Brianne Gidcumb | November 2015

Parent/Teacher Conferences as Vehicle for Arts Advocacy

Talking Parent/Teacher Conferences

Parent/teacher conferences have arrived for many educators. Conferences are a great opportunity to educate parents about what their children are learning in the arts, and in arts integration, and to inform parents about standards, practices, and assessments in the arts, as well as to make connections and increase the profile of arts education in your school. Here are few ideas you might try to engage with parents during conferences this year!

Distribute informational materials. 

Even with your best efforts at home communication, nothing really has the same impact as sharing information with parents personally. Even the simple act of standing in the hallway or inviting parents into your room to personally distribute information (i.e., curriculum guides, informational brochures on arts integration, infographics about the power of the arts, etc.) opens up the lines of communication to engage in conversation about the vision and the structure of the arts education you strive to provide for their children.

Connect with social media.

When you teach a general arts course and you have so many families to connect with, social media is an incredibly powerful way to open up lines of communication. A website or blog is a great tool for providing important updates, as well as to give an inside look into your classroom with pictures, videos, lessons, etc. Set up a laptop bookmarked to your blog or website and allow parents to explore while they wait for their conferences, and provide a way for parents to connect. You could provide something as simple as a slip of paper for parents to take home so they can find the website later, or you provide directions to have parents follow or connect with your social media right there.

Find creative ways to display student work.

This goes beyond the “dog and pony show” of hanging up students’ art projects. Give parents a glimpse into the type of products that your students create in your arts class. Take pictures of students in action, and create a bulletin board in the hallway where parents can see their students engaged in learning, along with drafts of work, learning targets, materials, etc.

Recruit help.

Conferences can be a great recruitment tool to involve parent helpers in the arts classroom room as well as a vehicle for discussing how to bring arts curriculum and concepts into the home. Provide a list of ideas of ways parents can engage in the arts at home or in the community with an events calendar, strategies for artistic thinking, or recommendations of pieces to study together. Additionally, many parents want to be involved in the arts classroom. Set up a calendar for helpers for anything you might need, from something as simple as sorting materials to helping in centers. Parents will have a more vested interest in your arts program if they are personally involved!

Read more about advocacy here:

Strategies to Revitalize the Arts Advocate

It’s All About Language: Communicating the Advocacy Message

The Arts as Core Content for 21st Century Learning

Read more about parent teacher conferences here:

For the Record: Parent/Teacher Conference Connections

3 Tips for Integrating Parent/Teacher Conferences

How do you use parent-teacher conferences to promote the arts and arts integration?

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: