Once or twice a year, students in most Federal Way Public Schools participate in student-led conferences. Student-led conferences are a form of parent-teacher conferences, but with students taking the lead role. Additional information about student-led conferences can be obtained from your child’s teacher or principal.
When Are the Conference Days?
Student-led conferences are scheduled in the fall, usually in late October or early November. A second round of conferences takes place in the spring, usually in March or April. You can go to the district’s annual calendar or check with your school to confirm specific dates for your student conferences. Most conference appointments will last between 20 and 30 minutes.
Why Do Students Lead the Conferences?
We believe that student involvement in the conferences makes learning active, provides opportunities for students to evaluate their own performance, and encourages students to take responsibility for their learning. Having students take charge of the conference makes them more accountable for what they are learning.
In addition, this form of conferencing creates a partnership between the home and the school that is hard to get in any other way. Both research and experience have demonstrated that student-led conferences offer many benefits including the following:
- Stronger sense of accountability among students
- Stronger sense of pride in achievement among students
- More productive student-teacher relationships
- Development of leadership skills among students
- Greater parental participation in conferences
- Increased teacher focus on standards
What Does a Student-Led Conference Look Like?
Prior to the conference, students will collect work that reflects what they have learned. Students will be taught how to select work samples and how to evaluate their work to determine their strengths and weaknesses. This work will usually be assembled in a portfolio or folder. As the students conduct the conference, they will explain skills they have learned and share goals they have set for themselves.
A block of time will be scheduled for you and your child to conference together. While a teacher or other staff member will serve as the conference facilitator, the student will lead the conference.
As your son or daughter shares his or her work, you may want to ask questions such as:
- What can you tell me about this assignment?
- What did you have to do to complete this assignment?
- What skills did you have to use?
- What would you do next time to improve your work?
- What goals have you set?
- How can I help you meet your goals?
What’s the Role of the Parent in Student-Led Conferences?
We believe that student-led conferences are an important experience for all students and hope that all parents will be able to participate. Your role is critical to the success of the conference.
Your first role is as a listener. Having a parent audience for learning gives students a powerful reason to learn and work hard.
Your second role as a parent is to talk with the student about the work that will be presented. You will gain a better understanding of the academic expectations set for your child.
Your third role as a parent is to identify ways you can support the student to achieve goals that will be set for the next grading period.
What’s the Role of the Student During Student-Led Conferences?
Students should be able to explain academic standards, discuss how the standards are reflected in their classroom work, and be able to set goals for improving performance during the next academic term.
What’s the Role of the Teacher in Student-Led Conferences?
Teachers have several roles in preparing and conducting student-led conferences. Critical to the success of the conferences are three major activities:
- The teacher makes sure that all students know and can discuss the academic standards.
- The teacher makes sure conference materials are available for students and parents.
- The teacher schedules and organizes the conferences to ensure successful communication.
What Should a Parent Do If He or She Cannot Attend the Conference?
Student-led conferences can be a very special time for you and your child. Please do your best to be available for these conferences. Schools will try to accommodate parent schedules. However, if it is not possible for you to attend alternate appointment times, you may want to ask a grandparent, another relative, or perhaps a family friend to take your place.
Can the Parent Have a Private Conference with the Teacher?
If, after attending the student-led conference, you would like to schedule an appointment to speak privately with the teacher, please let the teacher know.
Where Can I Get More Information About Course Standards?
Common Core State Standards
Math and Language Arts
District Priority Standards
Priority Standards Other than Math and Language Arts
Or call Federal Way Public Schools’ Teaching for Learning Department