As student trustees, it’s clear to us that the Waterloo Region District School Board places an immense value on the voices of their students. We have seen evidence of this on many occasions, but none stand out more prominently than when students were involved in the strategic planning process.
Over the last two years, students from across the system, in all programs, participated in roundtable discussions and their feedback was enthusiastically received by staff and trustees. The student voice was instrumental in the development of the three strategic priorities.
We were excited and energized when the Communications Department involved the Student Senate, where two representatives from each secondary school meet monthly, in the creation of the Board’s new purpose statement. Senators engaged in a collaborative process of idea generation, focus groups, and democratic voting and as a result proposed four statements that encompass the overall objective of the Board’s commitment to student achievement and well-being. Throughout this process, it was evident that every stakeholder in the process valued the input of students and their ideas. We, as Student Trustees, were incredibly proud to see the student voice materialize when the most popular purpose statement from Student Senate was also selected by members of the community and the wider public to define the board’s purpose.
Students, through Student Senate, participate in a variety of discussions concerning issues that are relevant to them and their peers, including budget consultations, student achievement and well-being, and policy dialogue on an ongoing basis each month. This forum allows a diverse array of student viewpoints in every matter, which we see as essential to building an environment in which all students can thrive. This diversity is achieved through student leaders in every area, from academics to athletics, music and arts and extra-curricular activities all represented on Student Senate.
It is an honour to work in collaboration with staff, students, community members and fellow trustees to improve the student voice and education in the WRDSB.
Ryan Barnes and Husayn Jamal
WRDSB Student Trustees