Students at Hubbard Middle School are putting it all out on the table for their parents and teachers to see. Literally.
Over the past few days, sixth, seventh and eighth graders have led their own parent/teacher conferences where they showcase their work, discuss grades, behavior, attendance and benchmark scores. Standing in front of their teachers and parents, students discuss their tracked data in these areas as well as show examples of work they are particularly proud of and areas they want to improve upon. Students are also asked to report on where they are in the school wide 40 Book Challenge and how many of the required 10 hours of community service they have completed.
“Student led conferences are part of our leadership training,” librarian Sarah Starr said. “It gives students an opportunity to stand tall and brag about themselves for a bit. They are used to adults standing and talking to them, so the conferences give the students a chance to do the talking.”
“Hello, welcome to my student-led conference,” Sam, an eighth grader, said. “The purpose of this conference is for me to take ownership of my academic, behavioral and social progress.”
After showing the contents in his notebook, he moved to what he was most proud of: maintaining all As and Bs so far this year, the detail and time he puts into his one-page note sheets, his improved behavior over last year and that he is the only student to have already read 30 books in the 40 book challenge. This time last year, he said he had read zero books in the challenge.
“These conferences are about improving ourselves,” Ms. Starr told Sam. “Your data shows tremendous improvement and you should be very proud of yourself. You are doing all the right things to move up and be successful in high school.”
Each conference is intended to last 15 minutes. The student begins with an introduction, shows his/her work and then hears feedback from two teachers as well as their parents.
“I think these conferences are good for students because they help us realize what we may need to improve on,” fellow eighth grader Abigail said. “When we get to high school, it will be harder to stay organized and keep up if we aren’t prepared.”
“We have had three successful days of student-led conferences,” Principal Kevin Blain said. “Allowing every student an opportunity to take personal responsibility for their academic and behavioral performance is a powerful experience.”