The holiday season is here which means students and staff alike are looking forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas and a long winter break. But before anyone can enjoy the holidays, they first have to complete this year’s Student-Led Conference (SLC).
SLCs are back, with a few changes focused on improving the format and building a community around individual students.
Last year, both student and staff complained about the yearly conference, many citing their struggle with family members not being able to make it to Cleveland in the short windows provided or not wanting to bring their families at all. Several staff members also found issue with the hectic scheduling and time usage.
“The SLCs last year… I felt a little bit like the parents didn’t know where to go or who to talk to, and they didn’t know why they were there with a bunch of other students,” said math teacher Laura Hollingsworth.
To combat these complaints, the SLC has shifted from a community event hosted on a single night with every student, to a conference scheduled directly with both the student’s advisory teacher and family.
“This year we want to change it so the teacher is involved in the conversation, so that the student can share their grades, any concerns that the family has can be voiced to the student and to the advisory teacher,” said Logan Reichert, ninth grade academic intervention specialist and member of the Building Leadership Team at Cleveland.
Along with advisory teachers being a direct part of the SLC, school will be dismissed two hours early on Nov. 21 and Nov. 22 to allow more convenient times for parents with busy schedules.
“We’re using that early release time to give more time for teachers to meet with students and their families,” said Reichert.
Students and their families who are still unable to make it to their conference may still have a chance to hold an SLC. Ten teachers will be offering home visits, in which teachers will meet with randomly selected students from their advisory and their family outside of school to conduct their SLC.
“That can help with families who can’t make it to campus,” said Reichert. “Potentially, the school can go to the family to meet and have a conversation with family about school.”
There are still criticisms of the SLCs that are yet to be addressed. The conference is scheduled at the end of the first quarter – after a student’s grades have been finalized – but before the threat of semester grades becomes a real danger. This means that students won’t get an opportunity to work directly with both their families and advisory teacher on fixing their report cards before they’re sent.
Even though the SLC is not without flaws, staff members hope that these changes begin building a stronger community between student’s families and teachers, and are optimistic about this year’s version of the SLC.
“Often times I feel students are in the middle and they have this community at home and they have a separate community at school, and the whole goal of the Student-Led Conference is to bring those together,” said Reichert.
“I think that we’ve continued to improve it, I hope. And I think that that’s the goal, to make it better. Perfection isn’t always possible, improvement is.”