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E. Russell Hicks conferences showcase work of students

May 26, 2008

More than 750 parents attended E. Russell Hicks Middle School's student-led conferences recently.

During this annual activity, students share their academic progress and success in individual presentations for their parents or other supervising adults.

Not only did the conferences give students an opportunity to review and showcase the year's work, but they helped students develop their organizational and speaking skills, according to a prepared release.

Students prepared for the conferences by compiling portfolios of noteworthy assignments for every subject throughout the school year. Teachers helped students assemble and organize their portfolios and worked with them on their presentations.

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Each grade, sixth through eighth, was assigned a day for its conferences. Parents went to the school to attend the meetings and to visit their children's language arts class. For 20 minutes, the student shared his or her successes in every subject.

The school gave all students binders in which to keep examples of the activities and assignments of which they were particularly proud.

Every student conducted a conference. If a parent was unable to participate, a teacher with whom the student is comfortable, district leader or other community volunteer attended to hear about the student's progress.

The middle school's Action Team for Partnerships (ATP) recognizes that a strong home-school connection is crucial for students' success, the release says. Student-led conferences enabled students to serve as a bridge from school to home.

Another benefit of the conferences was that they became a community affair. A number of businesses, such as Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Sheetz, McDonald's and Rocky's Pizza, donated cash and food, and offered discount coupons to participants.

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