Last fall, we tried something new with how we conducted conferences at Riverside Elementary School by inviting our students to play a part in them. After collecting feedback from parents and teachers regarding our first round of conferences, overall, it seemed to be very positive experience for all involved. As a result, we are very excited about our second round of conferences taking place Monday, February 9th and Wednesday, February 11th.
While we are continually working for our students to have more ownership of their learning, we believe it is essential that they have a place at the table when conferences take place. We are, again, encouraging you to bring your child with you to his/her conference so that we can continue conducting student involved conferences. The teacher will remain as the facilitator of the conversation, while actively involving both the parent(s) and the student.
"Students - when given the chance - can prove remarkably insightful about the quality of their work and what they need to do to improve it."
‘Student Involved Conferences’ ASCD Education Update
"The conferences are about the children and their learning. They are about where the children have come from and where they are going. They are about how their parents and I can support their learning journey. It only makes sense for them to be there, too."
- Kathy Cassidy, ‘Student-Led Parent Conferences: How They Work in My Primary Classroom”
The process for each conference will remain as follows:
- The teacher will ask parents if they have any questions/comments.
- The teacher will review the process of the conference.
- The student, then the parent, then the teacher share three strengths the student has demonstrated as a learner.
- The student, then the parent, then the teacher share two areas the student needs to work on as a learner.
- The student articulates goals (no more than two or three) for future work (with assistance, as needed, from the parents and the teacher). Each party pledges specific kinds of support for the goals.
- The teacher answers questions, recaps, and concludes the conference.
Please begin to give thought to the strengths and areas for growth that you feel your child has as a learner, as well as how you can contribute to their academic improvement (document link). Benchmark testing in the areas of math, reading, and writing, has concluded and you can expect to receive those those results today (via Friday folders), Friday, January 30th. This will be information that may help you when thinking about your child’s strengths and areas for growth.
This process for conferences is still new, and like anything that is new it will not be perfect. Nonetheless, we are confident that with practice implementing this process in the fall that it will be improved this time around. We appreciate your patience as we continue to implement this change, as we truly believe that it will benefit our students.
Conferences will still run 15 minutes, and in an effort to respect everyone's time we will be vigilant of our time restrictions. If there are other "issues" that you would like to have addressed, we definitely want to offer you the opportunity for a traditional meeting with the teacher. Please let your child's teacher know if this is the case.
One of the things that we are changing for this round of conferences, based on the feedback that we received last fall, is that we are moving conferences up one-hour. This February, our conferences will be held from 3 to 7pm. We are making this change to accommodate our younger students that would have difficulty attending a later conference on a school night. Of course, we will work with you to best accommodate your schedule if you need to have a conference that is outside of these time frames.
At the conclusion of this upcoming round of conferences, we will, again, allow you the opportunity to give us feedback regarding your conference experience so that we can continue to make improvements to our process.