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Students to become more involved in parent-teacher conferences

This year students will get the chance to show what they've learned rather than hanging their heads while listening to teachers discuss their work at Harrison Middle School's student-led parent-teacher conferences, Doug Rogers, assistant principal, said.

The conferences, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 3, from 8 to 11 a.m., noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8:30 p.m., will give students a chance to show their parents what they've accomplished in school, Rogers said.

"It's a different approach," Rogers said.

Lupe Fraga, an 8th grade counselor, said students will lead the conference and begin by presenting their grades, projects and other examples of work.

By allowing students to be more involved in leading the conference students will have more of a chance to show their strengths.

That approach is one that research shows is beneficial for both students and parents, Fraga said. And many schools around the country are already doing conferences this way.

"Research shows that it's something being used widely," Fraga said.

Students and their parents will get the chance to meet with all of the students' teachers at one time because students are taught by teams of four. The teams include two language arts teachers, one math teacher and one science teacher.

Rogers also said because students are presenting their own work it means students need to be more aware of their progess in certain areas and know not only their strengths but also their weaknesses.

Although this is the first year conferences will be held this way for most students, Rogers said the this type of conference began in limited fashion last year.

Teachers who held conferences in this way before helped get others up to speed, Rogers said.

He said that some teachers are definitely more familiar with this approach than others, but workshopping has helped get others more involved.

Rogers said technology may also be used in the presentations, including the use of Powerpoint slideshows as a means to present students' work.

For more information on the conferences, call Harrison Middle School at 837-3601.

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