Parent-Teacher Conferences: Advocating for Your Gifted Child

Four Steps for Success

Prepare

Knowledge is power so make sure you know your facts before your meeting. Know what your district provides for gifted education. Is there a policy on grade acceleration or single-subject acceleration?

Have your child’s test scores readily available. Not necessarily an IQ score but the latest achievement test scores. These are useful to demonstrate what your child already knows and can be used as a baseline for moving forward with a learning plan.

Plan the Conversation

Parent-teacher conferences usually only last about 20 minutes and that’s not much time to have a meaningful conversation about how your child’s education if you don’t have a plan.

Some topics you may want to cover are:

  • What differentiation is occurring in the classroom?
  • Is pre-testing occurring?
  • Are there any social issues you need to be aware of?

Whatever you do, don’t apologize for your child. Too often parents of gifted kids start off conversations with “I’m sorry to bother you…” I know I’ve done it. Don’t apologize for being an advocate for your child and trying to ensure they get the education they deserve and yearn for.

Be a Resource

The reality of today’s classroom is that a teacher may be responsible for upwards of thirty students. That’s a lot of students to ensure are getting a quality education every day! Typically, teachers don’t receive training in gifted education and how to meet the needs of gifted students. This is an opportunity for you to present yourself as a valuable resource to your child’s teacher.

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development has an extensive library of articles that are appropriate to share with teachers. They also have one of the best forums on the web focused on all things gifted education. Check them both out.

Follow-up

Send a follow up note or email to thank them for their time and also to document the issues discussed. File this away and then – follow up again. Keep the lines of communication and collaboration open.

Be a partner! Advocacy doesn’t mean being an adversary. Remember, it’s important for your child that you develop and maintain a good working relationship with his or her teachers.

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Advocacy and how to for gifted children is a much sought after topic in the gifted community. Your article was shared in the March Parenting Gifted Children Link-Up Party and is now on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/gruenerconsults/parenting-gifted-pin-parties/.
    Thank you,
    ~Catherine
    Gruener Consulting LLC

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  1. […] looking forward to this year’s first parent-teacher conference. I’m not sure why. I worked on preparing and organizing my thoughts but still felt nervous. Most likely because we had never discussed with the teacher her […]

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