Wider options continue for student conferences

Kris Long, Sports Editor

Student-Led Conferences will continue to be held with a Zoom option and expanded scheduling times this semester despite school being back to in-person school five days a week.

Conferences will be from Feb. 1 to 26 — rather than a two day window as previously — with times coordinated between families and Advisory teachers. Students and parents can choose between in-person and remote conferences. 

“Last semester… we had a really good turnout by utilizing Zoom,” senior principal Ben Jimenez said. “So, with COVID and just how well it worked last semester, we’re going to do it again this semester … our reasoning is it didn’t hurt our conferences, so we’re going to do it again.”

With Zoom last semester, MHS saw the second highest attendance rates for conferences — at 52% — since 2018, when student-led conferences began. Though the increase in attendance may have been related to students struggling in hybrid, greater accessibility of teachers could have made a difference. 

“[Last semester] was our second highest attendance that we’ve ever had with student led conferences,” Jimenez said. “And I think part of the increase this fall was the ease of being able to do it and not having to necessarily come into the school.”

“I think it worked to our advantage because we were able to meet at times that were outside of the preset schedule,” math teacher Dedra Braxmeyer said. “I personally had more students choose the Zoom option than the in-person because I let them choose what they prefer.”

While having a full month for conferences makes finding time easier, a concern is that teachers might be expected to make themselves available for conferences throughout the month.

“I preferred the month, it allowed us to work them in as it worked out for my students and myself and their families,” Braxmeyer said. “There’s definitely advantages to both, but I thought the flexibility still worked pretty well because advisors could still choose to say, ‘I am setting my schedule to be during this week,’ or ‘I’m going to do all of them on these three days’… so you really have a ton of flexibility you can adapt it to.”

It hasn’t been decided whether conferences will continue to have a Zoom option after the pandemic, but it is up for consideration. 

“I think if we see more success we may consider it,” Jimenez said.  “We also want to get back to our norms as well … But through all of COVID, there’s been things that we’ve seen that we’ve been maybe more successful in [virtually]. And those are the kinds of things we need to evaluate and look at … to say: ‘do we want to keep these?”