So we made a shift to involve our students in their conferences. We invited all of our students to attend their conferences to give them an actual place at the table when talking about their education. Our parent-teacher conferences became student-involved conferences.
I solicited feedback after our first round of conferences (in September), which I shared with everyone via this blog on October 18, 2014. After conferences in February, I, again, solicited feedback on the structure of our conferences to see what (if anything) had changed after our second implementation.
Feedback comparison - data (link) from our student-involved conferences in the fall vs. in the winter
The preference for student-involved conferences increased slightly in the winter However, more students attended their conference in the fall vs. the winter. This led us to begin to brainstorm what we (at the school) could do to further encourage our students to attend their conferences. Some of our initial ideas include:
- Move the conferences back to Tuesday and Thursday evening - this is planned for Highland CSD's '15/'16 school calendar
- Offer child care service
This was unsuccessfully attempted this year. Options to explore in the future would be to seek-out high school students in need of volunteer hours, and/or pay an associate for their time
- Do something with our students to build their excitement
ie. Have students write and send an email or letter to their parents inviting them to their conference
There were two other issues that stood out from our feedback that will need to be addressed going forward:
- We have to communicate clearly with parents that if they are wanting to speak privately with the teacher then we are more than willing to set-up an additional separate meeting for that conversation to take place.
- We need to be more aware of scheduling conferences for families that have multiple students within our building. It is nearly impossible to schedule back-to-back(-to-back, etc.) conferences without everyone getting off schedule
|Above are a sampling of some of the comments that parents left re. our second attempt at student-involved conferences|