Going Deeper: Academic Parent-Teacher Teams

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Estimated time: 35 (1 video) – 75 minutes (all 3 videos)

Audience: parents & families, educators, administrators


To explore an alternative way for parents and teachers to interact and share information about student progress. During this process parents learn about how to be more active participants in their child’s learning. 


You will see an example of an alternative conference system that:

  • helps parents participate in supporting their child’s learning at home
  • provides an opportunity for families from the same classroom to work together and possibly form support networks
  • increases their knowledge of how data is used in the classroom, and
  • provides an opportunity for them to get to know the teacher.

The Creighton School District has created three videos that provide examples of how they replaced traditional parent-teacher conferences with Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT) that have two components: 

  • Three 75-minute classroom team meetings each year. The team consists of the teacher, all parents, and a parent liaison. Each meeting includes a review of student academic performance data, parent-student academic goal setting, teacher demonstration of skills to practice at home, parent practice, and networking opportunities.
  • One 30-minute individual parent-teacher conference.

Link to RtI Concepts and/or Research-based practices

Epstein’s Six Types of Family-School-Community Partnerships: Parenting, Communication, Decision Making, and Learning at Home Partnership types. 

Wisconsin RtI Framework essential elements: balanced assessment, collaboration, and cultural responsiveness


View at least one of the videos below. If you view all three three videos you will get a pretty complete sense of the entire process, but any one of them will give you a snapshot. Video descriptions:

Activity A: 

Read and reflect on the results described below

Preliminary assessments of the APTT system suggest six main results that answer the “Why should we do this?” question:

  1. Improved social networks: Parents report expanded social networks as a result of getting to know other families at team meetings.
  2. Increased teacher participation: APTTs are not a district mandate, but rather an optional grassroots project that teachers can adopt if they chose. In the 2009–2010 school year, 12 classrooms participated, while 79 classrooms have already signed on for the upcoming 2010–2011 school year. This increase speaks to the power and success of the program.
  3. Increased father involvement: A surprising result has been the high numbers of fathers who have come to team meetings—more than in classrooms with conventional parent–teacher conferences. When fathers were asked what made them more interested in coming to team meetings, they said that they were specifically interested in academics and wanted to be involved in understanding their child’s progress.
  4. High attendance: In the classrooms that had APTTs, attendance at meetings was 92% on average. That was much higher than participation in conventional parent–teacher conferences.
  5. Improved efficiency and time use: With APTTs, teachers are more efficient and use their time in a more productive way. APTTs require the same number of hours as conventional conferences because the entire group of parents meets together at once, but instead of seeing parents only twice over the school year parents and teachers have four formal opportunities to meet.
  6. Parents are empowered: Many of the parents who participated in last year’s APTTs asked to continue the program. They want their children to be in a classroom that will be participating in APTT this coming school year.

For Reflection:
Based on these results, are there recommendations you might want to make to your school about parent-teacher collaborations?

Activity B: 

Below are some questions you can use to reflect on comparing the APTT system to the system currently in place in your school.  The article, "Academic Parent–Teacher Teams: Reorganizing Parent–Teacher Conferences Around Data," describes this process and may help your understanding. Reflect on the questions below. 

For Reflection:

  1. Data that guide instruction and practice are from formative assessments (e.g., daily homework and behavior checklists).  Data that serve to evaluate mastery are from summative assessments (e.g., tests and student grades). What kind of data was shared in these videos?
  2. How would this type of conference system help you as a parent to understand what is happening in school for your child?
  3. Compare APTT with your current parent-teacher conferences. What are the benefits of each system?  What are some things that would be improved with APTT and what might you lose?
  4. What could you do to support a parent network for ongoing support?


Going Deeper

Additional Activities


Group Activity

Estimated time: 45-85 minutes

Activity Directions for Groups [pdf]

Additional Handouts:

  • None