By Pritha Nag and Tanvi Mittal

On September 23rd and 30th, SLC’s (student-led conferences) are going to take place. Many have been shocked by this sudden, out of the blue event. Why is this? SLC’s have been placed quite early on in the academic year, and we want to hear everyone’s opinions on it. Last year’s SLC was on October 8th and 12th. This year SLC dates are the 23rd and 30th September. It’s a 12-20 day gap, but many seem to think it makes all the difference.  Many have been confused and perplexed as to why it is like this, and we are going to be getting students’ and teachers’ opinions on this confusing topic. What do they think? What are there opinions? Do they agree with this? 

When we asked Swanica Shah, the Chair of our All Middle School Committee, what she thought, this is what she said.  “I feel like the SLC’s have come too soon this year, and we haven’t got a chance to do too many projects.” 

As we have collected and discovered students’ opinions, we realised one common factor between almost all our peers, was that they thought SLC’s have not been organized efficiently. So, we decided to see if the teachers felt the same way since they had a different perspective. 

Mr Thomas Finch, a teacher of Individuals and Society for 7th and 8th Grade, and homeroom teacher of 7B said “It’s been a challenge because obviously, we couldn’t use the questionnaires and resources we’ve used in the past, which were based on reflecting on projects the students had previously done. So, we had to tailor them and change them to suit goal-setting rather than reflecting. “ 

“I am very pro-SLC and so I am really excited for it to happen this year,” says Ms Judith Malgas, the seventh and eighth-grade math teacher. “But at the same time, we are used to having it a bit later in the year when more summatives are covered. So I think that a slightly later time in the year would be good. The students in the higher grades know that the SLC’s are coming up so it is easier for them. They should prepare anyways because they already have the datasheets, prep sheets and websites so they can really go and work ahead.” 

But what did lower grade homeroom teachers think? We decided to interview Ms. Leslie Bartly, the homeroom teacher of 6B and teacher of Individuals and Society and Language and Literature. She had something completely different to say– “I’m really excited because they’re starting up their new google sites. I do think the 6th graders have had enough time, but I can only speak for 6th grade. I think that this year students are finding it hard to find graded evidence via a summative. So as 6th graders we found this a really good opportunity to develop a growth mindset. Do I think that I did a good job? And how can I look inside myself and see if I’m proud of this work? 

Looking at the opinions of both teachers and students, we realize that a majority of people think the SLC has not been timed well. 

We had gathered students’ opinions, but what did people that were new to the school think. We wanted to know what they thought of SLC’s, and if they agree with these things. We decided to interview Rishi Teckchandani from the 9th grade and Kavya Hebbar from the 7th grade. Both are new to our school, so what do they think? 

“Even though our summatives are coming soon, I don’t think we have enough evidence to show our parents,” are the words of Rishi Tekchandani, who has recently joined the school.  “We have to show examples of what we have learned and our goals for the year but we have not had enough time to do that yet.” Rishi, being new to the school has never really experienced how an SLC is here at Ascend. “I am new to the school and I didn’t know what they were. It is a little hard to do summatives, formatives, tasks, and the SLC all at once.” 

When Kavya Hebbar (another new addition to the Ascend community)  was asked “Do you agree with this goal-setting idea”  She responded by saying,

We need to set goals, but I think it should have been a little later, so we can also reflect upon some other things.” 

Kavya Hebbar

Keya Advani of the 7th Grade, who has been in Ascend for over six years, had quite a statement to make. “We just have no evidence of our work, and just ew–” -Keya Advani 

Another anonymous child also had some bold statements regarding the SLCs. “I’m just so done with SLC’s, we’re spending too much and it’s how we’re spending our homerooms when homeroom is meant for class-bonding and reflecting. We can’t do anything other than SLC’s in homeroom! “ -Anonymous. 

In conclusion, according to the majority of the student and teacher body, SLC’s have not been timed well. We hope that this article can bring some change and awareness of this topic for the future.  We would also like to thank everyone who allowed us to interview them. Siya Agarwal, Naina Sharma, Rishi Tekchandani, Ms Judith Malagas, Ms Saumya, Mr Thomas Finch, Ms Leslie Bartley, Swanica Shah, Kavya Hebbar and Keya Advani.

To end this article with a point of reflection, here is a thought-provoking quote by Siya Aggrawal of the 10th Grade, who is part of the Middle School’s judiciary committee. “The SLC’s are a very important part of our curriculum and is a really great platform to demonstrate goals to parents but I feel because we haven’t done much, we don’t have much to present and it might get us to a bad start. Doing this later will give the SLC some foundation and will make it easier to have a steadier base for our goals. -Siya Agarwal

Pritha Nag is 9th Grader in Ascend. She loves reading and writing and channelling her thoughts and opinions through her articles. Her hobbies include, reading, article-writing and journalling. Pritha believes that everyone should use their power and platform to spread positivity and good messages.