Capitol Hill Day School

School Notes - October 2014

CHDS fourth-grader with Igbo basket at Frontier Culture Museum. Photo: Laura Nakatani 

Nurturing Confident, Compassionate Learners 

At twice yearly family conferences, Capitol Hill Day School parents and teachers meet to discuss their children’s progress in school. Parents are often asked to answer a few pre-conference questions: What does your child talk about regarding school? What should I know about your child or family that will help me teach your child? What specific issues would you like to discuss during the conference? 

CHDS six, seventh and eighth-graders are not only present for the conference; they lead it, setting the agenda and guiding their parents and teachers through an in-depth discussion of the student’s academic progress. The adults and students then determine next steps. Students prepare for student-led conferences by working with teacher advisors to set goals, reflect on their learning strengths and weaknesses, evaluate their own behavior, and select academic work for a portfolio that illustrates their learning profile. 

Student-led conferences fit perfectly with the CHDS goal of helping students become more self-reflective and independent. When adolescents are active participants in conversations about their learning, they gain important insights about the nature of learning, as well as the motivation to set goals and work towards them. Furthermore, the practice of presenting a balanced and detailed self-assessment serves students well during the high school application process in eight-grade. 

Developing self-reflection and critical thinking skills begins well before the middle school years. In every classroom and on the 300+ field trips, students are encouraged to ask questions, collect and analyze data, and present their findings. Check out the December 4 Admissions Open House for applicants for grades 5-7, at 7p.m. - Jane Angarola, Capitol Hill Day School, 210 South Carolina Ave, SE, jangarola@chds.org.


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