By JAYESH CHAURASIA ‘23 and PRAGYA SINGH ‘23
On December 1, 2020, Edison High School held its first ever virtual parent-teacher conference night. Deviating from the standard face-to-face five-minute meetings held annually, the virtual conferences were held via Zoom, an online meeting platform.
In this unprecedented year, maintaining academic performance was a challenge. Hence, ensuring that parent-teacher conferences continued virtually maintained some sense of normalcy through the pandemic. Parent-teacher conferences occur annually around the first week of December and allow for parents to check in on their child’s progress thus far in the academic year.
“The overall process was less hectic,” said Dr. Jonathan Clark, the Latin teacher at EHS. “However, the teacher had less control in the schedule.” In previous years, students used a paper form to request conferences. The December 2020 conferences utilized Genesis Parent Portal instead. Parents could schedule conferences and select times that worked for them, allowing for a seamless scheduling experience.
“I had more participation throughout the night and it ran better than I thought it might,” said Dr. Clark. With the new method of scheduling and the accessibility of virtual meetings, participation increased, and teachers were able to meet with parents and connect during a pandemic.
“I have been doing parent-teacher conferences for twenty-five years, and this by far was the best ever. It was organized efficiently and had zero cancellations,” said Michael Evans, EHS chemistry teacher. “I think it was perfect.”
The experience went smoothly on both the teachers’ and students’ ends. “I thought it went smoothly and the process of signing up was easy,” said Aruna Kunadharaju, the mother of Ishani Kunadharaju ‘22.
A possible complaint with the conference night was that it was “difficult to set up the Zoom meeting,” said Mr. Evans. Teachers organized Zoom meetings to be posted on Parent Portal, but some struggled with the set-up. “[Additionally,] some of the less technical parents needed some assistance,” Evans said. Due to this online format, some parents faced difficulty finding the correct Zoom meeting link.
All in all, the pandemic did not substantially affect the parent-teacher conference. Despite the online format, teachers and parents were able to successfully discuss their childrens’ future and academic plans in EHS.
Photo Credit: Abigail Alvarez ’21