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The Ultimate Guide to Student-Led Conferences

Schools across the globe are preparing for conferences with their students' family members. While meeting with family members is nothing new, for some, student-led meetings may be new. So whether you've executed student-led conferences or you are new to them, you'll find something helpful here.

When I was in the core classroom teaching first graders, I loved student-led conferences. It took a lot of time, thought, and preparation, but their power was immeasurable. I loved seeing students look through their portfolios to see the areas in which they improved over the past quarter and the areas that still needed growth. I role modeled and taught them what to look for and how to present their portfolios.

What struck me most was the pride and ownership students had in their learning as they shared their work with their families. Student-led conferences are an excellent way for students to share their voices. My students loved seeing their work, identifying areas to grow, and setting goals. They selected items to put in their portfolio too. (Student choice in action.)

A few years ago, I had the honor of visiting High Tech High Elementary School & High Tech High Graduate School in San Diego, California. They are experts in PBL and student voice and choice. In addition, they've mastered student-led conferencing. Conducting student-led conferences is the norm, not the exception for them. Since they are the masters, I've compiled resources shared by them for you.

I figured why would you want to learn from anyone else but the masters, right?

Below, you will find resources to learn how student-led conferences work, how they support students, families, and teachers, and why several principals have told EL Education's Ron Berger that...

student-led conferences were “the most powerful practice in their school transformation.”
  1. Ron Berger on Student-Led Conferences- What they are, why they're powerful, and how to make a success at your school! Listen to the podcast here.

  2. Student-Led Conferences: A How-to Guide- Everything you need to know to have great student-led conferences this year! Read the article here.

  3. How to Conduct Student-Led Conferences- A teacher explains how to do student-led conferences in under three minutes! Watch the video here.

  4. Pros & Cons of Student-Led Conferences- Read the article here. (Resource from Scholastic.)

  5. Practical tips, guides, checklists, & printables for K through 12- Get them here. (Resource from Edutopia.)

Student-led conferences empower students through self assessment and reflection.

With a bit of planning, preparation, and the above resources, your students will be glowing with confidence. Student-Led conferences are influential in creating a positive, caring community with voice and choice. Above all, they help students learn applicable life skills.

You make a difference!


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