Letting Kids Lead: Student-Led Conferences

Letting Kids Lead: Student-Led Conferences

When we say we put kids in charge of their own learning, we mean it: ARCHES Academy’s transformative approach to learning puts our K-8 kids in the driver's seat, supporting them to lead with the end in mind. When it comes to goal setting, reflecting on growth, and sharing progress with families, we ask the kids to be in charge! After all, learning is for the learner.

The old model of teachers and parents meeting to discuss a child’s academic progress, often without the student present, sends a message that education is something that is done to students, not done by them. This model takes the power and motivation out of learning. At ARCHES Academy, just like we put the responsibility for learning in the hands of the children, we also ask our students to lead conferences—who better to talk about what they have learned and where they need to go?

What are Student Led Conferences?

Student Led Conferences are an opportunity for students to showcase their learning to their families. With guidance from a mentor teacher, students reflect upon their learning, gather evidence to share, and set goals for the rest of the year. Students have time to reflect on what they do well and what they would like to do better. It’s a wonderful, real world opportunity to develop the skills of self-awareness and self-reflection.

After a period of preparation, students invite their families to a conference at school, with the student leading the majority of the discussion. The teacher is there to help answer questions and provide support, but the student is expected to discuss his/her academic and social-emotional progress in all areas, as well as touch on short and long term goals.

Student Led Conferences are an authentic way to practice many 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, and leadership. From working alongside a mentor teacher to practicing speaking before the conference, students of all ages are introduced to the concepts of presenting, organization, reflection, and evaluation—Real skills that adults are asked to use all the time!

Parents often report that they see another side of their child during these student led conferences. Conversations are richer and more clear. They see their students develop into effective communicators who are invested in their learning and proud of their progress.

An ARCHES Academy student and teacher sit together to work on a task in their learning binder

What do Student Led Conferences look like at ARCHES?

Our certified teachers are experts at scaffolding the SLC process from start to finish. An ARCHES mentor works alongside a student to plan, prepare, and practice—from Kindergarten to 8th grade, no two student led conferences will look the same!

When you attend an SLC, you will meet with your child and his/her mentor. Expect your student to lead the meeting, using his/her school binder as an outline for the conference. They will review each class and discuss goals.

This is your child’s chance to shine! Parents are encouraged to ask questions during the conferences such as:

  • Tell me more about how you did this.
  • What was your thinking here?
  • Why did you choose this piece to show me?
  • What are you most proud of?

We recognize each child for the huge accomplishment of preparing and leading their own conference. Our students may be nervous, but they are well supported. What a gift to watch our students grow into confident, able communicators!

Parents are welcome to ask questions of their child’s mentor for clarification, but we recommend setting up an additional meeting with the teacher if there are areas you would like to address.

Because children work with a mentor to plan the conference, we are confident that parents gain a clear, balanced picture of how their child is learning and growing at ARCHES. Feedback shows that parents love to attend student led conferences. It’s just another way ARCHES is focusing on the needs of individual students as we prepare them for the future.

About ARCHES Academy

Our commitment is to help each K-8 learner achieve mastery of the standards by use of authentic learning experiences, coaching and mentoring, freedom of choice, and personal responsibility. At ARCHES Academy, our educational approach produces outstanding individuals who not only have acquired exceptional literacy in the arts and sciences, but mastery over self and true leadership ability. Enrolling K-8 tuition-free today!