PLP Pathways: Webinar 3 Recap -- Family Engagement and Student Led Conferences

On Thursday, November 15, PLP Pathways hosted the third webinar of our yearly professional development series. The topic of our webinar was building family engagement, positive relationships and the benefits of student-led conferences.

Our special guest was Vermont teacher and parent Melissa Akey. Melissa had three students go through the Swift House program at Williston Central School and provided dual perspectives as both an educator and parent.

Throughout the webinar, a primary theme that developed was the continuing importance of building relationships with both students and families.

It became clear that providing multiple opportunities for families to connect and engage with the school community and teachers was a critical element of creating a tight web of support for students.

Additionally, a variety of innovative ways to engage students in the conference process were highlighted. These included "flipped conferences", multiple conferences across the year, providing childcare for families with younger siblings and even home visits.

Whatever the strategies being considered, building those connections with students and families is an important foundation for student success.

Key Webinar Discussion Questions:
  • What have been your experiences with communication and engagement with your children's’ teachers? What types of methods have been effective? Where do you see areas for growth?
  • What activities/opportunities were there for parents to become engaged with the students and feel like they were part of the greater learning community?
  • Your children were all on a middle school team that had student-led PLP conferences. How did these conferences impact your child’s engagement and ability to advocate for him/herself in high school? Did your children feel empowered by this?

Questions From the Field

  • It’s so hard to find time for productive conferences. How do make the time for this?
  • What should educators do about families that are disengaged? How can we get them more involved?
  • What platforms are teachers using for personal learning plans or for students to share their work at their conferences?
  • How are students prepped for student-led conferences? How do they create their goals and show evidence of growth?

Professional Development

Don’t forget that if you choose to view the webinar, you can receive professional development credit for doing so. Here is the link for that professional development credit.

Thanks always for your work with Vermont’s students!

Announcements and Closing

  • March 13: VAMLE Beyond Bullying Conference - Champlain College