As we look forward to conference days here at Horizons, I wanted to share with you some thoughts about the importance of conferences and the unique way that we do them here at Horizons K-8. For families that are new to Horizons, and as a reminder to those of you who have been here for a while, we want you to know and understand that our student led conferences are one of the critical and most effective pieces of our approach to creating life-long learners.
We know that one of the primary drivers of student success in school is the level of expectations that the adults in a child’s life have for her or him. We also know that by intentionally not using grades or other external measures to gauge student success, students learn to ask the deeper question of “How am I growing as a learner?” versus “How am I doing?” Possibly even more important is the internal conversation a learner has about the quality of the work they are producing versus the quantity. Ultimately good learners understand and can articulate their learning process and understand it to be as, or more important than, the actual product that was produced.
There is nothing more satisfying to an educator (and a parent!) than to hear a student talk about their work when this work reflects their personal best effort. The gift of our brand of conferences is that students begin to have high expectations of themselves based on their internal desires to produce quality work and to understand how they arrived at this point as a learner.
When a school chooses student-led conferences, we are valuing this deeper conversation in a significant way.
We invite you as parents into conference time with these thoughts in mind. Please come ready to engage your child as they explore how to be a learner and how to create a level of self-awareness that a grade or a score would not give them.
At Horizons we have multiple ways to assess student progress. With our conferences, we are assessing student learning in the most authentic way. At conferences, we encourage you to support your students in answering these questions: Who am I as a learner? What is my personal best work? How do I know when my work is complete? As our students grapple with these questions, we will know that we have helped them take ownership of their education.
We welcome you as families into this process and we look forward to seeing you!