New PT Conferences

McKenna Jagels

Sugar Beet Staff Reporter

Parent teacher conferences have seen major changes this year. Students and parents are used to meeting individually with each teacher to discuss grades and behavior as well as other topics. This year a new idea was in the works throughout the state involving an Individual Plan of Study (IPS). Each student was to meet with their designated mentoring teacher and present their IPS to their parents and respective teacher.

The IPS presentations provided parents with insight to their students’ individual interests, long and short term goals, as well their career matchmaker and career interests. Changes involving conferences and their format were not only present in Garden City, but also in many other cities and towns throughout the state of Kansas.

“A lot of what occurred with the changes for the format with this new conference style has been state driven and based on research and factors throughout education and the state; this new format is occurring at many schools in Kansas,” Emily Hamlin, trade counselor, said.

As attendance at parent teacher conferences had dropped across the state it was decided that something needed to change to bring more parents into the learning environment. Discussions about changes have been floating around for years.

“Skyward and e-mail make communications about grades pretty easy and reduces the needs for conference discussions about a grade card. We wanted to find a way to make conferences more convenient and meaningful for parents. Many schools across Kansas have already started scheduling their PTC with a great deal of success,” Steve Nordby, head principal, said.

Results of the parent attendance in conferences will not be known until survey results come back, but thus far scheduled conferences has proven to increase conference success. Parents need to be aware of progress with their child’s schooling and what’s happening currently within the school. Many teachers also believe parent foot traffic increased with scheduled conferences, but there were also downsides to the new formatting.

“I felt the new conferences provided new information for parents and students, but the downside is parents don’t have access to all teachers if they want it. There are positives and negatives. I would not want to do this format for both conferences, but one is good and I think it was a positive that in coincided with enrollment,” Jennifer Herdman, health teacher, said. McKenna Jagels is a health sophomore, you can contact her at

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