Students take lead in student-led conferences
LaGRANGE — Parent-teacher conferences are starting to look a little different at two elementary schools in Troup County School System — they are led by the students.
This school year, Callaway and Hogansville elementary schools both decided they wanted their conferences to have more student involvement. The innovative concept, brought to them by district Title I staff members early in the school year, was dubbed student-led conferences. The conferences allow for teachers to be present and available for questions, but the students actually lead their own conference with their parents.
The concept is being introduced in several districts throughout the state to help students grow through having an open discussion about classroom learning and activities. Locally, educators who have participated say it also fosters family and school relationships because it allows students to take ownership of their educational growth and development.
“The student-led conferences give the students a chance to present their portfolios including their most rewarding work as well as their most challenging work,” said Kim Patton, Callaway Elementary School teacher. “They discuss their goals and involve the parents in setting expectations at home, as well as in the classroom.”
To prepare for the student-led conferences, teachers spent time with students to demonstrate how to conduct a conference. That time translated into students and teachers reflecting on areas of student strengths and areas where the student may need improvement so they could better understand how to communicate outcomes to parents.
“I was pleased to see the teachers try something different, to embrace a growth mindset, to hear students sharing with their parents what they were learning and where they needed to improve, and lastly, hearing the parents express how much they liked having their child lead the conference,” said Bret Bryant, principal of Hogansville Elementary School.
Feedback from the sessions has now allowed both schools to introduce more student involved conferences later in the year.