Areas of Impact


Age Group

Middle School


30-45 minutes 


Twice yearly, before conferences 


Print Materials

Family Conferences Goal-Setting

Self Awareness & Growth Mindset, Self-Advocacy

Student reflection before family conferences builds their self-awareness and ownership of their learning, making family conferences more meaningful and productive for everyone.


This document provides a structure for student reflection in preparation for and during family conferences.


At Gateway Middle School, our “teacher conferences” are all family conferences, including teachers, families and students. In the fall, we have collaborative family conferences, while in the spring, the conferences are completely student-led.  

In preparation for the fall family conferences, students reflect on their work in each class and set one goal for themselves. This goal-setting becomes the basis for the conferences. In the family conference, all  partners in the student’s learning --teacher, family & student-- help the student set a second goal, identifying supports and strategies to help students meet their goals. Students return to these goals when they set new goals during their Student-Led Conferences in the spring semester.


Whether or not your school has student-led conferences, this document is helpful to keep the student’s voice and agency during conference time. Remember that if students are not used to setting goals for themselves, this will be hard. Sample goals or sentence starters of goals can be helpful for younger students. Also, all students need reminders to set “SMART” goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). A quick mini-lesson about SMART goals and sample SMART goals are helpful for all students. We use our Student Agency Rubric as a basis to frame student’s thinking about Student Agency goals, but content area goals also figure prominently during conferences.

To facilitate record-keeping, we have also translated this document into surveys for students to complete electronically.

After conferences, remember that this needs to be a living document for both students and teachers. Teachers might record the goals in a spreadsheet for their own references, while students might put it in a class binder or notebook. Weekly referencing of the personal goal is essential to reach it!

Related Content:

Student Agency Rubric

Student-Led Conference Portfolio Checklist

Student-Led Conference Goal-Setting

Resources at the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)