One of the hallmarks of The Howard School is the student-led conference designed to share student progress. Held three times per year for Lower School and twice per year for Middle School / Transition and High School, each conference lasts one hour or more and often includes parents, teachers, principal, school psychologist, school counselor, math specialist, speech-language pathologist, assistive technology director and a literacy specialist.
The conferences are student-led to the degree that is developmentally appropriate, and reflect the belief that understanding one’s process of learning is as important as the knowledge itself. To this end, teachers help students prepare for conferences by guiding them to:
- Chair and lead their conference.
- Deepen their understanding of their personal learning profile.
- Identify strategies that complement their personal learning approach.
- Set benchmarks for learning throughout the year.
- Identify and characterize their passions and interests.
- Develop and present a portfolio.
Each conference has its own purpose. The fall conference is a time to identify areas of concentration that the student will address during the year. At the winter conference, the teacher(s), parents, and student examine the student’s progress-to-date in the areas of concentration and determine if they should be updated or revised. At the spring conference, students, teachers and parents look back over the year’s progress and start to identify areas of concentration for the following year. Conferences are capstones of our students’ time at The Howard School, and are key elements in helping each student reach their full potential.