Approximately 70 PWSD students and 20 teacher champions from across Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) came together at the Stonebridge Inn in Grande Prairie on Wednesday, November 16 for the first Jurisdictional Student Engagement Team (JSET) meeting of the school year.
The PWSD JSET, established in 2014 to provide collaborative opportunities for students to offer perspectives on education issues, meets twice annually, in addition to virtual meetings via Google Hangout.
During the first half of the day, the JSET broke into small groups to offer feedback on PWSD's Quality Learning Environment (QLE) implementation. Assistant Superintendent Darren Young facilitated the meeting and encouraged students to provide honest opinions. "It's important to tell us what you feel, not what you think we want you to say."
In the first activity, students and teacher champions formed groups to discuss, define and report on what they feel a quality learning environment should look like. To kick-start discussions, key words from PWSD's QLE model were hidden under each table, and students documented their thoughts on what each one means to them: Inclusive, Dynamic, Supportive, Diverse, Collaborative, Purposeful, Resilient, Life-Long Learner, Ethical, Empowered, and Successful.
Next, students learned about Purposeful Assessment and Evaluation, an element of PWSD's QLE which outlines the process teachers take to determine how to teach different concepts based on evidence of how well their students are doing, while providing informed feedback to continually move learning forward. Students read handouts and then recorded personal examples of effective assessments.
In the final exercise of the morning, groups shared their thoughts on what the words Inclusion, Collaborative and Engagement really mean within a classroom, and offered feedback on what they feel currently contributes to creating dynamic learning environments within their schools. Students were reminded that no idea is too small, even one that they think may be obvious. The groups were then asked to record what they would like teachers and administrators to know about their learning, and offer tips on what would make it more engaging.
Following lunch, Joanne Bardak of the Northwest Regional Learning Consortium (NRLC) and Assistant Principal Stacy Rorem of Robert W. Zahara Public School gave a presentation on Developing Leadership in My School.
Information provided at the meeting will be compiled and shared with school administrators and the PWSD Board. A second meeting is being planned for the spring of 2017.
To view additional photos from the meeting, visit PWSD's Facebook page.