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From the Desk of ACS Supt. David Burleson: Oct. 25 Parent / Teacher Conference Primer

To The Editor,

It’s hard to believe that more than a fourth of the school year has passed and that it’s time to send out the first report cards. With the distribution of report cards, it’s also time for the Avery County Schools to provide parents and teachers the opportunity to discuss the educational progress of the students we serve. This is a wonderful chance for parents to meet their child’s teacher and share any ideas or concerns they may have. It is also the occasion for a student’s teacher to update parents on how their child is doing in school and how they can work together to provide the best education possible. The parent/teacher conference day is designated as Tuesday, Oct. 25. Each school has developed a schedule that will meet their parents’ and community’s needs. Most schools are having a long day from around 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Here is the tentative schedule for school hours on Oct. 25:

School P/T Conference Times 
Avery High School 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Avery Middle School 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Blue Ridge Academy 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cranberry Middle School 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Banner Elk Elementary School 10:30 a.m. – 6p.m.
Crossnore Elementary School 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Freedom Trail Elementary School 11 a.m. -6 p.m.
Newland Elementary School 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Riverside Elementary School 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I would encourage all parents to make every effort to attend a conference with your child’s teacher by telephoning the school and scheduling a time.

In order for our students to be successful, there must be communication between the home and the school. These conferences are one way to establish that line of communication. It’s very important for parents and teachers to get to know each other and to feel comfortable communicating with each other. One of the best tools a teacher possesses is the ability to call parents when students are not meeting their potential, are having a special recognition, or when there are special events/concerns at school. It’s also important that parents know that they can pick up the phone and call the teacher if they sense a problem or have a compliment regarding their child’s classroom. To continue to improve our school system and make it one in which we are all very proud, we must work together. One way to do that is to take advantage of the Parent/Teacher Conference Day.

When preparing for a parent/teacher conference, I would make the following recommendations to the parents:

Talk to your child.

ASK WHICH subjects your child likes best and least.


ASK WHAT your child would like to discuss.

Think about your own questions or concerns.

MAKE A LIST of the questions or concerns before the conference.

LIST INFORMATION you want the teacher to know about your child.

INCLUDE QUESTIONS about school programs or policies.

Some good questions to ask are:

  • How well does my child get along with others?
  • Is my child working up to his or her ability?
  • Does my child participate in class discussions and activities?
  • Has my child missed any classes other than the ones I contacted the school about?
  • Has my child been tardy to school?
  • Have you noticed any sudden changes in the way my child acts? For example, have you noticed any squinting, tiredness, or moodiness that might be a sign of physical or other problems?

It’s a good idea to ask your most important questions first, just in case time runs out before you and the teacher have a chance to discuss them all.

Be sure to ask the teacher for specific suggestions on ways to help your child do better. This is the most important part of the meeting. It will become your action plan.

If the teacher says something you don’t quite understand, don’t be shy about asking for an explanation.

It’s a good idea to end the conference by summing up decisions you’ve made together. If needed, ask to meet again.

An additional way our school system is communicating with parents is through your Learner Management System, Haiku. Not only can teachers share assignments and feedback with their students but parents can also get instantaneous information on their child’s progress. Haiku allows students to download all their assignments while in class so they will not be required to have access to the Internet. Our goal is to use the technology we have in place to benefit our students, not prevent them in any way for doing their assignments. We are very appreciative of the collaborative work of our county commissioners and board of education to provide more Internet access to Avery County in the near future. Presently, Haiku is available for all our middle and high school parents and will soon be available for elementary school parents.

It is the desire of the Avery County Schools to work with our parents and community to make our school system a place where all students can be successful. By working together, we can achieve this goal.


ACS Supt. David Burleson