Every Kid Is Worth a Conversation

Dear Upper School Families,

On Wednesday, October 25, all students in Grades 9-12 are invited to lead a 25-minute conference with their advisor and parent(s). Students will share their goals, present demonstrations of learning, identify curiosities and strengths, and seek feedback to support and challenge their progress. Through this experience, we desire students to:

  • Take ownership of their learning
  • Develop deeper relationships between advisor and parent(s)
  • Demonstrate skills of communication, reflection, and feedback
  • Discover the value of:
    • setting a goal
    • sharing specific demonstrations of learning
    • deep learning beyond alpha-numeric grades
    • student choice and the pursuit of curiosities through iProject
    • measuring progress on MV Mindsets
    • celebrating wins, growth, and achievement

Student-led conferences have been practiced at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School since 2015. Each student is paired with an advisor; a faculty member who interacts regularly with your child. In the weeks prior, students will work diligently with advisors to prepare. Your child should be able to discuss his or her own progress in any area, with the advisor taking a secondary role.

Parents may request a conference directly with a content-specific teacher any time throughout the semester or school year to discuss student progress related to alpha-numeric grades, learning outcomes, or other concerns. Student-led Conference day is designed and reserved for the purposes stated above.

Name: Arden Adams
Advisor: Brad Droke

We value our partnership with Mount Vernon families and look forward to this opportunity to come together to support student learning. Students will not be in school this day, however, our goal for student-led conferences is 100% student and parent participation. Every kid is worth a conversation. If you would like to speak to the advisor without your child present, we will make a portion of the time available. All after school athletic events will proceed as scheduled.

Please sign up through the Power School web portal using your parent login (not student) and reserving an appointment with your child’s specific advisor. Each advisor has 12 appointment slots. Sign ups are open and available upon receipt of this email on a first come, first served basis. Students are asked to compose a personal, handwritten note inviting and encouraging parents to sign up, mentioning advisor by name.

Please read this article for instructions and tech support for how to register. Upon arrival, please check in with Sheldon Staples at the front desk in the Upper School Academic Building on the Glenn Campus. If you are unable to conference on this day, have a schedule conflict, or any other questions please call or email Sheldon Staples. Thank you for partnering with us. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, October 25.


Chip Houston
Head of Upper School

Students Take the Lead – Spring 2016

Students Take the Lead – Spring 2016

On Wednesday, February 17, students took the lead for the second time this year with student led conferences. In the fall, students shared their goals with parents and teachers. This time, students ran the show from start to finish. Introducing parents and teachers to one another, the students showcased 5 demonstrations chosen from their e-portfolios.

IMG_8466 IMG_8469 IMG_8470 IMG_8473 IMG_8474 IMG_8482 IMG_8484 IMG_8486 IMG_8489 IMG_8490 Students take the lead


Learning Transcends School

Learning Transcends School

Learning Transcends School

Do you believe learning happens only at school? Probably not.

Yet somehow, we act like it’s true. It’s like the matrix – a kind of false sense of reality. It’s similar to “God is experienced only at church.” Hogwash. God is everywhere. And learning happens everywhere, too.

For years, we have conditioned them that learning occurs in specific subjects, in specific rooms, at specific times, in specific desks. If there isn’t a grade attached to it, they may not be interested. Such conditioning limits the possibilities of learning and metacognition.

This week, we challenged students to discuss and upload examples of “learning outside the school.” It was more difficult than you might imagine.

Students met with their Conference Mentors and were asked to answer the following questions and upload at least one image, drawing, video etc, in their eportfolios/blogs…

– Describe something significant you have learned in your life “outside” of school.

– What do you like to do when you are not school? What activities, interests, and topics are most motivated to learn more about?

– Outside of school, what is something you are proud of?

– If school was abolished completely, what would you do all day? How would you spend your time?

What have you learned “outside of school?” How do adults continue to learn without the structure of “school” after “school” is completed?

Launching Student Led Conferences

Student Led Conferences
Student Led Conferences is about giving students greater ownership of their learning.

Launching Student Led Conferences
One of our major initiatives, Student Led Conferences, is about to debut. In order to prepare, conference mentors will meet with their mentees this week instead of Advisory.

The purpose of the second meeting is two-fold…

1) Cultivate deeper relationships with your mentees (get to know them well)

2) Coach them in revising their 2 goals (1 academic, 1 personal).

Try SMART goals OR challenge them to pose their goals as questions (How might I {action} in order to {significant impact}?

To truly make this debut a success, mentors and students will meet a total of 4 times before SLCs on September 23. Each meeting has a distinctive purpose.

Sept 1: Cultivate relationships, revise goals (* note: goals were set the first week of school)

Sept 15: Feedback on Digication ePortfolio

Sept 17: Students pull Power School grade reports, get feedback, communicate any flags to teachers/parents

Sept 22: Rehearsal with partners (students are sharing their goals in Fall conference)

Student Led Conferences is one of four major initiatives intended to expand the learning measures beyond (but still including) numerical grades for this year. Much gratitude to Mrs. Tripp and Ms. Goins for the research and time they spent advancing the work for our team!

Student Led ConferencesStudent Led Conferences

Resources & Research
ASCD When Students Lead Parent-Teacher Conferences
A Guide to Student Led Conferences