A Paradigm Shift for Middle School Students

Mike Gonzalez
Are you an active learner? Are you a passive learner? Who is the most important person in the educational process? Are you setting both personal and academic goals? These are a few of the many questions being asked of the 7th and 8th grade students by their Middle School Advisors in weekly meetings designed to prepare for our new “norm” of parent-teacher communication, student-led conferences. These conferences will engage the students in new ways and will lead to them being more responsible and accountable for their own educational journey.

For years parent-teacher conferences have been the primary means of communication in regard to the students’ academic progress and would include only the parent and the teacher, leaving the most important person, the student, out of the discussion. Often, these conferences were rushed, with the parents feeling informed but not engaged. The new student-led conference format will maximize both student and parent engagement, and the advantages for the students are many. 

Firstly, our students realize high school is quickly on the horizon, and the time and need for preparation is critical. Secondly, these student-led conferences empower the students with many lifelong skills: responsibility, accountability, oral communication, goal setting, organization, and self-evaluation. Lastly, and most importantly, studies show that participation in student-led conferences improves both academic performance and the development self-confidence and self-awareness. 

Educators now acknowledge the advantages to student-led conferences and the participation, engagement, and preparation from all three parties (students, advisors, and parents) are critical for its success. As student-led conferences grow in popularity nationwide, the All Saints’ Middle School will continue to serve as a leader in this field by refining the practice and process, and by developing more methods and approaches for continued student development. Ultimately, we are arming our students with the skillset needed to take ownership fo their educational experience and to forge their path in the world.   
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All Saints’ Episcopal School is a leading college preparatory day school in Fort Worth, Texas. Grounded in the Episcopal school tradition, All Saints’ offers programming of national distinction in the academic, fine art, athletic and spiritual disciplines, which brings to life our philosophy of promoting each student’s individual genius within.
All Saints’ Episcopal School © 2013
9700 Saints Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76108 Phone: 817-560-5700