Beginning in 9th grade, a more prominent school focus becomes preparing students for the post-secondary world. This occurs in grade/age-appropriate stages with the following college and career readiness topics in mind: academic engagement, mindsets, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, learning processes, and transition skills. Students develop these skills at their own pace with assistance at school and home over time. The development of a student’s growth mindset, understanding how they learn given their unique learning difference, and recognition of their strengths and challenges are all essential components of success after high school. Students need the opportunity to practice their skills in a safe space (school and home) and student-led conferences offer them that opportunity.
Throughout the year, Wye River Upper School explicitly teaches students how to reflect on their work, self-assess, set realistic goals, create action plans to meet them, and talk about their progress with others. The student-led conference aims to empower students to take ownership of their learning as they lead the conversation with their parents and teachers about their goals and progress.
Student-led conferences occur within the fall semester, just after report cards are released. Students prepare for their conference with guidance during school through group and individual advisories. In doing so, students can reflect on their learning, recognize and be proud of their accomplishments and gain an understanding of areas of improvement.