Delta Youth Advisory Council (DYAC) students hold a unique position within the school district. They have a formal role to play in communicating students’ thoughts and opinions and providing responses and information to the Delta Board of Education. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure that all students are represented equally in the decision–making processes that will affect their school lives.
As well as holding frequent meetings within their own school, DYAC students from all seven high schools in Delta get together monthly to share best practices on how they are making a positive difference in their school community.
Most recently, DYAC students met at Sands Secondary. “The meeting started off with a creative icebreaker initiative that helped get people talking and made for some lively conversations,” said Brad Bauman, Assistant Superintendent. “Attendees were asked to discuss two questions – If you had a time machine, which year would you travel to and why? And how long do you think you would last in a zombie apocalypse and why? Once the ice was broken, the students quickly got down to more serious discussions about what issues are impacting them and their peers.”
The Sands DYAC team gave a presentation on how they are using the Spiral of Inquiry and Decision Maker Moves frameworks to identify the areas of greatest need within their school and how they plan to address them, before encouraging each school’s DYAC team to engage in discussions about their own initiatives.
For the 2022/2023 school year, many of the DYAC teams have chosen to focus on a key element of Vision 2030 – the need for ‘all learners to belong.’ They are looking at ways to ensure that all new students at the school, whether they are Grade 8 students, international students or students that have moved into the school recently, feel welcome and included in their school community.
Group conversations focused on initiatives that might help bring students together such as pep rallies, games nights, scavenger hunts, buddy or shadowing programs where students help other students, and art-related initiatives where each student contributes a decorated tile towards a large mural that captures the spirit of the school.
As part of their presentation, the Sands DYAC team reminded all students that trial and error is important, as ‘that’s learning.’ They also suggested carrying out surveys at the start and end of the school year to see how effective any changes they initiated in their schools were.
“We find the feedback that comes from the DYAC meetings really valuable,” said Mr. Bauman. “The School Board Trustees attend the DYAC meetings truly prepared to listen to what the students have to say. It’s an amazing opportunity for students to tell board members directly what is important to them, and what needs to change. One of the key elements of our Vision for 2030 is student voice and choice. The DYAC students are instrumental in ensuring that student voice is heard by those governing the direction of our district,” concluded Mr. Bauman.