The History of Student Led Conferences at Nativity
Student Led Conferences (SLC) began in the fall of 2010 with the eighth graders and included the seventh graders in the the spring of 2011. The purpose of the experience is to enable students to have insight into their academic strengths and challenges as well as how to develop a plan to meet the challenges. When students can articulate their strengths, challenges and plans for change to parents and teachers, their self confidence grows exponentially.
The students work in small teams with a teacher to move through a step-by-step process that includes: role playing, completing their personal mission statements, using a sample script then developing their own script, organizing their work samples to support comments regarding strengths and challenges and a discussion of guidelines for how to dress and make formal introductions of parents and teachers. The students participate in practice sessions with feedback from peers and the teacher. Each conference lasts 20 minutes. They are scheduled in November, along with the regular conferences and again in the spring.
After the first session of Student Led Conferences a questionnaire was sent out to parents, students and teachers. Feedback from all three participants was overwhelmingly positive and indicated that they preferred the SLC format to the traditional conference format. Parents have been impressed with the degree to which their sons and daughters appeared to be “getting to know themselves beyond grades.” The initial group of students rated themselves as well prepared for the conferences and as seeing themselves as more responsible for their education. Teachers saw the students as taking the process seriously and as a big step in helping students to increase ownership in their education.
The responses to Student Led Conferences have been extremely positive and helpful in our quest to provide the best educational experience for our students. This process was all made possible through your support of your son/daughter, and the hard work they put in with their mentor teacher. We asked the students to write a reflection about their Student Led Conference experience. Two questions were presented to them. A sample of their responses accompany the questions:
1. What I liked about Student Led Conferences?
- Coming clean and being honest with my parents by laying all of my successes and struggles out on the table.
- I like being able to share what I thought and what the teachers thought. I liked being able to work as a team to make a plan. I like being in charge of my education.
- I liked when my mom and dad smiled because I could tell that they liked what they heard from me and my teacher.
- Most common response: ” I like leading my own conference.”
2. What was the most challenging thing about Student Led Conferences?
- It was challenging when there was complete silence and everyone was staring at me.
- Remembering everything I wanted to say.
- Gathering all my materials together.
- Most Common Response: I was a little nervous.