Parent-teacher conferences, being held at most high schools tonight and tomorrow, offer families the opportunity to meet teachers and learn how their children are doing in class. But it's hard for harried high school parents, who must rush around large buildings in an attempt to meet every teacher, to do that in the three minutes allotted for each meeting. 

Our High School Hustle blogger Liz Willen thinks there must be a better way. Apparently, Chancellor Walcott agrees. He acknowledged as much in his Oct. 27 speech about parent engagement, likening the school conferences to "speed dating."  The department is working on strengthening the conferences, he said, and has developed a tool-kit with sample questions to ask teachers as well as tips for how to prepare. Check out 10 questions on the DOE's website and let us know what you think.

Parents who don't speak English can get free over-the-phone interpretation services at evening parent-teacher conferences. Normally translation is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling the Department of Education at 718-752-7373, ext. 4.

Every school is supposed to post flyers and signs into different languages to let families know that conferences are happening and that interpretation and translation will be available. If you don't see them, let your parent coordinator know.

For interpretation or translaton questions, email or call 718-752-7373.

Upcoming parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Oct. 27 and 28 (high school), Nov. 2 and 3 (District 75), Nov. 14 and 15 (elementary) and Nov. 16 and 17 (middle schools.) Note that some schools, among them Brooklyn Tech, set their own schedules. If you haven't had any notices yet, ask in the office.

And, if your child is struggling in school, this is the time you should find out about it. According to the city's regulations, teachers must inform parents if their child is not meeting promotion standards during fall conferences. If a parent does not meet with a teacher during the conference, the school must follow-up immediately and notify parents in writing, in a phone call, or in a personal meeting that their child is at risk of failure and come up with strategies to improve his performance.

Are you going to a conference? Do you find them helpful?