On January 28, students from Delta, Surrey, Langley, Pitt-River and New West school districts met for a day of lively and engaged discussion at the annual Student Voice Forum at North Delta Secondary School.
Organized by students from North Delta Secondary School and sponsored by the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association (BCPVPA), the aim of the Student Voice forum is to help students form connections with others from outside their district through group discussions and to provide a platform for students to have their voices heard on decisions that affect their learning and education.
The theme for this year’s Student Voice Forum was ‘Let’s poke the bear’ to encourage students to step out of their comfort zone when discussing topics and asking questions. Now in its third year, the event included more than 200 students.
After a welcome and introductory session, students worked in small groups to brainstorm questions relating to the four themes identified for discussion at the forum: Mental health/wellness, student success, student transitions and vaping. Each group shared their questions and then students used stickers to identify the questions they were most interested to discuss further. This exercise determined the questions for the breakout sessions that took place during the day.
“The Student Voice forum highlighted exemplary student leadership,” said Aaron Akune, Principal, North Delta Secondary. “All of the sessions were facilitated by the students. They created a respectful environment for open dialogue and ensured that all students had a chance to voice their opinion. I believe it is so important to listen to our students – it empowers learners and allows them to make positive change influencing their education.”
Educators and administrators were in attendance to listen to the students’ discussions and suggestions. At the end of the day, the students came back together as a group to discuss their takeaways, suggestions for school district decision-makers and next steps. The Student Voice organizers are developing a report summarizing their ideas and suggestions which will be presented to school district leaders, BC Principals and Vice-Principals Association and the general public in April 2020.
Feedback from students included:
“The best part about our eventful (un)conference was that the students were able to openly discuss their opinions and ideas about important topics…”
“It makes sense that student voice and input is heard when making decisions that ultimately affect their lives. Our NDSS (un)conference allowed for students across multiple districts to engage in discussions that sparked a desire for positive changes in their schools and communities.”
Click here to see a video by NDSS Film Club featuring interviews from Student Voice participants.
Thanks to the many students who participated:
- Burnsview Secondary, Delview Secondary, North Delta Secondary, Sands Secondary, Seaquam Secondary and Hellings Elementary – Delta School District
- New West Secondary – New Westminster School District
- Princess Margaret Secondary, Queen Elizabeth Secondary, Elgin Park Secondary – Surrey School District
- Aldergrove Community Secondary – Langley School District
- Garibaldi Secondary – Ridge Meadows School District
Many thanks to this year’s organizers, all from North Delta Secondary:
- Rhea Morrow, Grade 12
- Anisha Gill, Grade 12
- Harleena Bath, Grade 12
- Tanisha Misra, Grade 11
- Tavneet Jandu, Grade 10