Posted: March 3, 2020
I talked with Lisa Wilderman for this week’s HOPE & JOY. The journey at Odyssey has been full of opportunity and challenges. One of the hurdles is helping parents understand how the school day is organized and what learning looks like, because the structure is different than most parents’ experiences in middle school. Another hurdle is helping students grow. “We, of course, want students to learn content and progress on the standards. We also want them to take responsibility for their learning and carry that skill on in life.” As a way to connect those two hurdles into an opportunity the team decided to have a student led conference take place during each trimester of the year. It’s an opportunity for students to share their digital portfolio (HERE’S AN EXAMPLE) with parents and other community guests. Students also take guests on a museum tour of the school describing artifacts such as project walls or art installations.
I was able to listen to seventh grader Thinh Ngo present to his family. He walked them through each of the content areas he was learning about, highlighted strengths and growth areas, and discussed the projects he was in the midst of completing. He also walked them through how he was being graded, showing them the grade book and talking about his progress towards the learning standards. It was impressive to hear him share. I included a picture of Thinh and his family. 🙂
Thinh shared that “Student led conferences are a new learning opportunity because this was not something we did at my previous school. They get me out of my comfort zone since public speaking is such a big piece in what we do here. I know the speaking and teamwork skills I’m learning will be important in the future. Odyssey is helping me be more comfortable in uncomfortable areas.”
Lisa added, “My favorite part of student-led conferences is seeing the confidence in our students as they share their learnings, project work, moments of success and areas where they still want to grow.”
Celebrating student learning success can bring a community together. Walking around the student led learning conferences last week, was a great example of this in action. It’s inspiring to see the growth!
- What are some ways you’ve seen celebrating student success build community?
- How do you celebrate your own success?