Students reflect, set goals during student-led conferences


Photo credit: Francie Wallack

Sophomore Abby Borstein looks through her student-led conference slideshow. Along with the rest of students in sixth through 11th grade, Borstein gave her presentation Friday, Feb. 10.

By Francie Wallack, Multimedia Editor

According to seventh grade mentor Gemma Oliver, student-led conferences allow students to “reflect” and “take some ownership over their own learning.”

Each year, all students, except for seniors, participate in student-led conferences. This year, SLCs took place Friday, Feb. 10. Students spoke to their parents and mentors about their goals for the second semester and reflected on the previous semester. While students were encouraged to present in person, they were given the option to present on Zoom. 

Students signed up for their SLCs using their student portal, where they had various time slots to choose from. Archer did not hold classes Feb. 10, so those who presented in person were only required to go to campus for their appointment time.

Ninth grader KJ McPherson presented to her parents and mentor in person using a Google Slideshow. For the past two weeks in her mentorship group, she has been completing reflection documents created by Archer’s administration. Middle school and ninth grade students had more rigid guidelines to follow, while 10th and 11th grade students had more agency in choosing their presentation formats. After completing the initial reflections, McPherson transferred the information to the slideshow that she presented during her conference. 

“We are choosing three of our favorite classes and then describing our grade for the first semester, what worked well and what didn’t and what changes we’re going to make moving forward into the second semester,” McPherson said. “We had a very helpful outline for what they wanted, and they’ve been giving us comments and feedback as we go along.”

As a sixth grader, Carmen Muños Graham was required to present her SLCs by giving a speech to her parents and mentor. She said she believes SLCs are very important for sixth graders because it is their first year doing them, and it sets a precedent for the rest of their time at Archer.

“It’s especially important for sixth grade because SLCs will help them get used to Archer,” Muños Graham said. “Since they’re already done with the first semester, they can reflect and know what to keep doing.”

Each appointment was 20 minutes long, allowing students to present for the majority of the conference with time at the end for parents and mentors to ask follow-up questions. Oliver said she appreciates SLCs because it gives her a chance to learn and ask questions about her mentees.

“I don’t always teach the students that I mentor, so it’s always helpful to get some insight into what’s going on in the classroom with them and get a big picture of their experiences,” Oliver said.

McPherson said she was excited to share her growth and celebrate her learning with her parents during her conference because she knew they would appreciate insight into her academic life.

“The perspective of students on their own learning is important for parents to understand,” McPherson said. “If they hear from just the perspective of the teachers, it’s being less catered towards the students individual ideas and learning tools.”