Pro Tip: Using Front Row to keep parents informed

Keeping parents informed about their child’s progress is vital towards helping a student reach his or her full potential.  However, it’s difficult to make sure that parents know exactly how their students are progressing.  It can be time-consuming and often gets pushed to the back of our list of priorities.  When you finally need to schedule a parent-teacher conference, the parent may be frustrated that you didn’t communicate any struggles with their child earlier in the year when they could have acted immediately to quell the problems.  With Front Row, you can keep your parents well-informed about their student’s progress and performance in math.

This article will cover:

1. How to use the Report Card page to keep parents updated on student progress
2. How to set up a parent-teacher conference to discuss student progress
3. How to use Front Row data at a parent-teacher conference to support your claims and make next steps

Keeping Parents Updated on Student Progress with Report Cards

1.  Have students take the pre-test test in each domain.

By having students take the diagnostic test in each domain, you are giving parents the most information available.  Rather than only focusing on a particular domain, give them the whole picture by making sure each student has been leveled and placed in all domains.

2.  Give students time to practice Front Row independently.

Before you send home Report Cards, give students time to practice Front Row independently.  Many students struggle slightly more than usual on the diagnostic tests, so give them time to prove what they know with independent practice sessions.

3.  Go to the Report Card page in the Teacher Dashboard.

In order to share report cards with parents, you will need to print the reports for the parents. 

 

 

In order to print report cards to send home, click the “Print ALL” option from the top and click Print. A PDF document will appear with the report cards of all students who have used Front Row during the past week. You can then print these reports and send them home with the correct student.

  

Showing Parents their Student Needs Support

1.  Call the parent to set up a conference on the day you send home Report Cards.

By calling the parent the same day that you send home the Report Card, you already have a talking point.  Make sure that you state how you would like to set up a meeting to discuss how you can work together in order to ensure “Student-Name” gets the most out of his or her math class.  This way, the conference isn’t framed around the shortcomings of a student, but the next steps needed to improve.

2.  At the conference, start by discussing the Report Card

Start by discussing the Report Card that was sent home. Answer any questions that the parent has and explain what each part of the Report Card means (click here for more information on the Front Row Report Cards)

Students who are performing below their peers may not have even started working on standards at grade level.  For this reason, you may want to print out other grade level report cards that better show the student’s progress.

3.  Use the Matrix view for each domain to show the parent where his or her student falls within each particular domain compared to grade level and peer performance (blot out student names).

The Matrix view, found on the left navigation bar ("Matrix & Groups"), can be used to support your claim that a student is behind his or her peers, and will need lots of help to catch up.  If you plan to use the Matrix in a conference, make sure you block out all student names!  You cannot share other student data with parents, and this should only be used as a way to demonstrate to a parent where his or her child is working compared to peers.

You can remove the names of students using a computer program (such as Photoshop or Paint) and "painting" over the names, or you could print out the matrix and cross off student names so they aren't visible.  As you can see above, this Matrix view shows just how far behind Ava is in the CCOA domain, and can be a powerfully visual to illustrate to Ava's parents that she needs extra support.

4. Draw up a plan for all stakeholders - student, parent and teacher

Now that Ava's parents are aware she is behind, draw up a plan for how to improve! Each stakeholder (student, parent and teacher) should leave the conference with clear next steps.  Maybe the parent will start working with Ava on her math homework each night, Ava will start to focus more during math, and the teacher will show up early or stay late to tutor Ava. No one should ever leave a conference wondering what comes next!
 
Sample Next Steps for Teacher
- Come in early or stay late to tutor a student
- Create a daily progress report (simply a smiley or frowny face works) to recognize student work and effort that day - signed by parent
- Research resources that a student can use in class and at home to improve
- Hold weekly phone calls or meetings with a student and his or her parent to monitor progress
- Print out notes or other lesson materials for a student to use at home
 
Sample Next Steps for Student
- Pay more attention during independent practice and math lessons
- Complete all homework by the time it is due
- If you don't know how to solve a problem, ask someone for help instead of guessing
- Set goals for what you want to accomplish this school year
- Spend at least 15 minutes a day practicing math skills - including weekends!
 
Sample Next Steps for Parent
- Check son or daughter's homework after he or she complete it each night
- Help son or daughter to complete homework each night
- Practice flash cards with student at home throughout the week
- Limit for how much television/video games a student has access to throughout the week
- Keep in closer contact with the teacher about how the student is progressing at home
 
 
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