Using Teacherease.com (paid for by a non-profit ISA) has changed the parent teacher conference experience. Parents are already fully aware of the "grades" their children have so meetings must find a new topic of conversation. The conversation between myself and parents now seems to focus on strategies to access the skills their children have or improving those skills that their children are still struggling with. Granted some parents are still here to argue and vent but shifting the focus of the conversation is much easier that the veil of secrecy has been lifted from my grade book.
No parent seemed shocked by their visit. Most parents raved about the open communication the freshmen team has through constant electronic contact.(Unfortunately, one parent did not have an email address).
One thing that I did walk away with this year was that the parents and students are looking at the online grade book much more than before. (I've been using this for the past six years) As a result of an increased volume of readership of my grade book, I feel an added stress. It is a stress of accountability. I need to be more diligent in updating information on the site. I am confident that ultimately , it will make me a better teacher.