STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
John F. Kennedy
High School
Lynne Ridgill
WS/FC Middle School Project
2011-2012
“Since early adolescence is a crucial period in
establishing a clear self-concept and positive self-esteem,
assessment and evaluation should emphasize individual
progress rather than comparison with other students.
The goal is to help students discover and understand their
strengths, weaknesses, interests, values, and
personalities. Student self-evaluation is an important
means of developing a fair and realistic self-concept.”
(This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents, 2003, p. 27)
Turning Points (Carnegie Council on Adolescent
Development, 1989) recommended that middle grades
schools “reengage families in the education of young
adolescents by giving families meaningful roles in school
governance, communication with families about the
school program and student’s progress, and offering
families opportunities to support the learning process at
home and at the school.” Turning Points 2000 further
advanced this idea and called for middle grades schools
that involve parents and communities in supporting
student learning and healthy development.
(Jackson & Davis, 2000)
“This practice is the biggest breakthrough in
communicating about student achievement in the last
century. When students are well prepared over an
extended period to tell the story of their own success (or
lack thereof), they seem to experience a fundamental
shift in their sense of responsibility for that success. The
pride in accomplishment that students feel when they
have a positive story to tell and to tell it well can be
immensely motivational. The sense of personal
responsibility that they feel when anticipating what it will
be like to face the music of having to tell their story of
poor achievement can also drive them to productive
work.”
(Rich Stiggins, 1999)
WHAT IS A STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE?
Student-led conferences are those in which students
facilitate meetings between the student, their teacher,
and their parents for the purpose of:
1. Reviewing educational progress (portfolios, grades,
etc..).
2. Setting goals.
3. Securing parent help with goals.
“A time when parents and students talk about school.”
Jack Berckemeyer
WHAT DOES RESEARCH SAY?
-
Increased parent attendance at conferences. (Hackmann, 1996)
-
Parents preferred student led conferences over the traditional
parent teacher conference. (Hackmann et al, 1998)
-
Students reported increased self-confidence and personal
satisfaction with being directly involved with conferences.
(Hackmann et al,1998)
-
Teachers reported a reduced conference preparation workload and
diminished levels of teacher stress during conferences. (Hackmann et
al, 1998)
-
Parent and teacher bonds were strengthened. Both teacher and
parent were more likely to initiate subsequent contacts throughout
the remainder of the school year. (Hackmann et al, 1998)
POSSIBLE GOALS FOR STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
-
To encourage students to accept personal
responsibility for their academic performance.
-
To teach students the process of self-evaluation.
-
To facilitate the development of students’
organizational and oral communication skills and to
increase their self-confidence.
-
To encourage parents, students, and teachers to
engage in open and honest dialogue.
-
To increase parent attendance at conferences.
(Guyton & Fielstein, 1989; Hackmann, 1996)
BENEFITS OF STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
-
Helps parents understand what is taking place in the classroom.
-
Students are accountable for classroom work and assignments.
-
Provides quality parent-child time.
-
Time to focus on learning instead of behavioral issues.
-
Encourages students to accept personal responsibility for their academic
performance.
-
Teaches students the process of reflection and self-evaluation.
-
Develops students’ oral communication and organizational skills.
-
Increases self-confidence.
-
Enhances communication between parent and child.
-
Provides students a voice in their assessment of their learning.
(3) PHASES TO THE STUDENT-LED
CONFERENCE PROCESS
1. Preparation.
2. Actual conference.
3. Evaluation component.
PREPARATION
A. Develop an action plan:
-
Purpose of the conference. What are your goals? What will
students share?
-
Develop a timeline for implementation.
-
Roles/responsibilities of teachers, students, and parents.
-
How/when to inform students and parents?
-
Resources needed?
-
How will conferences be run? How many at a time? How much
time each? When – night or day? What if parents do not attend?
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
TIMELINE FOR STAFF/STUDENT PREPARATION
August 30th – November 8th: Teach, reflect, and gather sample work to use in conferences.
September 5th:
Inform parents about the concept via letter, website, and team
newsletter.
Share SLC plan and responsibilities with
students.
September 10th – 25th:
Plan cover sheets, reflection process, goals process, and scheduling
process with team teachers. Create family friendly schedule.
November 1st:
Send home scheduling letter for parents to fill out and return.
November 1st – 10th:
Plan schedule for conferences (consult parents if needed).
November 10th:
LA teachers help students write “Dear Parent” letters.
November 9th – 10th:
Collect work for portfolio (give to appropriate HR teacher).
November 12th:
Attach report card copy.
November 15th – 18th:
HR teachers help students organize all work, fill in table of contents,
and write (2) goals. Teach and practice the conference procedure.
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
TIMELINE FOR STAFF/STUDENT PREPARATION (cont.’d)
November 21st:
Send home reminder invitation. Final check on portfolios. Attach
parent homework.
November 22-23rd:
Student-led conference.
November 29-30th:
Conference with students whose parents were unable to attend.
December 1st:
How did it go? Discuss teacher, student, and parent evaluations.
Other:
Attend to details such as:
- Child care
- Refreshments
- Parent initiatives
- Special schedule considerations
- Location
- Translators
- Special displays of student work
- Evaluation forms for parents & students
PARENT LETTER - SAMPLE
November 4th, 2004
Dear Parents/Family Members,
The sixth grade students are busy preparing for student-led conferences. This is an
opportunity for your special student to present his/her progress and goals to you
personally. Teachers are assisting students as they select specific work samples from
their classes, organize their portfolios, and rehearse their presentations. We believe
that students are empowered and their future success is assured when they are
accountable for their work, reflect and communicate their progress, and set learning
goals.
Your students will be responsible for directing the student-led conferences. As parents or
family members, your role will be to focus on the learning process (not just grades),
recognize your children’s achievements, ask them questions when information shared is
unclear, and work with them to set goals for future success. The students are very
excited about this opportunity.
Our student-led conferences will be scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday,
November 17th, and the evening of Thursday, November 18th. Enclosed is a conference
sign-up sheet that needs to be filled out and returned to school with your child as
soon as possible. Sixth grade students and teachers look forward to seeing you.
Because this time is student-centered, if you would like to discuss your child’s progress
with teachers, we encourage you to set up an appointment for an alternate date with the
teacher or team by calling 797-1814. We always look forward to meeting with our
students’ parents and are available before, and at certain times during the school day.
Remember that phone conferences can also be successful. Thank you for your continued
support.
Very sincerely,
The Teachers of Learning Community 6-2
PREPARATION (cont.’d)
B. Create Portfolios:
What will be included?
-
Table of contents.
-
Evidences from each subject area (work should focus on
skills/processes).
-
Reflections – identify strengths, growth areas, from each piece of
work and/or subject area.
-
Goal setting – clear/attainable goals.
-
Report card.
-
Other: Cover sheet for each subject area, Dear Parent letter,
behavior checklist, citizenship checklist, teacher evaluation, etc..
CONTENTS OF STUDENT-LED CONFERENCING PORTFOLIO
Table of Contents (lists all items in portfolio – filled out in core class).
Dear Parent Letter (serves as an icebreaker, introduces parents to conference, written in core).
Work samples
Core Cover Sheet (completed in core class by both teacher and student).
2 to 4 samples of core class work with self-reflections.
Science or Health Cover Sheet (completed in Science or Health class by both teacher and student)
1 to 2 samples of science or health class work with self-reflections.
Math Cover Sheet (completed in math class by both teacher and student).
1 to 2 samples of science or health class work with self-reflections.
PE Cover Sheet* (completed in PE class by both teacher and student).
1 to 2 samples of PE class work with self-reflections.
Elective Cover Sheet* (completed in elective class by both teacher and student).
1 to 2 samples of elective class work with self-reflections.
* Some 8th graders will have two electives and no PE.
Missing Work – Any uncompleted work should be indicated by a “missing work” form to be filled out by the
student in class.
Report Card (This will be attached by the homeroom teacher).
TMS Goals for Success (completed in case manager group)
All students should have two goals and plan for accomplishment written on their goal sheet. Students will
write 3rd goal in conjunction with parent during the conference. Students should have a 3rd goal and plan
ready to use in case parents do not have one to suggest. For easy “access” this goal should be written down
on the inside of their portfolio folder.
Parent Homework Letter (to be attached by homeroom teacher).
This is self-explanatory. Parents are encouraged (but not required) to respond to their child’s conference in
writing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES
TALENT MIDDLE SCHOOL/FALL 2007
Name: _________________________________________
-
Dear Parent Letter
-
Core (Reading, Writing, Social Studies) Cover Sheet
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
-
Mathematics Cover Sheet
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
-
Science or Health Cover Sheet
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
-
Elective Cover Sheet
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
-
PE or 2nd Elective Cover Sheet
_________________________________________
_________________________________________
-
Report Card
-
Goals for Success
-
Parent Homework
Date: _____________
EVIDENCE REFLECTION/MATH
Name: ______________________________
Date: _______________________________
I am proud of this piece of work because… ________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
What I have learned and/or enjoyed about this piece of work is… ______________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
EVIDENCE REFLECTION/MATH
Name: ______________________________
Date: _______________________________
I could have done better on this piece of work because…____________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
This piece of work was difficult for me because… __________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
CORE (READING, WRITING, SPEAKING, and SOCIAL STUDIES)
Name: _________________________________________
Teacher: ______________________
Behaviors of a Success Student:
+ Exceeds expectations
a meets expectations
- needs improvement
SELF
TEACHER
____
________
Completes classwork/homework on time
____
________
Works independently
____
________
Works well in a group
____
________
Manages behavior appropriately
____
________
Comes to class prepared to learn
COMMENTS:
TMS MATH
Name:________________________
Teacher: ______________________
Course: _______________________
Class Expectations:
Ratings: Student Teacher
Responsibility for Assigned Tasks:
________
________
Classroom Behavior:
________
________
Key to Ratings:
+ Exceeds expectations
COMMENTS:
a meets expectations
- needs improvement
TMS SCIENCE
Name:_________________________________________________
Teacher:
__ McNichol
__ Schofield
__ Russo
Title of Work: ___________________________________________
Class Expectations
Ratings:
Student
Teacher
Works well with lab partners
_______
_______
Works safely with lab equipment
_______
_______
Stays on task and completes work
_______
_______
Key to Ratings:
+ Exceeds expectations
COMMENTS:
a meets expectations
- needs improvement
TMS ELECTIVES
Name:________________________
Teacher: ______________________
__ Arts/Crafts
__ Band
__ Applied Math/Sci (Tech)
__ Choir
__ Computers
__ Journalism
__ Aide
__ Spanish
__ Intro to languages
Class Expectations:
Ratings: Student Teacher
Shows respect for others, self and property:
_______
________
Stays on task to complete work:
________
________
Key to Ratings:
+ Exceeds expectations
COMMENTS:
a meets expectations
- needs improvement
TMS GOALS FOR SUCCESS
Name: ____________________________________________
Date:_____________
My strengths are:
A.
B.
C.
I need to work on:
A.
B.
C.
First Goal _________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
To achieve this goal, I will
A.
B.
Second Goal _______________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
To achieve this goal, I will
A.
B.
Third Goal _________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________________
To achieve this goal, I will
A.
B.
People who can help me attain these goals are:
Distractions that may get in the way of accomplishing these goals are:
_________________________
Student Signature
________________________
Parent Signature
____________________
Case Manager Signature
MISSING WORK
Student Name:________________________
Teacher Name: ______________________
Assignment Title: _____________________
Subject: ___________________________
Assignment Due Date: ______________________________
I was given the opportunity to do this work but either did not complete it or turn it in because:
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
PARENT HOMEWORK
Dear Parent,
THANK YOU for participating in your child’s conference… now you
have some homework. Please write your child a positive personal
note about the conference. Below are some areas you might
think about including as you write:
What I noticed about your work was…
I was proud of you for…
Keep up the good work on…
I know you have difficulties sometimes, but…
I’m glad you are making an extra effort in…
How can I help?
We hope this experience was as rewarding to you and your child
as the process was to us. Thanks again for taking the extra effort!
Sincerely,
Talent Middle School Staff
PREPARATION (cont.’d)
C. Assist students in designing a script, an
outline, and/or an agenda.
STUDENT PROCEDURES FOR CONFERENCING
1.
Introduce your parents or guardian to your case manager.
2.
Explain you will be sharing your fall portfolio during the conference.
3.
Briefly review the Table of Contents to give an overview of what is in your portfolio.
4.
Read your “Dear Parent” letter.
5.
Present your work.
Share the information on the cover sheet
For each piece share:
- What the assignment was
- What knowledge or skills you learned by doing it
- What process you went through to complete the piece
- Key portions of your self-reflection by reading them aloud
6.
Share your report card with your parents.
7.
Goal setting.
Explain the two goals you have set
Write a third goal with your parents
8.
Parent homework letter
Give your parents their “assignment sheet” and ask them if they would be willing to write you
a note as explained on the sheet. What they write can be kept at home or returned to school
to put in your portfolio
9.
Closing
Thank your parents for attending your conference
PREPARATION (cont.’d)
D. Prepare for the conference:
- Teachers model.
- Role play.
- Practice! Practice! Practice!
REHEARSAL SHEET
Name: ____________________
Partner: ___________________
1ST Run
Yes
Looks at Listener
Speaks Slowly
Speaks Loudly
Speaks Clearly
Good Posture
Other
Comments:
2nd Run
Not Yet
Yes
Not Yet
ACTUAL CONFERENCE
* There are two ways in which conferences are conducted:
1. The teacher personally attends each student/parent
conferences.
2. The teacher schedules 4-5 conferences simultaneously with
the teacher moving around the classroom and attending to
groups as needed.
Sample conference agenda: (student facilitates- he/she should have a
script/outline and/or an agenda.)
- Introductions.
- Present portfolio/report card.
- Review reflections.
- Set goals.
- “Thank you’s”.
EVALUATION COMPONENT
* Evaluation is vital in order for the school to
be responsive to parent and student needs. It
also allows the school to “fine tune” the
process.
A. Student Evaluation
B. Parent Evaluation
C. Teacher Evaluation
EVALUATION COMPONENT (cont.’d)
Student Evaluation: (sample questions)
1. Were you organized for the conference?
2. What surprised your parents most during the
conference?
3. Did you notice any trends concerning your work?
EVALUATION COMPONENT (cont.’d)
Parent Evaluation: (sample questions)
1. What did you learn about your child during the
conference?
2. What (2) suggestions do you have to help increase
or maintain your child’s success at school?
3. Were your concerns and questions answered
appropriately by your child?
EVALUATION COMPONENT (cont.’d)
Teacher Evaluation: (sample questions)
1. Did you have enough time to introduce yourself to
parents?
2. What seemed to work well?
3. How would you change the process?
CONSIDERATIONS
-
Consider having students create a card inviting their parents to
the conference.
-
Consider having students write a thank you note to parents for
attending the conference.
-
Consider having parents write a letter to students thanking them
for their efforts in this process.
-
Consider writing your students a note the day of the conference
wishing them good luck.
-
Consider writing your students a letter congratulating them on
successfully completing their conference.
-
Provide simple refreshments for the conference – (acts as an “ice
breaker” for students).
GREAT WEBSITE RESOURCES
Conway Middle School Guide to Student-Led Conferences:
www.prichardcommittee.org/pubs/cat/student-led_conferences.pdf
Talent Middle School forms, checklists, letters, etc.:
www.phoenix.k12or.us/tms/slc
Frisbie Middle School Student-Led Conferences Interdisciplinary
Project:
http://mathforum.org/alejandre/frisbie/coyote/interdisciplinary6.html
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STUDENT-LED CONFERENCES - Wake Forest Baptist Health