Student-Led Conferences


Student-led conferences are a way for students to reflect on their achievements and adjust their efforts to grow and succeed in the following quarter. (Photo by Grace Daniel)

Student-led conferences (SLC) are a way for students to reflect on their quarter, personally and academically. It allows the student to think back to what worked, what did not work, and how they can improve their academic success based on their experiences so far. The conferences took place March 15th and March 16th.

“Our student-led conferences used to be completely student-led. Now, with all the other information we have to pass out to parents, we really fight the balance of letting the students talk to their parents rather than just the teachers. First quarter is usually more student-led, but as the year goes on there is more to talk about, like community service and signing up for classes. We want students to think about their academic performance and guide a conversation about how they are doing,” says principal Mike Sinclair.

However, some people think that there should be a way for students to opt out. Some have suggested that we should be able to get out of going to an SLC under different circumstances, like having good grades. Some also feel that the decision to have the conference or not should be the parents’ decision, or even the student’s teachers’ decision.

“I think that if a student is doing really well with their grades and is keeping up with their community service hours, they should be able to get out of coming to student-led conferences. I think they better serve students who are struggling,” says sophomore Connor Beaule.

However, Brashier is built on the belief that students, teachers, and parents should all have time to reflect on the student and improve themselves. Brashier’s charter even contains guidelines that require SLCs. Therefore, Brashier’s staff hasn’t really considered making them optional.

“We actually haven’t considered letting students opt out of them. Student-led conferences are a piece of our charter and something that we all believe in. We think that it’s good to think about what a student can be doing better, regardless of how well they are already doing. There is always room for improvement.” says assistant principal Trina Freeman.

Since all students are required to participate in an SLC, one way to make them more beneficial to all students, even if they are already doing very well in school, is to have certain topics the students have to talk about. Brashier currently implements this with forms that the student is asked to bring, completed, to their conference. This reflection sheet is designed to allow the student to understand what they need to change in order to do even better in school the following quarter.

“I think that one of the most beneficial parts of the SLCs is talking about grades. It allows us to talk about what we could be doing to make our grades even better. I also think that college is something that we should talk about because it’s something that is good for every student to know about. Also, it can help you decide what classes to take based on what colleges look for,” says sophomore Meghan Wetherald.

The central ideas of Brashier’s SLCs are for the student to reflect on their quarter. Students are encouraged to make sure they are meeting their goals in terms of academics. If not, it’s a good time for teachers and parents to encourage the student to find a solution to help them to get to where they would like to be.

“Really, it’s more of a reflection on the quarter. It allows the student to write down their thoughts and decide what they need to be doing differently or continue doing to help them do the best that they can. A big part of what Brashier believes in is reflection. Every year, after any event, we try to figure out what we can do next time to make everything we do better. Also, we always welcome student and parent input; it helps us realize what we need to do differently to make everything succeed,” says Freeman.