We sat down this week with Middle School Principal, Kristine Adelsboell, to talk about an interesting new initiative at ICS taking place in the first couple weeks of the new school year: “The Hopes & Dreams Conference”.
We've been hearing about “Hopes & Dreams” conferences. Can you tell us a little bit about what they are?
Kristine: The Hopes & Dreams conference is new at ICS and I’m thrilled that we decided to introduce them this year. The Hopes & Dreams conferences are being done schoolwide. The purpose of the conference is for the homeroom teachers and advisors to connect with students and their parents early on in the school year, to learn about the student’s hopes and dreams for the year, to better understand how they can support the student all year long.
How frequently do these take place?
Kristine: Starting this year, in the middle school specifically, we will have three parent/teacher/student conferences. We start with the Hopes & Dreams conference as a way to connect with the family and get to know the student. The second conference in November and the third in April will focus on how the student is progressing in their learning and the steps they can take to continue to grow in their learning.
Is it voluntary or do all families have to participate?
Kristine: The message is that we expect all families to participate in the Hopes & Dreams conferences and I’m pleased to say that at this moment of time, the participation level in middle school is close to 90%. We're aiming for 100%, of course! This is an important conference to start off the school year with and we are excited to have the opportunity to connect with the families and to learn about the students’ interests as we begin a year school year.
Why do you think the “Hopes & Dreams” conference initiative is important?
Kristine: The Hopes & Dreams conference is a wonderful opportunity for students to share what they are interested in and want to learn about, and for the teachers, it provides a venue for them to learn about their students on a personal level.
At ICS we believe in the importance of students being able to personalize their learning. We do this by giving our students voice and choice. When teachers know about their students' interests and how they can support them, teachers are much better positioned to give the students the right type of support. This will benefit the students during PLEx when they decide what they want to learn about and how they will learn it, as well as during the units of learning the students engage in throughout the year.
Also, the Hopes & Dreams conference is a way to build a partnership between home and school, and having the student seated at the table so to speak, and involved in conversations that are about them, is very important.
If you’d like to learn more about the Hopes & Dreams conference, please contact your divisional principles; firstname.lastname@example.org for ES, email@example.com for MS, and firstname.lastname@example.org for HS.