May 16 meeting
Representatives from the Edson Early Childhood Matters’ Coalition gave a presentation to the board on the 2016 community profile results collected from the Early Development Instrument, a tool used to assess children’s levels of development in their pre-school years.
• Trustees were very pleased to hear about the recent student engagement activities and events that GYPSD youth participated in over the last school year. During the 2017-2018 school year, GYPSD began an initiative that specifically focused on ‘student voice’. The initiative focused on three key pieces: MiniYouth Symposiums held at GYPSD middle schools, a division-wide Youth Symposium, and the creation of a Superintendent’s Youth
Council, with student representatives from all five high schools and the division’s outreach school, The Learning Connection.
• Each mini-symposium involved 30 students from the five middle schools who focused their efforts on developing ideas to improve their schools based on data from a student survey conducted earlier that this year. Student representatives from these minisymposiums then attended a division-wide Youth Symposium on April 24, 2018, in Hinton. Students spent the day working with students on the Superintendent’s Youth Council and School Health Champion facilitators, to determine and plan the specific actions that students will complete to improve their schools this year, and for the 2018 2019 school year. Many of the trustees were also present for the Youth Symposium and were excited to watch the high level of engagement and enthusiasm shown by the youth.
• The highlight of this year’s student engagement initiative was the creation of a Superintendent’s Youth Council and the numerous activities that the group took on to develop their individual leadership skills, as well as the opportunities they each had to share their voice on issues around education. The Superintendent’s Youth Council was comprised of 30 youth from Grades 9-12. In addition to working together on the various symposiums and meeting three times this school year to share their voice on their schools, a specific email address was also created to foster continued conversation and dialogue Monday, May 7, 2018 between the Superintendent’s Youth Council membersand Carolyn Lewis, Superintendent of Schools. Superintendent Lewis met with the Council first through a Google hang-out in the Fall, and then spent a valuable afternoon in March of 2018 with the Council in person. “I was thoroughly impressed with the level of engagement and passion our youth have when sharing their voice about education and how the division can help them meet their needs,” she noted. “Their leadership and depth of insight was incredibly valuable, and I will continue to seek opportunities to ensure that our students have the ability to be heard.”
• In addition to participating in many internal events, each of the Youth Council members were invited to put forward their names for interest in attending various external learning opportunities. These engagement sessions included attendance at a week-long conference, ‘Encounters with Canada, and staying at the Terry Fox Youth Centre in Ottawa; being a “Mr. Speaker’s MLA for a Day at the Alberta Legislature, and receiving a special invitation to attend the Fall and Spring Public School Boards’ Association meetings in both Edmonton and Red Deer, with the GYPSD Board of Trustees. Carra Aschenmeier, Supervisor of Mentorship and Assessment, was the lead coordinator with the Student Engagement Initiative this year. “The Superintendent’s Youth Council played a critical role in providing their voice and building positive working relationships within GYPSD. The Council Youth were supported in their leadership development as facilitators, and actively engaged with various education stakeholders this year. I was very fortunate to have worked with these inspirational youth and the sharing of their valuable perspectives.”