Students from across the Division to offer youthful opinions on education issues
Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) is launching a new initiative to gather student input on education issues.
Katie Douglas, a Grade 11 student at Beaverlodge Regional High School, who is also in her second year of membership on the Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council, first presented the idea of developing a Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) to the Board in January. While meetings of the 27-member Minister's Student Advisory Council typically focus on organizing the annual Speak Out conference, this year the group was also challenged to develop JSETs at School Divisions across Alberta.
Following Miss Douglas' presentation, Board Chair Dana McIntosh pointed out that "a JSET will fit perfectly with Deputy Superintendent Mark Davidson's recent discussions with Principals regarding bringing together a group of high school students to offer input on what they feel will create Quality Learning Environments at PWSD."
Since the presentation, collaboration between Mr. Davidson, school administration and Miss Douglas has resulted in the development of PWSD's Student Leadership Team initiative – an expanded vision that will include a cross-section of approximately 40 Grades 8-12 students from 19 schools. As part of their commitment to the initiative, PWSD Student Leadership Team members will assist their sister elementary schools in developing leadership programs and opportunities.
"When Miss Douglas approached PWSD to consider the development of a student advisory body, the Board was impressed by her presentation and agreed that students should play an important role in planning the future of education," says Mr. Davidson.
Miss Douglas shared the initiative with PWSD's Parent Council members during the General School Councils Meeting held at Sexsmith Secondary School in March.
"When students feel their voices are being heard, they actually want to participate. When students find out that they can affect change, and those changes are happening at a local level, they get excited," said Miss Douglas.
The first meeting of PWSD's Student Leadership Team will take place on Tuesday, May 5th at 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Stonebridge Hotel in Grande Prairie. A mixture of sessions will be offered to the approximately 40 student-members and 20 teachers, known as Student Leadership Champions. Two Trustees, representing PWSD's Board, will also be in attendance.
"While the whole group will be together for a period of time during the day, the Student Leadership Team and the Student Leadership Champions will also have separate facilitated sessions," adds Mr. Davidson. "The goal of our first meeting will be to establish a vision for our team and empower them to fan out and develop avenues for the student voice to be heard in Peace Wapiti Public Schools."
Photo Caption: Katie Douglas, a Grade 11 student and Student Leadership Team member at Beaverlodge Regional High School, who is also in her second year of membership on the Minister of Education's Student Advisory Council, presented information on PWSD's Student Leadership Team initiative to Parent Council members during the General School Councils Meeting held at Sexsmith Secondary School in March.