During the week of December 10, New School High will be holding parent-student-teacher conferences. A primary goal of these meetings is to strengthen the bond between school and home. By bringing together those who are most central to the student’s success, we are able to share a snapshot of current progress and chart a course for continued growth. To achieve this goal, conferences at New School High are different than traditional school conferences.
The first difference is that the student must be present for the discussion. Our students are young adults whose developmental task in high school is to achieve a substantial degree of independence. As such, the expectation is that they are deliberate in their choices, set worthy goals, and drive their own education. A meeting without the key player has little chance of impact.
A second difference is that our conferences provide parents and students with the opportunity to speak with a small team of teachers who know the student well. Meeting with a group of teachers provides insight into various points of view; it can also reveal consistent themes. Consensus in feedback can be a powerful tool for understanding.
Finally, the purpose of conferences at our school is to reflect on personal rather than academic progress. We know parents and students have been keeping up with grades and coursework, but a holistic view of the student’s capacity to achieve success is something different — and more elusive. Parent-student-teacher conferences give all of us the chance to celebrate the strengths of these young adults and provide them with the information they need to continue to grow into the productive, independent adults they are striving to become.