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Extended Teacher Office Hours October 10th Details

Conferences Are Now Office Hours
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Dear Bell Families-
View this letter in Spanish                                                                                                           September 27, 2018

In the last few years, we received a lot of parent feedback about the student-led conferences we used to hold in the spring and fall, which led to conversations at the Bell Accountability Team and in teacher committees last year. As we problem-solved, it led to some innovative ideas for changing our system of communication.   

One of the system changes we made this year was the implementation Curriculum Night (which we had earlier this month). The second change is specific to parent/teacher conferences, which we have changed to Teacher Office Hours. All of these efforts are about creating better and more purposeful systems of communications between the Bell staff and parents/guardians. For example, the purpose of Curriculum Night was to give ALL parents the opportunity to see their children’s teachers and learn a about what they are learning, as well as what extracurricular opportunities they have at Bell.

Office Hours is a departure from the traditional parent-teacher conferences, as they serve different purposes. Here is a simile for how they’re different:

Traditional Parent Teacher Conferences

Office Hours

  • Likened to getting an annual check-up with your doctor
  • Most people schedule these, even when they are healthy, with no concerns
  • Likened to scheduling an appointment with a specialist because you have something specific that needs to be addressed
  • You only schedule an appointment if needed.

 

Another way to think about it is that they are similar to the office hours that professors hold in colleges; you only visit professors if you have a question or a need to talk to them individually.

                The objective for changing this process is to better honor everyone’s time and to be strategic in assisting students who need extra help. Also like the medical field, which now has 24-hour phone access to medical professionals for non-emergent / minor concerns, parents and students can reach out to teachers through email or over the phone at any point in the year.  For an overview of the different avenues for communicating with the school and teachers depending on the need, please click here (try using Google Chrome as your browser if the link does not open).

  • Some Important Information about Office Hours:
  • Our first Office Hours are on October 10 from 3:00-6:00 – by appointment only.
  • Appointment Sign-ups will become available on Oct. 3, when you will receive an email explaining the process.
  • Just like for a doctor’s visit, you will schedule appointments with individual teachers to discuss a concern you have about your student in a specific class. You might consider scheduling an appointment if:
    • You may have a concern about one class.
    • You have different concerns in a couple of classes and need to talk to the teachers in person to problem-solve.
  • If you have no concerns at this time, you won’t need to schedule an appointment.
  • We will have another afternoon of Office Hours on November 14

We will monitor this initiative as we move forward and make adjustments, if needed. Thank you for sharing your children with us and for supporting our learning community as we try something new.

 

Truly,

Michele DeAndrea-Austin, M.A.

Principal

Bell Middle School

 

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