be led by areas the parent/s would like to discuss and share about their chuld or their child's leanring. Your child’s teacher will share a link to a Google form with you. On this form you can share what areas you would like to discuss about your child, and any questions you may have for the teacher. This will help the teacher to be fully prepared and be as useful as possible during the conference. Please fill the form out in plenty of time for the conference, so that teachers have enough time to prepare and talk with other teachers in the team, which is often necessary in a team-teaching environment. Thank you.
Timing of conferences - please be mindful that parents will be waiting online to be let into a teacher’s online ‘room’, and so teachers will need to adhere to a strict timeline. They will give you a reminder as the conference is nearly over, and then at the scheduled completion time they will need to move you out of the online ‘room’ so that the next parent can enter. Even if you were a little late to your conference, your conference will still need to end at the scheduled time, so that we do not keep other parents waiting. Please do not be offended if a teacher lets you know they will be ending the conference - this is necessary to ensure everyone gets their allotted time.
When the conference bookings are closed - Conference bookings will be closed at 8am on the morning of the first day of conferences - Tuesday 26th May. This allows teachers to be prepared for the conferences they have scheduled. Last minute surprise bookings can mean teachers are not able to be fully prepared for a conference, so conference bookings are closed once the conferences begin.
The connection conferences being held this term will form the reporting process for term 2. In term 3 we will hold student-led conferences as usual, where parents, the student and the teacher all meet to discuss learning and behaviour, and set learning goals. In term 4 we will complete written reports.
If you have any further questions regarding student conferences please don't hesitate to contact your child's whānau teacher.
The Amesbury team