D99 students get day and a half off for parent-teacher conferences


Tatum Mitchell

Choir teacher Margaret Winchell conferences with junior Peter Burrows.

District 99 has made significant changes to the format of parent-teacher conferences. Conferences will take place Thursday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. The students of DGS and DGN will have a half-day on Thursday and no school on Friday.

In previous years, parent-teacher conferences have only spanned across one day. After a partial day of school, teachers would host conferences that night and come back to teach the next day. Social studies teacher Derek Hoovel spoke about the structure in prior years.

“In previous years what would happen is it’d usually be a Thursday night and as soon as school was over … we would start conferences [around] lunch-time and just go through the night … [This] made for a really long night and then we had to teach the next day as well, which you had a lot of tired, very exhausted teachers,” Hoovel said.

The format of conferences this year has been altered to stretch across two days. Superintendent Dr. Hank Thiele spoke of the new structure as benefitting not only teachers but also impacting students and families.

“By splitting it across two days, families get two days to choose from. They get an evening or a morning depending on how their schedules work … Another thing it does for our staff … it breaks those chunks into two halves. [We would have] parent-teacher conferences for a long stretch of time and come back and work the next day,” Thiele said.

The new schedule, while it takes classroom time away from students, gives upperclassmen another opportunity to go on college visits. Junior Samantha Hanek praised the new formatting of conferences, touching on the benefits that have arisen for her.

“I really liked the new format of the parent-teacher conferences. Leaving school during the week results in a huge workload, but having parent-teacher conferences which give me a day and a half off was really helpful. It gave me the opportunity to really focus on my college decisions rather than the work at home,” Hanek said.

With fall sports and the upcoming play, Juli(us) Caesar, this also structures in another occasion for rehearsals and practices. Senior Janella Guzman commented on the impact the new structure had on her personally.

“The impact really for me, personally, is that I can spend the day with my cast members, being productive for this play,” Guzman said.

When prompted on the grounds of complaints from parents or teachers, Thiele said there have been no concerns.

“I haven’t heard anything one way or another yet … After it’s done, we’ll go out and seek that through surveys,” Thiele said.