Monday, October 19, 2015

Student-Led Conferences

I want to let you know (or remind you of) the practice at PAML for Student-Led Parent Conferences. Each student this year will create a portfolio/Personal Learning Plan (PLP) to showcase their work. At the start of the year they are creating personal and academic goals and making plans as to how they will meet their goals.  Throughout the year they will be collecting evidence to assess how they are doing toward meeting their goals, reflecting on their growth, conferencing with their teachers and documenting their progress in their portfolios.
They will be sharing the portfolios with families at the Student-Led Conferences.  The purpose of student-led conferences is to put the students in charge of sharing their learning and to help them take personal responsibility for their performance.  This means you will need to bring your student with you on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015.  If you are unable to attend, you can send a family member or close friend with your child so they have an opportunity to share their work.
In the traditional parent-teacher conference, students are often “third parties” to hearing about their progress.  Of course teachers and parents play a vital role in students’ education, but students must also take an active role in this area to maximize their potential for success and student-led parent conferences have proven to be a successful way for students to take the lead.
There are three components to the student-led conference: preparing, conferencing, and after-conference review.  All three elements require the students to reflect and evaluate their own progress and determine what they can do next to be successful.  In preparing for a student-led conference, students see how their strengths, weaknesses and behavior can affect them as learners, thus allowing them to take more responsibility for, and control over, their achievement in school.  Student-led conferences are an experience that can improve the communication patterns of both students and parents.  Parents listen to their students, encourage growth and discuss with them solutions to specific problems.  These conferences help build organization and self-confidence for the students.
The teacher will circulate and be present for specific questions on issues that the students may not be able to answer. Of course, if after the student-led conference, should a parent desire a time to meet with the teacher, please speak with your students’ home team teacher.  It was our experience last year and in many schools across the country that students are able to share effectively and answer many questions about their learning in student-led conferences.
Please call the school to sign up for these exciting Student-Led Parent Conferences on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015, and don’t forget to bring your student with you!

Thanks for all that you do for the PAML community!

Karen Weeks

  • Express positive interest and anticipation about the upcoming conference.
  • Listen and respond to the student.
  • Express pride in growth and progress.
  • Ask questions.
  • Be positive, offering to help in areas where improvement is needed.
  • Recognize that students need to develop independence in communicating progress – the teacher will be there to facilitate and answer specific questions but will not take charge of the conference.  There may be two conferences happening at the same time - the teacher will be in the background.


  • Can you explain this to me?
  • How did you come up with this idea?
  • How have you grown in this area?
  • How can you improve in this area?
  • How can we help you at home?
  • What was important to you about this?
  • If you could do this work over again, how would you change it?
  • Have you thought about future goals?