Letters to the Editor

Student-led sessions work

In response to Ginny Vanderlinde’s Your Turn article Oct.18:

First of all, I am sorry that Ms. Vanderlinde is “tainted” by her job and that has led her to be “suspicious.” And I am sorry that these facts lead her to make leaps that include the motives of Federal Way Public Schools’ student-led conferences. The negativity stings in her comments and choice of words (really, referring to the students presenting their work as a “dog and pony show”) when the purpose of the conferences, I believe, is to include and help students understand that the main person who controls how they do in school is themselves.

Regarding her statements about too few chances for “face time with the teachers,” I have never been turned down when asking to meet or talk over the phone with my children’s teacher’s. In fact, I know anyone can do this as often as is necessary. And as far as face time now being “optional,” I would say that since only half of all parents participated in the old system of conferences, they were already making that option themselves.

When measuring success of these conferences, while I do agree that there are lots of ways to ask questions on surveys, I also know that not everyone will agree with what has been asked. And the school district should be mindful of this when crafting surveys to try and include questions that will certainly come up from those with legitimate concerns.

Ms. Vanderlinde, you may not get anything more from this format, but I would be willing to bet that your child does, and isn’t that what we should be focusing on? If our children are getting the idea that the way they perform in school is their responsibility and to have them proudly share their successes and made part of the process when they struggle, well, I guess for me that says it all.

Sharon Kiyohara


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