Sandburg Principal Reflects on Return of ‘Primitive’ Parent-Teacher Conferences in 2017-18


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Nearly a week after announcing the return of Parent-Teacher Conferences to Sandburg Middle School for the 2017-18 school year, principal Linda Fehrenbacher told reporters seated at a corner table in the school’s cafeteria Monday afternoon that a splinter cell of meddling parents who are against innovation and forward-thinking – and lack faith in the presentation skills of their own flesh and blood – created too much of a distraction for the school to continue with “Student-Led Conferences”, which debuted at Sandburg last fall.

“Apparently, moms and dads prefer ‘one-on-one’ time with teachers, which is a rather outdated form of communication,” said Fehrenbacher, commandeering the funnel cake dessert from each of the reporter’s lunch trays while explaining how some parents made it very clear that they are opposed to the inherent benefits of Student-Led Conferences, like accountability, responsibility, and ownership. “During the Student-Led Conferences, students created Power Point presentations to self-evaluate their progress and to set goals for themselves. There isn’t a teacher in the world that can give more relevant feedback than that.”

Arguing that Student-Led Conferences showed parents what kind of “learner” their child is with informative slide shows detailing school supply needs and color-coded maps illustrating the hierarchy of cafeteria and bus seating, Fehrenbacher noted that she first attempted to compromise with overzealous parents who started a petition earlier this year and began showing up at school board meetings.

“My proposal was to keep the student-led conferences and add an optional ‘drop-in time’ for parents to stand in line and have a decent chance to see one of the teacher before the session ends,” continued Fehrenbacher, paraphrasing her gracious offer emailed to Sandburg parents last month in the critically-acclaimed “Message from the Principal” newsletter. “But that wasn’t good enough for them.”

Reached by telephone for his reaction to the return of Parent-Teacher Conferences at Sandburg, Elmhurst Unit District 205 superintendent David Moyer stated that Fehrenbacher has his endorsement to reinstate Student-Led conferences whenever she feels like pushing parents into the 21st Century.

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