CHS to bring school conferences to parents

CLINTON — A Clinton High School program set to begin during the 2019-2020 school year will attempt to curb poor parent-teacher conference participation numbers and foster stronger relationships between CHS students, their families, and school staff.

CHS Principal J.R. Kuch introduced “Operation: Be the One” at Monday’s regular district board meeting, a program that will ultimately designate students’ homeroom teachers as a sort of liaison to their parents or guardians when it comes to reports of student performance, success or failure.

The principal during his presentation estimated that only roughly 30 percent of students’ guardians participate in conferences. Operation: Be the One hopes to fix that, Kuch said, by designating two entire days (Aug. 26 and Jan. 2) at CHS to guardian-teacher interactions. No school will be held on those days and they will feature conferences only.

Whether those interactions occur at the school itself, at the students’ homes, or perhaps at the parents’ or guardians’ place of work, the two designated days will allow for a better chance at higher conference participation numbers and in turn, stronger relationships.

“The idea is, let’s bring the conferences to them,” Kuch told board members of the project Monday night.

Kuch’s son’s preschool teacher had come to his house before school to meet with the family.

“Essentially, they wanted to see how he was in his home environment, and what’s going to make him learn the best,” he said.

Kuch recalled the result of the in-home visit that day – a personal connection was made between the family, the students, and the school. Operation: Be the One at CHS could recreate that, administrators are hoping, as the homeroom teachers work personally with parents or guardians and students to set up a meeting time on Aug. 26 or Jan. 2.

Conferences on those days will most likely feature conversations regarding the students’ school paths and plans, such as course credit amounts and future classes, goal-setting and analysis, and post-graduation discussion.

Kuch stressed the importance of seeing students in their “home elements,” something that the project could shed a bright light on. At the meeting, the principal called Operation: Be the One as “a way to put (the school’s) best foot forward with our kids and our parents.”

“This is for all kids; not just some kids,” Kuch said. “I did have some staff say, ‘Well why don’t we just use this for kids who need it?’ But we don’t know which kids need it. You may think you know which kids need it, but you don’t know.”

Board President Eric Gettes, along with other board members, showed support for the out-of-the-box project, seeing the potential positives of potential high participation rates that it could harbor.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Gettes said in his remarks after Kuch’s presentation. “There may be a number of families who are uncomfortable coming to school because of their experiences with school, so going (to the homes or places of work), I really like that.”