New twist on parent-teacher conferences at Ballard

Published 6:56 am Saturday, February 28, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Teachers at Ballard Elementary are using student-led parent conferences to teach their students to take more responsibility for their education.
The conferences are basically the same as any other parent-teacher conference, except the students are present to explain their academic performance, work habits and behavior.
By having the students lead the way, they are able to share an accurate picture of their learning experience with their parents.
There are first, second and sixth grade teachers holding the student-led conferences at Ballard.
Moore gives each of her students a question sheet to prepare them for the conference. She asks them to write about their favorite subjects, what areas they do well in and what areas they need practice in.
She was surprised by how well each of the students evaluated themselves.
For the young first grade students, the conference involves showing their parents around the room and telling them about different class projects.
The student then sits at a table with their parents and teacher to talk about what is going on at school.
For sixth grade students, the conferences help to prepare them for the student-led conferences they will experience in seventh grade at Ring Lardner.
The first 10 minutes of the conferences are led by the student and the final five minutes are for just the parents and the teachers.
Sixth grade teacher Amy Scott said the conferences give most students the chance to show their parents how well they are doing.
The student-led conferences are meant to help the students learn to evaluate their progress, build self-confidence, encourage student/parent communication and make them more responsible.