Parent Conferences have taken on a different feel for the second year in a row at Cole. Each fall, parents and teachers sit down and talk about their child and his/her academic and social growth. But for the second year, the spring conference was a bit different. Student-Led Conferences were held for a majority of the students at Cole. These conferences are more interactive with the child and the parent discussing progress, goals, and growth. In some situations and grade levels, the teacher is sitting right beside the parents and the child, but in some grade levels, several families share the classroom as their children explain progress, self-reflections, and goals. Some grade levels featured student art work as well that parents and child discussed for its merit, likes and areas of focus. All classrooms offered a chance for conversation, reflection, and showcasing student learning.
The concept of student-led conferences was started to bring more ownership from the child about their own learning and personal growth. There is power in showing a parent finished products, authentic pieces created using technology, and even discussing student attendance. There is also power in the dialogue between parent and child about learning. Students and parents leave armed with data and information about a variety of curricular and social areas of focus. Parents in some classrooms even walked out the classroom door and posted an affirmation to their child on a board in the hallway.
"I really liked seeing what a day looks like for my child. It was fun. He (the son) shared some of the same areas of challenge with us that we see at home. It's nice to see the children taking ownership in their learning," stated one parent.
A classroom teacher said it best, "It went great. It was really fun to see students take ownership of their learning. Parents loved seeing students work and what they do each day."