This list contains a range of useful information, tips and forms that will help you launch or improve student-led conferences, regardless of whether you are already doing them.
Many schools are moving away from teacher-led parent-teacher conferences and embracing student-led meetings that involve students. These conferences provide students with powerful opportunities to advocate for their learning.
What is the Work of Student-Led Conferences (SLCs).
These conferences, though they may be different from traditional conferences, place students at the forefront of teacher-supported discussions and parent participation about student learning. SLCs often offer students the opportunity to reflect, prepare and share evidence of their learning and development through student portfolios.
Students who organize student-led conferences say that:
- Students should be encouraged to take ownership of their learning and participate in the goal-setting process and assessment.
- Involve families in deeper, more transparent discussions about student progress.
These video highlights from Expeditionary Learning help you to better understand what these meetings could look like at different grade levels. They show a student led kindergarten meeting at Delaware Ridge Elementary School, Kansas City, Kansas. A student-led middleschool meeting, and a student -led high school meeting in Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, New York City.
This list of resources will help you improve or prepare for student-led conferences, no matter if you are already holding them.
Useful Tips, Checklists and Printables
- Student-Led conferences from Scholastic: This blog post is by John DePasquale (middle grades educator). It includes a protocol that can be shared with families before the conference. This post is a continuation of Kriscia Cabral’s series student-led conference preparation and app.
- A Step by Step Plan for Student-Led Conferences at Elementary Level: This post is from Teaching Channel. It shares the views of an experienced primary teacher and explains how she plans to implement her station-based approach for student-led conferences.
- Teacher’s Aid: Student-Led Parents-Teacher Conferences – Educators discuss the benefits of SLCs and what to do about them.
- WHEELS Faculty Handbook: This handbook is available from Washington Heights Elementary School. It includes self-evaluation templates and scheduling worksheets.
- A Guide for Implementing Student-Led Conferences at Your School: This presentation was created by Patti Kinney, National Association of Secondary School Principals. It includes information about SLC benefits and scripts, evaluation forms, frequently-asked questions, and other useful tips.
Downloads and examples from Schools That Work
Student-Led meetings: Empowering student voice
Through student-led meetings, students at University Park Campus School, Worcester, Massachusetts, can reach their full potential.
- Preparation: This guide will help students plan for the upcoming student-led meeting.
- Student-Led meeting Worksheet (Parental and Teacher Agenda) This worksheet contains a sample agenda for parent-teacher meetings.
- Student-Led meeting Worksheet (Follow Up) University Park uses this worksheet for structuring follow-up progress meetings.
Student-Led Conferences : Empowerment & Ownership
Wildwood IB World Magnet School, Chicago, Illinois offers student-led conferences that encourage reflection, engagement, agency, and responsibility. Learn how Wildwood educators make student ownership possible and engage parents in discussions about students’ learning. Check out some of the tools they use for scaffolding the learning process.
- Second-Grade Teacher Uses These Sample Prompts to Help Students Prepare for Student-Led Conferences
- Reflections for Student Conferences: These reflection prompts encourage students to think about quarterly progress towards their goals.
- Student-Led Conference Sheet: This worksheet allows students to identify their strengths and brainstorm ways to improve.
- Student Portfolio Guide: This guide explains how school portfolios are constructed and how materials are collected. It also includes reflection sheets for both students and teachers.
More Resources from Edutopia and on the Web
- When Parents Let Their Children Lead Their Parent-Teacher conferences , The Atlantic
- Students are Leaders in Their Own Learning and Edutopia
- Students Take Charge of Learning, Edutopia
- Students Leading Their Learning, AsCD
- Why Students Should Lead in Parent-Teacher conferences, MindShift
- Building Relationships using Student-Led Parent–Teacher Conferences, Edutopia
- Student-Led Conferences – Involving the Most Important Player Association for Middle Level Education