Traditional parent/teacher conferences are no longer held at Park View High School.
A team of community leaders, teachers, students and parents decided there had to be a better way to communicate. They devised a system that allows parents to meet one-on-one with each of their child's teachers in one setting.
THE TEACHERS sit in a circle in alphabetical order on the outer edge of the gymnasium. A parent is given a list of his child's teachers and has the opportunity to meet for five minutes with each one.
"I find it very informative," said Lisa Blankenship, who has two children at the school. "The teachers are easily approachable. It's not the standard lecture."
The teachers last week provided information about grades, missing homework, student effort, upcoming assignments, Standards of Learning tests and more.
"It's a non-threatening situation," said Miss Dugger, who teaches English as a Second Language health and physical education. "Today, for example, every parent I talked to I could give good news, not necessary good grades, but good news."
She said she told parents about improved attitudes, behavior and effort.
She also said it's great to have parents who want to be there, instead of having to be called into the school to discuss a problem.
David and Heather Hackett met with their daughter's teachers. "It gives us a personal chance to get to know the teachers," Heather Hackett said.
"Rather than calling and complaining," her husband added.
"When you're working full time, it's hard to keep in contact with the teacher, Heather Hackett said. "It's also good for the kids to know that we're meeting with the teachers."
SUSAN AND Mathew Matyuf met with their daughter's teachers. "When you are sitting face-to-face rather than shooting e-mails back and forth, you make a different connection," Susan said. "That sort of makes the triangle of parent, teacher, student more real."
Randy Poland, who teaches marketing, said he is disappointed more parents don't take advantage of the opportunity. Principal Ann Brooks said about 650 parents turn out for the event, which is held twice a year. The school has 1,455 students.
Brooks said the event has improved communication and promotes teamwork among the teachers.
Dominion High School is now using the same program. "Nothing is sacred in education," Brooks said. "We share good ideas all around."