Success with Student-led Conferences

Our middle schools have recently introduced a new form of collaboration between our teachers, students, and families with Student-led Conferences. During Student-led Conferences, our fifth and sixth graders identified goals to work on, in areas related to academics and study skills, and then shared evidence of their growth and reflections on their progress with their parents. Teachers worked to help students identify goals and supported them in this process. While the process was collaborative, to format empowers students to lead the conversation.

Geoff Curtis, Principal of Bell Middle School, shared, “Without fail, on their way in, I saw confidence and the pride of preparation and (a little) nervousness; and without fail, on their way out, I saw the confidence of completion, and of a job well done on the faces of our students.”

“The Student-led Conferences were a nice opportunity for our students to think about and articulate areas they want to focus on and grow throughout this school year,” said Brian O’Connor, English/Social Studies Teacher at Seven Bridges. “It was also great for the kids to be reminded that their teachers and parents are on the same team to support and encourage them to keep working and growing towards their stated goals.”

Middle school is a time of discovery and as adolescents start to think critically, become interested in solving real-world problems, and assert independence, an essential part of this phase is a child’s ability to identify and set goals. This makes fifth and sixth grade the perfect time to try this new format of collaboration, inviting our students and families into our schools.

One middle school parent reflected on the experience, sharing, "I was amazed at how well they did! It was clear that teachers did a lot of prep getting kids ready for this and it shows. Thank you so much!"