New look to conferences

Due+to+COVID-19%2C+OHS+replaces+in-person+conferences+with+online+progress+reports

Designed by Preston Meier

Due to COVID-19, OHS replaces in-person conferences with online progress reports

Preston Meier, Writer

Every year parent-teacher conferences provide an insight on how students are doing in their classes. It gives parents a more personal evaluation of how their child is doing, in comparison to just a grade in Infinite Campus. Conferences have been an important part of building connections between parents, students and teachers. Without in-person conferences, which were scheduled for Feb. 15, 2021, the school has to find a new way to help build these relationships. 

The change in how conferences will be done does not mean a change in what is trying to be accomplished. Parents will still receive personalized information about their child from their teachers and have the ability to reach out for further discussion. This is also how the school communicated during the first quarter. Principal Mr. Kory Kath said, “Each student will receive a personal statement attached to their grades about their progression in the course. There will also be a letter and email sent out about how parents can contact teachers for further information about the class or how your child can receive added support.” 

The decision for conferences to be changed was made solely because of COVID-19, social distant conferences would not be possible under OHS’ protocols. The protocols do not let guests or visitors into the building and only allow 150 people in each area of the school. If parents were brought into the school, the number of people in an area would go well over 150. 

Each student will receive a personal statement attached to their grades about their progression in the course.”

— Mr. Kath

With the inability to have conferences in person, the technology of today will once again play an important role in the classroom. OHS has been taking advantage of technology for several years now, before the pandemic, with updates on Infinite Campus and assignments on Schoology. OHS already had the tools for online conferences. OHS English teacher, Mr. Doug Wanous said, “With today’s technology our old way of conferences were outdated, technology allows for communication to be more efficient, timely, and relevant than the cafeteria-style conferences.” 

Although technology is able to replace the communication aspect of conferences, families and teachers still lose meaningful face to face interaction. Ms. Tami Langlois, a counselor at OHS, said, “Without in-person conferences we lose having personal interactions and potential discussions about other non-academic concerns or celebrations between the families and teachers.” In order to build meaningful dialogue without being face to face, Mr. Kath does not want the interaction to be limited to two conference days. Mr. Kath said, “Conferences are an opportunity to engage in a conversation about how we can support students but we are also letting parents know that they can engage in this conversation at any time through these lines of communication.” 

With COVID-19 continuing to force adjustments in the school, in-person conferences will be replaced with virtual conferences. With how advanced our technology is today, it allows the school to ensure the safety of the parents, staff and students of OHS but still have meaningful connections through conferences. During the week of Feb. 15, parents will receive a mailed and electronic copy of their student’s progress report and teachers’ contact information.