April 26, 2019 Message to Members

BC Student Voice

I’m working on Saturday, but somehow it doesn’t seem like work. I’ll be joining several dozen impassioned, smart and lively students at the BC Student Voice Spring Forum. My session with these students will focus on a discussion of the Grade 10 Literacy & Numeracy, and Grade 12 Literacy programs: their candid feedback is critical to the Graduation Assessment (Literacy 12) Working Group and I’m looking forward to many ideas that haven’t yet occurred to the adults in the room.

In fact, the Forum – which commences today – will solicit the student reps’ opinions on a range of current societal and educational challenges. The Ministry of Health will be there to explore strategies for both mental health & vaping, and youth cannabis use; and the Minister of Education and his team will engage with the students about the Framework for Accountability.

Best of all, the students run the show. They set the agenda and host the event, which will include an inspirational address by Olympian Brent Hayden and a field trip to the Vancouver Aquarium to find out about the Ocean Wise program and get hands-on learning in the Wet Lab. What struck me most in looking at the Forum’s agenda is the focus on team-building activities, regional presentations and reflective writing exercises. These students know that there are key priorities when they gather twice a year, and that connection, collaboration and mindfulness top the list.

It’s rewarding to see students not only embracing their own learning, but drawing circles back to the starting point to ensure that their feedback is heard. On this point, I’ll add a special shout-out to a BC Student Voice representative who will be at the Forum this weekend: Sarah Seymour, a grade 11 student from SaHali Secondary School in Kamloops. Sarah was selected by the BCPVPA through a competitive application process, and is one of 300 Canadian students aged 16-24 who will attend the Canada Youth Summit in Ottawa this May. Those students will be helping with the development of Canada’s National Youth Policy. And that will be feedback at one of its highest levels.

BC Student Voice representatives come from each district, and you may have a representative at your school. Prince Rupert just held their inaugural forum, and you can find out more here. I encourage you to support the BC Student Voice initiative, and to spend some time with these students: I have no doubt that they’ll have some new ideas for you.

“When young people develop basic leadership and collaborative learning skills, they can be a formidable force for change.” 
―  Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

Take Care,