Student-Led Conferences

By Definition:

The goal of this practice is to continue to build the communication between teachers and families while empowering students to showcase what they have learned, their challenges and their goals. The big difference between student led vs. parent-teacher conferences is the presence and role students have. Instead of being talked about in 3rd person between the parents and teachers they take control of the meeting and share their progress and their journey.

For some schools this is the easiest lever to begin transforming culture to one supporting student empowerment.

How schools design this into their practice depends on the school culture and current structures. Key is to define the roles and communicate this ahead of time. Here is a one-pager that may help to explain the practice to teachers.

AheadPrepares reflection to share, collects evidence to showcase and practices presentation with peers.Launches Student-led conferences and provides tools for students to use to prepare for leading their own conference.
HERE is a one pager for students.
Calendars date to attend the event.Schedules time appropriate for these conferences.
Communicates to each of the stakeholders their role.
Trains teachers.
DuringLeads their conference: presents their goals, current achievements with evidence of learning and reflects on challenges he/she is still working on.Actively listens. Asks questions. Thinks about ways to support child at home.Actively listens. Asks questions. Helps learner make connections between their key points when relevant.Circulates. Attends a few conferences and is available for questions.
AfterReflects on conference and designs a plan moving forward to address the challenges.Provides feedback to his/her child and identifies ways to support child at home. Provides feedback to school about the event.Looks for patterns amongst the students and their strengths and challenges. Adjusts lessons to support learning n response to the patterns. Reflects on feedback received about the event and identify ways to improve it for future.
What Happens Before, During and After Student Led Conferences
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on

What might a student say when given the Mic?

Student Led Conference Overview Gallery Style and Directions for a staff.

To communicate expectations to parents here is a sample letter to revise.

Student Led Conference Presentation Style

In this context the student is presenting to their teachers and parents their learning. The descriptions are similar to above but the format is different in that all of the students’ teachers should be present together and sitting along side the parents.

Feedback Tools

Key from these events is to hear from your stakeholders about how these events went. Here is a sample short questionnaire one school used to learn more about what parents thought about the event and hearing from their child.


Update: 29Jan22- A school that recently implemented this practice commented that their overall attendance for conferences with parents increased significantly because students were required to attend. In addition the conferences proved to be more active in that students took lead and shared their learning. One area for improvement the school acknowledged is for the students to demonstrate more evidence of the learning but overall it was a great success and manageable to implement. Teachers also felt invigorated instead of exhausted at the end of the day.